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Insurance Company Bad Faith

Most of us carry insurance--on our homes, our cars, our lives. The insurance company that sold you the policy probably tried to tell you that it was selling peace of mind. You make your payments every month and then when you finally do have a claim--surprise--it is denied. Sometimes, the denial is proper because the claim truly is not covered. Many times, however, the denial is improper, and the claim you have made really should be covered by the insurer. What then?

The answer is that you may have a claim against your insurer for an improper claims practice, or a "bad-faith" claim as it is commonly called. Bad faith by an insurance company can occur any time an insurance company refuses to honor a legitimate claim by someone it insures. Examples of bad faith include misrepresenting facts regarding coverage, not attempting to come to a prompt and fair settlement of a claim, forcing an insured to sue by making "lowball" offers, and neglecting to investigate the facts to determine if a claim is covered or not.

As you might expect, Illinois law prohibits improper claims practices by an insurer, but, like all laws, it is not always followed. In fact, insurance companies test the limit of the law every day, counting on the fact that the person with insurance is unlikely to go talk to a lawyer and find out his or her rights. The reason for this is simple: Every time that the insurer does not pay a claim it should have covered, the insurer profits.

So how do you protect yourself? First of all,an insurance adjustor is not your friend. Once you make a claim that could subject the insurer to liability, the adjustor is usually focused on nothing but keeping the size of the payout as small as possible. Be aware that most insurance adjustors are not lawyers, and even the ones who are lawyers are not always correct when they say a claim is not covered.

No matter what the adjustor tells you, talking to a lawyer is a good idea. A lawyer works for you, and he or she will be able to tell you whether the claim is covered or not and whether the settlement offered is fair. Sometimes, adjustors will tell you that the expense of consulting a lawyer and the time it takes to pursue a case through the courts mean that you should take what is being offered right now. Remember: The adjustor is not looking out for your best interests, and the "advice" not to talk to a lawyer is intended to discourage you from finding out the facts.

If you suspect your insurer is not dealing fairly with you, call us. We want to help you get what you deserve under the law.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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