Why Choose Dollar, Burns, Becker, and Hershewe as Your Kansas City 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 Kansas City bad faith insurance attorneys understand the anguish and confusion our clients feel when their insurance company does not meet their obligations.
With several thousands of bad-faith cases under our belts, our Kansas City bad faith insurance lawyers 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. Contact our personal injury attorneys in Kansas City today for a free case consultation and learn how we can support your journey toward healing and restitution.
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 catastrophic car accident in Kansas City, 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 Insurance 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 bad faith insurance lawyer in Kansas City who specializes in bad faith cases. Insurance companies know our reputation, meaning you and your case will get the respect and attention you deserve.
What Are Signs of Insurance Bad Faith in Kansas City?
Insurance companies are legally obligated to act in good faith and fair dealing. However, when they fail to uphold these principles, it can leave policyholders in a challenging position. Identifying bad faith practices early can help you take the necessary steps to protect your rights; if you notice any of the following signs, contact an attorney immediately.
Sign #1: Lack of Communication
Communication is a key aspect of an insurer’s duties. When they fail to provide prompt and clear responses to your questions or updates about your claim status, this can be a sign of bad faith. If your insurer is not responding to your inquiries, calls, or emails in a timely manner, contact an bad faith insurance attorney in Kansas City as soon as possible about your legal options.
Sign #2: Unreasonable Delays
Delays in processing claims are another common sign of bad faith. While some delays are understandable, especially for complex claims, consistently slow responses without valid reasons can be a tactic to avoid payment. If your insurer is dragging its feet without providing a reasonable explanation, it may be acting negligently.
Sign #3: Unjustified Denial of Valid Claims
Insurers must have a legitimate reason, aligned with your policy’s terms, to deny a claim. The unjustified denial of a claim that should be covered under your policy is one of the most common signs of bad faith. If your insurer denies your claim without a valid explanation or based on incorrect information, it’s essential to question this decision and speak to an attorney.
Sign #4: Unreasonably Low Settlement Offers
Sometimes, insurers may offer a quick settlement that significantly undervalues the actual worth of your claim. This tactic is often used in the hope that policyholders will accept the offer without realizing their claim’s true value. Offering a settlement that is unreasonably low, and not in line with the damages sustained, can be a sign of bad faith.
Sign #5: Failure to Pay Your Settlement
A clear sign of bad faith is when an insurer agrees to a settlement but then fails to pay or delays the payment without a valid reason. In some cases, the insurance company may refuse to pay in an effort to get you to accept less than what you actually deserve. This not only causes financial strain but also violates the terms of the agreement reached between the insurer and the policyholder.
Insurance policies are important documents; they outline the terms of your coverage and whether you are eligible for compensation in certain situations. Proving bad faith insurance requires that you establish that the insurer unjustifiably withheld a benefit outlined in your policy and that this decision was unreasonable or lacked proper cause under the terms or applicable laws. While insurers may have legitimate reasons for claim denial, identifying wrongful denials or unreasonable actions is key in establishing bad faith.
There are two key facts that you will need to prove:
- The insurer withheld a benefit under your policy.
- The insurer’s decision was unreasonable or lacked proper cause under your policy and applicable laws.
To build a strong case, document all interactions with your insurance company. Keep records of correspondence, including emails, letters, and notes from phone conversations. These records serve as invaluable evidence, showcasing the insurer’s response patterns and the timeline of your case. This can help illustrate inconsistencies in the insurer’s communications, delays, or deviations from standard procedures, strengthening your argument of bad faith.
Record every interaction, from when you reported the loss to any discussions that you have about claim assessments and settlement negotiations. This could help you identify instances where the insurer might have failed to act in accordance with the policy terms or legal obligations. Moreover, maintaining a precise and chronological record of events can be a powerful tool in negotiations or court proceedings, as it provides proof of the insurer’s actions or lack thereof.
How to Maximize Your Compensation in a Kansas City Insurance Bad Faith Claim
To recover fair compensation in a bad faith claim, it is important to take a detailed and methodical approach. There are several types of damages that you can claim in your lawsuit, such as the following:
- Unpaid Insurance Benefits: This damage category covers what the insurer initially should have paid under the policy terms. It compensates for the direct financial loss you incurred due to the insurer’s failure to pay a valid claim as stipulated in your coverage.
- Interest on Unpaid Benefits: In addition to the unpaid benefits, you may be eligible for interest accruing from the time the claim should have been paid. This interest is meant to compensate for the time value of the money you were denied and helps to fully restore the financial position you would have been in had the claim been timely paid.
- Emotional Distress: These damages compensate for the mental anguish and emotional suffering caused by the insurer’s bad faith actions. This can include stress, anxiety, and other psychological impacts that you experienced.
- Punitive Damages: Awarded in cases of particularly egregious conduct by the insurer, these are intended to punish the insurer and deter similar conduct in the future. Missouri and Kansas have different standards when it comes to punitive damages, so it is important to speak with an attorney to determine your eligibility.
- Legal Fees and Costs: In some bad faith cases, you can recover the expenses incurred for legal representation. This includes attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses related to pursuing the bad faith claim.
To maximize your compensation, document every interaction with your insurance company. This includes keeping copies of all correspondence, emails, letters, and detailed notes from phone conversations. Additionally, maintain a personal journal detailing how the insurer’s actions have affected you emotionally and financially. This evidence will support your claim that the insurer acted in bad faith.
You should also engage a bad faith insurance lawyer in Kansas City experienced in handling bad faith insurance claims. They can guide you through the complex process, ensuring that you claim all the damages you’re entitled to. A Kansas City insurance bad faith lawyer can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, utilizing their expertise in insurance law so that you can fight for the highest possible settlement. If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your bad faith insurance attorney can take your case to court and argue aggressively for your right to fair recovery.
Contact Dollar, Burns, Becker, & Hershewe to Help With Your Kansas City Insurance Bad Faith Claim
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. Contact us today for a free consultation.