Insurance Bad Faith
Nationally Recognized and Respected Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys
When the unthinkable happens, insurance is one of those things you simply want to work. After years of paying premiums, you expect your insurance company to protect and defend you in the case of an emergency or accident. Unfortunately, many of these companies are more worried about their bottom line than the people they insure.
We have all heard horror stories about people fighting with their insurance company for months, sometimes even years, about medical bills, property damages, etc. Our bad faith attorneys understand the anguish and confusion our clients feel when their insurance company does not meet their obligation.
With several thousands of bad faith cases under our belts, our attorneys at Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe have built a solid reputation as one of the preeminent plaintiff firms for this type of work. We vigorously represent our clients who are victims of bad faith and have reached more than $130 million in settlements for them with both small and large insurance companies.
Understanding Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Our clients are often shocked to learn bad faith insurance lawsuits occur every day. Why are these types of cases prevalent? Insurance companies use statistics to determine how much to pay out for different circumstances such as loved ones dying, a home being destroyed or someone getting injured in the work place.
When one of their customers files a claim, they look at that individual’s coverage and determine statically how to pay you as little as possible while still fulfilling their contractual obligation. This is true no matter what level of coverage you have.
Common examples of bad faith include:
• Denying the insured or their loved ones the terms of their policies.
• Refusing to investigate in a timely manner.
• Settling for less money than deserved.
• Refusing to pay the claim without a reasonable basis.
• Delaying the payment of the claim.
For all these reasons, it is imperative to hire a lawyer who specializes in bad faith cases. Insurance companies know our reputation, meaning you and your case will get the respect and attention you deserve.
In Your Corner
Tim Dollar and Tom Hershewe have built a nationwide reputation as the best, thanks to our vigorous representation of victims of negligence. With more than 50 years of combined experience, we fully understand how insurance companies operate as well as how each state differs on the awarding of punitive damages. We use this knowledge to pursue the maximum compensation for our clients and hold insurance companies fully accountable for their injustice.
At Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe we take a leading role with legislative groups to defend victims’ rights. To protect you and others down the road, we also hold insurance companies accountable and successfully require those responsible to end their bad faith practices.
Settlements and Verdicts
Lawyers against Insurance Bad Faith
Tim DollarFounding Partner
Jeff BurnsFounding Partner
Tim BeckerFounding Partner
Frequently Asked Questions
What does bad faith mean?
The legal definition of bad faith is, “the intentional dishonest act by not fulfilling legal or contractual obligations, misleading another, entering into an agreement without the intention or means to fulfill it, or violating basic standards of honesty in dealing with others.” Put more simply, when one enters into an agreement with an insurance company, there is an implied belief the company will act in good faith. When they don’t, this when bad faith claims get filed.
How do I prove I have a bad faith insurance claim?
As with any legal case, the plaintiff’s attorney must provide evidence and prove the insurer’s conduct was unreasonable, unfounded or frivolous. It is vital to have an experienced bad faith attorney, such as Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe, on your team. We understand the ins and outs of not only the law, but also know what the insurance companies will and won’t try. More than likely the insurance company will try to save money anyway they can, even if this means reneging on what was agreed to with you and your client.
What are the elements of bad faith?
Findlaw.com wrote an in-depth article about the elements of bad faith. From the article, “the presence of any one of the following factors is not conclusive evidence of bad faith, but can help establish a case:
- Misrepresenting relevant facts or insurance policy provisions;
- Failing to acknowledge a claim and to act promptly after receiving a claim;
- Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the investigation and processing of claims;
- Failing to either approve or deny claims within a reasonable time after the insured has submitted proof of loss; or
- Failing to provide a reasonable explanation or reasons for denying the claim.
What is an example of a bad faith settlement?
The most common examples we see and handle at Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe involve denying the insured the terms of their policies, settling for less money than deserved, or delaying the payment of a claim. Take our case against Allstate Insurance Company, which at the time was the largest settlement paid on a single claim by a company. Our client, who was rendered paraplegic from a tractor trailer crash, had liability insurance and a policy limit of $100,000 via Allstate. We alleged that Allstate acted in bad faith by failing to protects its insured when it failed to settle within policy limits, potentially exposing Allstate to liability for the entire judgement. We reached a settlement with Allstate for $30.5 million.
Do insurance companies try to get out of paying?
The short answer, yes. Insurance companies want to limit their financial exposure. Their skilled teams will look for any and all means to deny a claim, or pay out less than your client deserves.
How do you report or file a bad faith insurance claim?
The definition of bad faith changes from state to state. Some states define bad faith as actions that are unreasonable or without proper cause. Other states view bad faith as when a claim seems fairly debatable. This is why it is critical to hire an attorney who understands how to bring about this type of suit. If you feel you or your client has experienced a bad faith insurance case, please contact our team. We have reached more than $130 million in settlements for our clients.