When Bad Faith Happens to Good People
Even the most careful person can make a mistake. When this happens, you are responsible to pay for what you damaged. You buy insurance to protect you if your property is damaged, and to protect you from financial hardship if you cause damage to someone else’s property or health. What do you do when your insurance company won’t pay a claim, or if it refuses to provide the protection you paid for?
An insurance policy is a promise. When an insurer breaks its promise, the insurance company may have acted in bad faith. Some examples of bad faith include:
- Refusing to pay a claim that it owes- either completely or fairly;
- Refusing to handle a claim promptly;
- Failing to defend you against a claim or settle a claim against you within the policy limits, exposing you to loss of your property.
Recently, we represented a client in a case against his car insurance company for bad faith refusal to defend. Our client purchased a car insurance policy from a large national carrier. Then his car broke down and he stopped paying the premium, so he received a policy cancellation notice.
After the cancellation, our client purchased a new vehicle. The seller only sold it on the condition that he get insurance first. He promptly drove to his agent, made a payment, and got new cards for the new vehicle. A couple of weeks later, he got into a crash. The insurer said he had been cancelled and refused to cover him, even though he had proof of insurance cards and a paid receipt!
The injury victim went to court. Since our client wasn’t being defended in court, the injury victim got a $160,000 judgment against our client. Our client is a man of very little means and struggled to make the payments on the judgment—$50 per month.
After several months of scraping money together, he mentioned to Kirksville, Missouri attorney Tom Hensley what had happened. Mr. Hensley contacted our office and referred the client to us. We sued the insurance company for bad faith refusal to defend the claim against our client.
The insurance company ultimately settled for a sum large enough to not only satisfy the judgment against our client (and stop the monthly payments, which were a constant source of stress) but also put a substantial amount of money in the client’s pocket for all that he went through.
If you believe your insurance company has acted in bad faith, legal options are available to you. The thought of suing your insurance company can be intimidating- after all, they have more money to fight you and resources than most folks can imagine. Hiring an attorney may be the only thing protecting you from losing everything!
The best option is to discuss your case thoroughly with a qualified attorney who has experience taking on insurance companies. The Missouri accident lawyers at The S.E. Farris Law Firm have successfully represented clients in bad faith and vexatious refusal to pay cases, and you can get a free assessment of your rights without leaving your house.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We will discuss your case thoroughly and explore all options that may be available to you. Start your free case submission »