When you get injured or your property gets damaged, you expect your insurance company to help you get back on your feet. But this is not always the case. Insurance companies will fight hard to pay out the smallest amount possible – or nothing at all – in claims. An Ohio insurance lawyer can help negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
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This is why it’s important to have an Ohio insurance dispute lawyer by your side to help you in the insurance claims process. Without legal counsel, you may not be able to get the compensation you deserve.
An insurance company may even attempt to deny your claim in bad faith, which means acting against your interests without a reasonable justification. For example, an insurance company may not deny your claim if they didn’t perform a thorough investigation of the incident. If you believe an insurance company is denying you compensation in bad faith, you need to speak to an Ohio personal injury lawyer immediately.
What Can I Do if My Insurance Company Won’t Pay an Insurance Claim?
Regardless of the type of insurance policy you are attempting to recover on, you can expect the insurance company to attempt to minimize its payment to you. It is up to you and your lawyer to gather evidence surrounding the incident and to present it in a way that makes it clear that you and the incident are covered under the policy. Further, you’ll need to show proof that you suffered any of the following damages:
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Mental anguish
- Any other loss category covered under your policy
Your claim must tally the various damages you have dealt with, requesting a sum of money that adequately compensates you. Proving damages is a crucial aspect of your insurance claim. Be sure to keep all documentation pertaining to your medical treatment or the repair and replacement of damaged or destroyed property. You can even keep a log of how you feel each day and how your injuries affect your ability to perform necessary tasks.
In response to your claim, the insurance company may take several different actions. It may offer a settlement, deny that it is responsible for your damages, or in some cases, do nothing at all. In the first case, you may elect to accept a settlement if it is high enough to compensate you for your injuries – but you should talk to a lawyer before accepting to see if there may be a way of maximizing your settlement amount.
The insurance company may deny your claim by arguing that you or the incident are not covered under the policy, or that you have misrepresented your injuries or how they occurred. A skilled lawyer may be able to persuade the insurance claims adjuster to come around, usually by submitting additional evidence. But if the insurance company refuses to negotiate, it may be necessary to sue.
If an insurance company does not reply to your claim, however, it may be acting in bad faith by delaying. This is a serious problem, and you should contact an Ohio insurance dispute lawyer to assist you.
When Does an Insurance Company Act in Bad Faith?
An insurance company may legally refuse to compensate you as long as it has a reasonable justification. But when the insurance company takes an adverse action against you with reasonable justification, it is acting in bad faith and may be subject to civil liability.
In Ohio, you can only sue an insurance company for acting in bad faith if you were badly treated while attempting to recover on a first party insurance claim. A first party claim is when you try to recover on an insurance policy that you hold, as opposed to a third party claim, when you recover on another person’s policy.
It doesn’t matter whether you are the holder of a home, renters, fire, or auto insurance policy: any time an insurance company denies compensation without reasonable justification, you may sue them for bad faith. There are many ways in which an insurance company may act in bad faith against a policyholder, including:
- Denying coverage without adequately investigating the claim
- Refusing to negotiate settlement, or offering a very low settlement when the claim clearly demonstrates damages and liability
- Not paying settlements in a reasonable timeframe
- Twisting the wording of the insurance policy to avoid liability
- Not providing the policyholder with the reasons for the denial of the claim
- Threatening the claimant
- Not replying to the claim or transferring the case to a series of different claims adjusters
How Can I Win Bad Faith Insurance Litigation?
To win your case, you and your personal injury attorney will need to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the insurer acted against you without reasonable justification. Basically, this means proving that it is more likely than not that the insurance company acted in bad faith.
To meet this standard, you and your injury lawyer will need to provide records of all of your communications with the insurance company, and even request the insurance company to produce internal documents relating to how it processed your claim. Your lawyer must sift through this evidence and make an argument that the insurance company lacked a reasonable justification to deny your claim. Your lawyer will also need to show that your claim adhered to the requirements of the policy agreement and that you did not make any misrepresentations about the accident or your injuries.
Another important aspect of your bad faith claim will be the proof of your damages. In bad faith claims, you may be entitled to both compensatory damages, which will put you in the place you would have been had you not been wronged, and exemplary damages, which punish the insurer. Thus, you will need to document how the denial of your claim negatively affected your life, and present any evidence that shows that the insurance company deliberately acted against your interests.
3 Secrets Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know
- You Don’t Have to Accept Their Settlement Offer – You may think when an insurance company sends you a check to pay your accident claim, that’s the end of the process. But it doesn’t have to be. That check is an offer — and you aren’t required to accept. In fact, it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney before you cash the check. You might learn that the value of your injury claim is worth more than you thought, and more than the insurance company led you to believe.
- You Can Obtain Compensation Even if You Were Partly at Fault – In Ohio, you can still recover compensation for your injuries and losses caused by an accident even if your own negligence contributed to some of the fault. An insurance company may want you to believe that if you have any degree of fault, your claim should be denied. That’s not the law in Ohio. There’s an Ohio statute that says your contributory fault does not prevent you from receiving compensation. In a personal injury lawsuit, a jury will evaluate your percentage of fault when deciding whether you should receive compensation. As long as your contributory fault is not greater than the combined fault of everyone else involved, you can recover compensation. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
- You Can Hire a Lawyer Immediately – You don’t have to wait until you’re thinking about a lawsuit to consult a lawyer about your car accident claim. A personal injury lawyer can be an invaluable ally from the outset. A lawyer can perform an independent investigation of your accident, gather the evidence to support your claim, and aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to obtain the best possible settlement for your case. If settlement isn’t the best option, a lawyer can then take your case to court.
Helping You Stand Up to Insurance Companies
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick we have built our reputation on our ability to get just compensation for our clients through careful investigation and zealous advocacy. Our team of personal injury attorneys and insurance bad faith lawyers stand ready to take your case and to fight for your rights. A KNR lawsuit is not just a legal action – it’s the combined experience and determination of our entire legal team rallied around your interests.
If you believe you have been defrauded of your rightful compensation, if you are the victim of an insurance kickback scheme, or if your insurance company has accused you of lying on your claim, you need to talk to an Ohio insurance lawyer immediately. Call Kisling, Nestico & Redick today at 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free and confidential consultation of our case.