North Carolina Law Firm Helps You Fight The Insurance Company
Have you been served recently? Did you think your insurer was handling the claim? Insurance companies are required to act in good faith when evaluating and defending a third-party claim asserted against one of its insureds. However, insurers sometimes act primarily in support of their own interests and in lieu of the best interests of the policyholder. When the needs of the insurance company precede the needs of the insured, an insurer is deemed to have acted in bad faith. Luckily, the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood can assist with these bad faith insurance claims and get you the justice you deserve.
Third-Party Bad Faith Claims
In third-party claims handling, North Carolina law has long held that an insurer must give its insured’s interests equal consideration to its own financial interests in its determination of whether to settle a liability claim presented against the insured. If there is no liability dispute and an opportunity exists to settle a claim within the insured’s liability policy limits, a carrier is obligated do so. When an insurer chooses not to, and consequently their insured is sued, that insurer may have acted in bad faith, and could be liable for any damages incurred by the policyholder which exceed the policy limits.
Furthermore, when an insurer fails to negotiate a claim within the applicable statutes – i.e. an insurer expands or contracts the meaning of certain North Carolina provisions which govern the process of calculating and assessing damages – and the insured is sued as a result, the carrier is legally defined as acting in bad faith.
First-Party Bad Faith Claims
Bad faith can also occur in first party claims. For example, insurance companies are well known for denying individual claims in order to minimize expenses and maximize profits. However, if no valid reason exists to deny they claim, the insurance company could be acting in bad faith. Other instances of bad faith include:
- Unfounded or willful denial of benefits
- Under a valid policy, benefits are due, and insurer is legally obligated to compensate its policyholder or provide defense in a liability suit in accordance with the stipulations of the policy.
- Insufficient investigation of a claim
- Insurance providers are obligated to look for coverage, not find ways to reject it. Every claim requires comprehensive investigation instead of an inattentive glance.
- Overriding the interests of a policyholder
- By law, an insurer must satisfy a policyholder’s needs before its own.
- Hiding behind litigation
- Litigation is a last resort in all disputes, not a refuge for insurers attempting to avoid satisfying a claim.
- Unsupported allegations of fraud
- Serious charges require clear evidence.
- Rejection of a timely, equitable settlement despite clear liability
- Once liability is acknowledged by an insurer, the law prohibits unjust delay of a settlement or an unjustly priced settlement without just explanation.
- Settlement offers are malaligned with policy stipulations.
- Failure to adhere to policy stipulations when satisfying a claim or offering a settlement constitutes a breach of contract.
Insurance companies we’ve fought
- American Automobile Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual
- New York Life
Have a bad faith claim?
If you feel you may have a bad faith claim against your insurance company, contact the Law office of D. Hardison Wood today.