When we pay for insurance—whether it be a life insurance policy, a car insurance policy, homeowner’s insurance, or healthcare insurance—we expect the insurance company to withhold their end of the contract and provide the benefits we are owed when the terms of the policy are met. This expectation is sometimes referred to as one that gets kept “in good faith” since insurance does nothing for us until we need it. To receive the benefits of insurance, we must hold faith in the company’s ability to fulfill them.
Insurance companies also have a legal duty to fulfill their end of a signed policy. When an insurer fails to provide benefits or pay out when they are supposed to, we say that this is a breach of “bad faith”. An insurance company may try and delay the payout period or wrongfully state that the client is unable to receive the benefits they are owned. They may also attempt to find loopholes in the contract to get out of paying. All three acts are wrong—and can be fought in court with the help of an Atlanta insurance bad faith lawyer.
Why do insurance companies do this? The answer is simple. It all comes down to profit margins. Many insurance companies make conscious decisions to place their company’s profitability ahead of their moral and legal obligation to assist and protect customers. When doing so, they hope that the individuals and businesses they are acting unfairly towards will know no better.
If you’re reading this, you know better. If you’ve been a victim of a bad faith insurance crime, you have legal options and can fight back against the insurance company that owes you benefits. U.S. citizens have the right to file a lawsuit against bad faith insurers. A successful lawsuit can grant you the benefits your family needs and deserves—as well as potential extra compensation that can go towards pain and suffering costs and more.
Insurance corporations should not get away with practices of bad faith. An insurance dispute lawsuit sends a message that’s impossible for these corporations to ignore. That message states that it isn’t right to attempt to cheat innocent individuals and businesses out of their hard-earned benefits. Policies and signed contracts exist for a reason. They need to be followed.
For help with a bad faith insurance dispute in the state of Georgia, you’ll need the help of an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer in Atlanta. Insurance companies usually have powerful legal departments. Without a skilled lawyer, you will have difficulty going up against an insurer in the court of law.
Understanding the Basics of Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuits in Georgia
In Georgia, the essence of a bad faith insurance lawsuit is that the insurer breached its duty to the insured by failing to properly or promptly defend the claim (which may encompass its failure to make a good faith offer of settlement within the policy limits).
The amount of compensation you will receive if your insurance dispute lawsuit goes through will depend on many factors. In one example bad faith auto insurance case in 1992 (Southern General Ins. Co. v. Holt, 262 Ga. 267, 416 S.E.2d 274 (Ga. 1992), the insurance company was forced to pay the victim an amount much greater than the amount of the victim’s original policy. This doesn’t happen in every lawsuit in Georgia, however.
Often, the victim is limited to the amount of the insurance benefits denied. If the jury finds that the insurance company acted in bad faith, the claimant may also recover a penalty of up to 50% of the benefits denied plus attorneys’ fees. When an insurance company fails to fulfill their legal duty to grant a customer the terms of their policy, they may have to pay a penalty. This extra compensation serves as a punishment for the company that was dishonest.
An Atlanta resident who’s a victim of a bad faith insurance dispute can file a lawsuit regarding these types of insurance:
- Auto insurance
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Fire insurance
- Legal and medical malpractice insurance
- Medical/dental insurance
- General commercial liability insurance
- Errors and omissions insurance
Additionally, if the insurance policy was part of a claimant’s employment benefits, a federal law known as ERISA will sometimes pre-empt state law.
Our Team of Atlanta Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers Can Help
As you may imagine, bad faith insurance disputes are quite complex. If you suspect that an insurance company is acting in bad faith and not granting you the benefits you deserve, your first course of action should be to contact an experienced Atlanta, GA bad faith insurance lawyer as quickly as possible. Your original policy and contract will need to be thoroughly examined, and time is often of the essence when it comes to these types of cases.
At Bey & Associates, our team of attorneys has the expertise your case requires. We are prepared to investigate your case promptly and tell you if filing a lawsuit is in your best interest. Contact us today for more information or for a zero-obligation case consultation. Together, we can help you get the benefits you and your family are entitled to.