What is an Insurance Lawyer?
An insurance lawyer is a lawyer that specializes in insurance related issues. Most individuals carry insurance of some kind, whether it is life insurance, homeowners insurance, or car insurance. There are a multitude of issues that may arise in your relationship with your insurance company.
You may encounter instances where your insurance company does not pay for things you believe they should, such as damage to your home or car accident issues. It is actually common to have to sue your insurance company and your insurance lawyer can assist you in making your insurance company perform as they are supposed to.
Many individuals are not aware of the nature of the legal relationship between the individual who purchases insurance, or the insured, and the insurance company. An insurance policy is essentially a contract in which one party agrees to pay a premium in exchange for the insurer to provide coverage for the insured individual.
If an event occurs that causes the insured to suffer a loss, the insurance company is supposed to protect the insured from any losses, damages, or liability. A legal contractual relationship exists between the insured individual who pays a premium for the coverage and the entity that agreed to protect the insured if a covered event occurs.
Anyone who has dealt with insurance issues knows that things do not always go as they should. In some cases, a lawsuit arises when the insurance company does not protect, or indemnify, the insured from an act that is covered under the policy.
Why is it Important to Have an Insurance Attorney?
It is essential to have an insurance attorney for any issues that arise related to your insurance policies. Insurance companies are often lucrative businesses that have attorneys on staff to defend them from any lawsuits that may arise. If the company does not have an attorney on staff, they likely have the funds to hire one. It would be extremely difficult for you to fight the insurance company alone.
One of the most common issues that arise is an improper denial of a claim. If your insurance company improperly denies your claim or fails to pay in a timely manner, you may be considering filing a lawsuit.
Without an experienced attorney on your side, you can expect the lawsuit process against the insurance company to be lengthy and difficult. The insurance company will want to delay paying the claim, especially if they have any grounds for denial of the claim.
Insurance companies are required by law to pay a properly filed insurance claim in a timely manner. In addition, federal laws provide that insurance companies owe their insureds an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
When an insurance company breaches this duty, in ways such as wrongfully denying a properly filed and covered claim, they may be liable for damages. In some cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Your insurance lawyer will be able to explain damages and the likelihood you can recover them.
What are Some Other Issues Related to Insurance Claims?
An insurance company cannot cancel your policy after one missed payment. Laws in each state mandate that insurance companies must inform a policyholder that a payment has been missed. The company must then provide a grace period, the length of which may vary depending on the type of insurance, during which the insured may make a payment and resume coverage.
In the case of life insurance, since it is typically for larger amounts of money than other types of insurance, the grace period may be longer, around 30 days. Although not required by law, some insurance companies may allow the insured to reinstate a policy that was terminated even after the grace period. However, it is typically quite costly.
An insurance company is not permitted to allow an insured to miss a payment or ignore a missed payment, without notifying them about the missed payment and then utilize that missed payment as a basis for refusing to pay out the policy at a later date. Those actions would be considered acting in bad faith, and it could be the basis of a civil lawsuit.
Do You Need an Insurance Lawyer for Your Case?
Yes, it is essential to have an insurance lawyer on your side during your insurance case. Your attorney will review your case, determine if damages may be available to you, and represent you during any court proceedings, if necessary.
Many lawsuits are filed on the basis of a breach of contract. If your breach of contract claim is successful, you may be entitled to actual damages, which include the amount you were supposed to receive under the contract. In addition, some jurisdictions allow for the recovery of out of pocket expenses, such as attorneys fees, and in some cases punitive damages.
An insurance attorney will help ensure that your claim is taken seriously by your insurance company and fight to receive the compensation that you deserve. Additionally, insurance laws and remedies vary by state. Your insurance lawyer will ensure your claim complies with local laws. Your insurance lawyer can also assist you in negotiating with your insurance company to obtain a settlement for your claim.