What is Insurance Law?
Insurance law is the accumulation of statutes, regulatory guidelines, and case law, defining the rights and obligations of insurance companies and their insured. We represent individuals who have been mistreated or damaged by the behavior of an insurance company. We also represent individuals who need to recover money from another person's insurance company, or even their own insurance company.
Types of Insurance Cases
Almost every type of personal injury case, ranging from automobile accidents to medical malpractice, carries the possibility that an insurance policy will provide compensation to the victim. In fact, by collecting premiums, these insurance companies owe a duty to their customers (whether it be an individual or an international conglomerate) to provide payments to injured parties when the customers make mistakes. One of the first things we do when investing a new claim is investigate whether any insurance policies will provide coverage in the event that we win your case. During the early stages of your case we should be able to give you an idea of whether an insurance policy will provide compensation for your injuries. Complicated issues can arise relating the the amount of coverage, amount of stacked coverage, and whether UIM and UM provisions are triggered.
Problems with Insurance Companies
If you've ever filed an insurance claim, you may have experienced a situation where the insurance company took every measure available to either deny coverage or reduce the amount of their payments. This is what we expect. The insurance companies owe a duty to their investors to maximize profit; and the easiest way to maximize profit is to deny coverage and reduce the amount of their liability. When you hire your own attorney, insurance companies (including their adjusters and attorneys) almost always recognize that you are serious about pursuing a fair settlement. Your attorney will know which facts to emphasize when dealing with these companies, when to settle your case, and when to simply proceed to litigation.
If you are the insurance customer (the "insured"), your insurance company (the "insurer") owes a duty to settle your case and pay damages up to a certain amount (the "policy limits" or "limits of coverage"). Your insurance company may also owe you a duty to provide free legal representation. If the insurance company fails to fulfill any of its obligations, you should call our office to discuss your rights. Technically, we refer to these cases as "bad faith refusal to settle" or "bad faith refusal to pay damages". And these cases can often result in large settlements for the insured person.
Types of cases can involve bad faith (e.g., the insured person's own insurance company is refusing to fulfill its obligation to the insured person), personal injury (in which the negligent party carried liability insurance), and consumer claims relating to insurance companies misrepresenting the nature or cost of coverage.
Filing a Class Action Against an Insurance Company
In many instances, insurance companies systematically take advantage of their customers. When the wrongful behavior meets certain requirements, we seek to hold the insurance company accountable to all customers, or a group of customers.
Recent Examples of Class Actions Against Insurance Companies
- A class action in Cook County Court (Chicago) alleges that Hartford Insurance refuses to cover claims for damages from sewer backups, despite provisions taken out exclusively for that purpose.
- A class action in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that Blue Cross of California (Anthem Blue Cross) overcharges it customers under HIPAA.
- A class action in Wayne County Circuit Court alleges that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan unfairly denies coverage for care of autistic patients.
- A class action filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that First American Home Buyers Protection Co. refuses to back up its insurance contracts.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Insurance Case
As referenced above, insurance companies, adjusters, and their attorneys, make every effort to deny coverage and reduce the amount of their payments. In addition, while issues can appear simple on the surface, issues relating to stacking, underinsurance (UIM), and conflict of laws, just to name a few, can prove immensely challenging even for a seasoned attorney. Your attorney will not only seek to uncover all possible sources of compensation, but also act as your zealous representative at both the settlement and litigation (if necessary) stages.
If you have a question relating to a possible or pending insurance case, please send a direct message or call our office at (314) 725-4400. For more information on some of our recent cases, please visit our news page. We also have an FAQ relating to personal injury, class action, and other issues.