Unlike most firms, Lacy Katzen represents insurance policy holders, not the insurance companies, in insurance disputes. We work to protect the interests of wronged consumers who, after keeping their end of the bargain by paying high insurance premiums, find their insurance company is unwilling to pay their legitimate claims.
Policy holders who have suffered an already devastating loss to their home or business are sometimes faced with the additional insult of an insurance company delaying payment or denying their claim entirely. Family members mourning the loss of a loved one can be shocked when a life insurer refuses to pay their claim. The sick or disabled may also face rejection of their legitimate claims. Claims against property insurers, life and disability insurers who have wrongfully denied your claim are usually based in breach of contract. Policy holders can also make claim that the insurance company has acted in “bad faith” in violation of its duty to handle claims fairly.
Liability insurers have a contractual duty to defend their policy holders if a claim is made against them as a result of an injury or damage caused by the insured person or entity. This duty includes conducting a proper investigation, making reasonable efforts to settle legitimate claims, hiring an attorney to defend the insured person if a lawsuit is commenced and paying any ultimate judgment up to the limits of the insurance policy. While insurers handle these claims fairly most of the time, problems can arise when the insurance company puts its own interests ahead of the policy holder. In an effort to save money, insurers may choose to take a case to trial rather than make a fair settlement offer. Since the policy holder is responsible for paying any judgment that is over the limits of the insurance policy, it may be unreasonable for the insurer to take this risk. Exposing the policy holder to this risk may give rise to a breach-of-contract claim or a claim of “bad faith” practices.
If your insurance company has denied your claim, issued a “reservation of rights” (which means it is reserving the right to deny your claim) or requested to take your testimony at an “examination under oath,” please contact us today. It is important that you are represented right away. Jacqueline M. Thomas, Esq. has a unique perspective into these cases since, prior to joining our firm in 1994, she handled arson defense, insurance defense and insurance coverage disputes for numerous insurance companies. If you have been involved in an accident that resulted in injury or property damage, and you are concerned that your insurance company is not acting in your best interest or that you do not have enough insurance coverage available to cover the harm, our insurance litigation lawyers can assist you. We can work with you to monitor the actions of your insurance carrier to assure that your interests are being protected.
Our attorneys are experienced in many insurance-related matters, including:
- Assisting policy holders with claims against insurance carriers who have wrongfully denied legitimate claims for fire, water and storm damage to homes and business property
- Assisting policy holders in negotiating and establishing the fair value of personal property losses
- Assisting business owners pursuing business-interruption claims
- Pursuing claims for wrongful denial of life insurance benefits
- Assisting farmers who have been denied benefits for crop loses
- Pursuing liability insurance carriers that breach their duty to defend their policy holders against claims
- Pursuing breach-of-contract actions against insurers
- Working with clients to monitor the actions of their insurance carrier when a claim has been brought against them to ensure their interests are protected
- Undertaking bad-faith actions against insurance companies that have negligently failed to defend, negotiate or settle claims resulting in judgments against their policy holders
- Defending policy holders in declaratory judgment actions brought by the insurance company, asking the court to determine the claim can be denied