Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
Did your insurance company refuse to pay your valid claim? Have they delayed processing, offered you less than your policy dictates, or failed to defend you in a third-party case? If your insurer is employing shady tactics to avoid meeting their legal obligations, a bad faith insurance lawyer at Ankin Law will make sure they pay. Since 1940, our law firm has been helping people like you take on big name insurance companies and win. Our lawyers will investigate the insurance company and their unscrupulous ways, make sure they are held accountable, and help you recover compensation for your losses.
Are you ready to level the playing field against your insurer? Contact a Chicago bad faith insurance lawyer at Ankin Law. Call 312-600-0000 for a free consultation.
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Why Hire a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer at Ankin Law?
If your insurance company is failing to act with good faith and fair dealing in Illinois, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against them. Unfortunately, large insurance companies frequently employ teams of experienced attorneys to dispute claims of bad faith, and they often take extreme measures to protect the insurer’s bottom line. Without a skilled lawyer to counter their unethical ways, your case could easily fall through the cracks.
When you hire a bad faith insurance attorney with Ankin Law, our team will sit down with you and listen to your story. We will review the terms of your insurance policy and the laws that govern insurers who do business in our state to identify violations that may not be so obvious.
What Are Common Types of Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance bad faith can occur in a variety of situations. Our bad faith insurance lawyers often see cases arise when an insurer fails in their:
Duty to Investigate Claims
Your insurance company is required to conduct an appropriate investigation of your claim before issuing a determination. If your insurer denied your claim without properly investigating it, or delayed the investigation without a valid reason, the insurance company may be acting in bad faith.
Duty to Uphold the Terms of the Policy
Insurance companies must comply with the terms of your insurance policy. This includes honoring their legal and financial obligations as outlined. If your insurer denied a claim for damages that were covered in your policy, or offered an unreasonably low settlement amount, you may have a valid case against the insurance company.
Duty to Defend Policyholders
The duty to defend you means that your insurer may be required to provide you with legal representation if you are sued by a third party for covered injuries or losses. This duty applies even in fraudulent injury cases, when the insurer would have no duty to pay damages.
Duty to Indemnify
Your insurance company is obligated to pay for judgements that are awarded to a third party, and settlements that the plaintiff has accepted as dictated by the coverage terms of your policy and the policy limits.
Personal Injury Lawyers at Ankin Law:
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What Damages Are Available in Bad Faith Insurance Cases?
If the courts determine that your insurance company acted in bad faith, your policy limits will not limit your recovery. You may be entitled to compensation for various types of damages, and your recovery could reach well into the six figure range.
To receive damages in a bad faith insurance lawsuit in Chicago, however, you must be able to prove that:
- The insurance company owed you a duty of care to act in good faith and fair dealing
- Your insurer acted in bad faith by disputing the amount of a loss for a claim that was covered, delaying payment on a claim for no valid reason, denied coverage for a valid claim, or failed to defend you against a third party lawsuit
- Your insurer’s action or inaction was unreasonable
- You suffered injuries or financial losses because of the insurance company’s bad faith acts
The types of damages that may be awarded in your bad faith insurance case include:
Your economic damages are easy to measure in a bad faith insurance lawsuit. These are financial losses that you have suffered, and those which you may suffer in the future. They may include things like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Interest charges
- Attorney fees
When you file a bad faith insurance claim, your lawyer will help you prove your financial losses to the court. You can help your bad faith insurance lawyer prepare for trial by saving your medical bills, receipts, repair estimates, and wage statements.
Punitive Damages Common in Bad Faith Insurance Cases
If the insurance company’s misconduct is determined to have been particularly outrageous, the court may award you punitive damages. In Illinois bad faith insurance cases, punitive damages are common. Bad faith insurance attorneys frequently see clients recover significantly more than what was expected when punitive damages are applied.
Unlike compensatory damages that are intended to make the victim whole, punitive damages are designed to punish the insurance company. They also help prevent similar misdeeds in the future. Misconduct that warrants punitive damages in Illinois cases has generally been determined to have been malicious or reckless, without regard to the wellbeing of policyholders.
Find out how much your claim may be worth. Call a bad faith insurance lawyer at Ankin Law for a FREE case evaluation.
What to Do About Bad Faith Insurance in Chicago
If you believe your insurance company acted unfairly, it’s important to speak with a bad faith insurance lawyer who has experience with these types of cases. Your attorney will determine whether a valid bad faith claims exists, and guide you in resolving your case.
To resolve your insurance dispute in Chicago, your lawyer may help you:
Reach out to the Insurance Company Directly
Sometimes, bad faith insurance disputes can be resolved by reaching out to the insurer directly. Your attorney will construct a letter to the insurance company mentioning the bad faith insurance allegations. The letter will likely include specific details about why you think the insurer is acting in bad faith. Your attorney may also send evidence that demonstrates the acts of bad faith. Mentioning insurance bad faith may compel the insurer to act in good faith. All too often, however, further action is necessary.
