Two recent cases from neighboring Texas highlight the value of good legal representation, and the tactics that insurance companies use to deny you the compensation you deserve. The line between a dispute and bad faith can very fine, and requires careful review of the claim process and knowledge of the complex laws involved in insurance disputes.
A condominium complex in Austin suffered significant exterior damage following a hailstorm. After the insurer, America First, assessed the damage, the property owner hired an independent consultant for an outside assessment that estimated a significantly higher cost of repair. Over the next year following the damage, America First conducted three more inspections, resulting in two additional supplemental payments.
Following these supplemental payments, the property owner filed suit against the insurer for breach of contract, prompt-payment penalties, and attorneys’ fees. The suit was denied, with the judgment that America First’s multiple site visits did not indicate bad faith, even though the company failed to properly assess the damage after multiple visits.
A home sustained foundation damage due to a plumbing leak. The insured discovered that the expert hired by Allstate to assess the damage earned a significant portion of his income from insurers, creating a conflict of interest that resulted in a denial of coverage. While the homeowner was compensated for breach of contract, damages and attorneys’ fees, punitive damages were denied on appeal by Allstate.
In both of these cases, the evidence and details of the claim process were extremely important to the final decision. Usually, the difference between a dispute and a bad faith claim are a matter of perspective. Insurance companies have the resources to employ teams of attorneys who practice nothing but claims disputes with the sole goal of protecting the companies’ assets.
If you are involved in an insurance dispute, you need competent, skillful and experienced representation to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. The resourceful and dedicated attorneys at Stipe Law can evaluate your case, and make sure that you don’t wind up as a victim of a litigious insurance company. Contact us today for a free consultation. From our office in McAlester, we help victims of bad faith insurance practices throughout the state of Oklahoma.