Auto Insurance Lawsuits
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Can I Sue My Car Insurance Company?
Nobody enjoys paying car insurance, but nearly every driver, with the exception of those in New Hampshire and Virginia, is required to have it. While it may usually seem like the insurance companies have all the power, there are several instances where a policyholder can file a lawsuit against their insurance company.
When Can a Policyholder Sue Their Insurance Company?
As large, powerful entities, there are a wide variety of laws that insurance companies must follow. These laws are designed to ensure that they are not abusing their power and position to take advantage of their customers. The two general legal principals that commonly arise are consumer protection and contract law.
Some common claims include:
- Bad Faith: Bad faith encompasses many claims against insurance companies, including misrepresentations of coverage and benefits, unnecessarily or intentionally delaying the claims process, unscrupulous efforts to settlement claims unfairly, and advising policyholders not to hire a lawyer.
- Unfair Competition: The exact definition of unfair competition will vary, but it generally means "any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice." Many unfair competition laws also encompass unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertisings.
- Antitrust: These laws are designed to regulate the way companies charge for doing business. Put simply, they allow a company to be sued if they are engaging in a business practice that hurts It is relatively rare for consumers to file an antitrust lawsuit, however, it is not unheard of.
- Breach of Contract: A breach of contract lawsuit against an insurance company typically only requires a policyholder to show the insurance company did not follow the terms of the policy. In fact, many states create presumptions that favor of the policyholder in the event of a dispute.
It is worth noting that the availability of many of these claims will depend on the laws of the state where the policyholder lives. For example, in California, many bad faith claims against auto insurance companies must be initiated by the state. However, unfair competition and breach of contract claims are generally fair game.
Will the Policyholder Have to Travel to Another State to Sue?
It is highly unlikely the policyholder will be required to travel anywhere but to their local state courthouse. State courts are those of general jurisdiction that have the ability to hear nearly any case involving one of the residents of their state brought before them. Thus, if an insurance company is doing business within a state, and a dispute arises, they will almost definitely be required to travel to that state to defend themselves.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Suing an insurance company is a serious undertaking. If you are considering filing suit against your insurance company for any of the foregoing reasons, you should contact a local consumer protection attorney immediately. A lawyer near you will be familiar with the laws of your state, can evaluate your case, and help you proceed accordingly.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 09-04-2014 04:40 PM PDT
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