Send a Final Demand Letter
Before you file a bad faith insurance lawsuit, your attorney will send a final demand letter to your insurer. The demand for compensation will include proof of your losses and the amount you are requesting from the insurance company. Although there is no law in Illinois that governs how long insurers have to respond, you will need to get a return receipt to prove the demand letter was sent. If the insurer fails to respond, or offers a less-than-satisfactory response, your attorney will help you file a lawsuit to recover contractual and extracontractual damages.
File a First-Party Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit
First-party bad faith insurance lawsuit are common in Illinois. In these cases, the person making the claim for compensation is the policyholder. This person purchased the insurance policy and is responsible for the premium. Most first-party lawsuits involve policyholders whose claims were denied. They may also involve policyholders who have been sued by third parties after the insurer acted in bad faith towards a victim.
File a Third-Party Lawsuit for Bad Faith Insurance
Third-party bad faith insurance lawsuits are subject to different rules in Illinois. In these cases, the third party does not have a contractual relationship with the insurance company. Typically, the victim has filed an injury claim under one of the insurance company’s policies. If the insurance company failed to settle a claim under the insured’s policy without a reasonable basis for doing so, the policyholder may have a first-party claim against the insurer. He or she can transfer rights to the victim (third party), through a process referred to as “assignment”. Whether by voluntary agreement or through a court order, assignment gives the victim the right to sue the insurance company.
File a Complaint with the Illinois Department of Insurance
You can also file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Insurance if you think your insurer is acting unfairly. The IDOI will investigate your claim and may attempt to seek a resolution through mediation. While it is possible to file a lawsuit and a complaint with the department simultaneously, doing both may limit the state’s ability to resolve your dispute.
Hire a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer in Chicago
If you haven’t already, you should hire a bad faith insurance lawyer in Chicago. Although you can attempt to take on the insurance company without legal representation, your chances of winning a lawsuit are slim without the help of an attorney.
If your insurer’s misconduct has caused you harm, the bad faith insurance lawyers at Ankin Law will make sure they are held accountable.
Shady Tactics Our Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers See
At Ankin Law, our bad faith insurance lawyers see various types of improper practices by insurers in the state. Examples of shady tactics include:
To avoid paying valid claims, insurers often misconstrue policy terms and provisions. They misrepresent what is covered, twist policy language, and intentionally mislead policyholders. If your insurance company misrepresented your policy information and denied your valid claim, you may have grounds for a bad faith insurance lawsuit.
Your insurance company is obligated to pay for your covered losses up to the limits of your policy. For example, if you incur covered losses of $10,000 and file a claim on a policy with a $25,000 coverage limit, your insurer is acting in bad faith if they offer you only $8,000.
Insurance companies are required to investigate claims before making a coverage determination. Unfortunately, many insurers ignore this rule. They frequently deny coverage for certain types of claims without investigating, disregarding the best interests of the policyholder.
It is common for insurers to delay processing claims in Illinois. They often request unnecessary information from the claimant, drag out negotiations, or fail to reply to inquiries about claims. If your insurance company delayed your claim, and you suffered losses as a result, your attorney can help you sue for compensation.
If the insurance company denies a claim, the company has to provide a valid reason for their decision. If your insurer refuses to give you a written explanation of why your claim was denied, you can file a bad faith insurance lawsuit against the company.
Failure to Defend/Indemnify
The insurance company’s failure to defend you against third-party liability claims is another example of bad faith practices. Additionally, if the insurance company fails to pay for an agreed upon settlement or a judgement against you in a third-party case, you can sue the insurer to recover compensation.
Refusal to Pay for Medical Treatment or Medications
The refusal to authorize or pay for necessary medical treatment or medications can result in worsening health conditions and even death. Your lawyer can help ensure your health insurance company is held accountable for the injuries and losses that result from their unscrupulous ways.
Call Ankin Law for a FREE consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Faith Insurance
1. How much does it cost to hire a bad faith insurance attorney in Chicago?
Most bad faith insurance lawyers in Chicago handle cases on a contingency basis. If you don’t win, they don’t get paid. If your case is successful, the money for your attorney’s fees will be taken from your settlement or included in your jury award.
2. Do I have to go to court for a bad faith insurance case in Illinois?
Most bad faith insurance cases in Illinois are settled out of court. If your case involves extensive damages, the insurance company will likely fight harder to deny compensation, however. If your lawyer isn’t able to secure a fair settlement through negotiation, your case may go to trial.
3. Is a bad faith lawsuit the only recourse I have to resolve my dispute?
Various courses of action may be available to help you resolve your dispute if your insurer denied your claim. If your insurer denied coverage for a necessary medical treatment, for example, and your loved one died, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Learn More About Bad Faith Insurance in Chicago
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