It is no secret that insurance companies are in business to make money, and from their perspective, it may make sense for them to delay or avoid paying claims to keep costs down. However, when those delays and denials are patently unfair, they may cross the line into what is known as “bad faith.”
State law prohibits insurers from engaging in unfair practices in violation of their good-faith obligations to policyholders. If your insurance company has treated your claim in bad faith, you may be entitled to compensation in addition to the amounts owed under your policy.
To learn what may be possible in your case, it is a good idea to talk to a Shreveport bad-faith insurance lawyer. A knowledgeable insurance attorney could evaluate your case and advise you of your options for redressing the wrongs done to you.
When a policyholder can demonstrate that an insurance company failed to fulfill duties owed under their policy, they may be able to file a bad-faith insurance claim. If the court finds that the insurer acted in bad faith, the policyholder may be entitled to receive compensation to cover a variety of related consequences, possibly including:
At the very least, filing a bad-faith claim may prompt an insurance company to pay any benefits they were withholding. It may alternatively be possible with the assistance of a Shreveport bad-faith insurance attorney to negotiate a settlement to provide additional compensation before a case goes to trial.
When long-term disability insurance is at issue, it makes a difference whether the policy was purchased personally or provided through an employer. If the policy is a group policy offered through the employer, its provisions are governed by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, often known as ERISA.
If a long-term disability insurance policy in Shreveport was purchased directly by the consumer, then state laws will apply, including bad-faith statutes and laws involving contract interpretation. For instance, La. Stat. Ann. §22:1973B(5) specifies that an insurer breaches a duty of good faith owed to policy holders by “[f]ailing to pay the amount of any claim due any person insured by the contract within sixty days after receipt of satisfactory proof of loss from the claimant when such failure is arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause.”
Certain damage awards, such as punitive damages, may be available through a successful claim brought under state law but not a claim brought under ERISA or other federal laws. In addition, procedures for handling a lawsuit under ERISA are different as well. A claimant must first appeal a denial through administrative channels before filing a lawsuit, and the trial would be held in federal rather than state court.
Insurance is complicated, and the laws regulating bad faith and other insurance issues are equally complex. So, if you have suffered damages due to the bad faith of your disability insurance provider, it is wise to seek advice from an attorney with experience in this unique area of law.
A dedicated Shreveport bad-faith insurance lawyer could analyze the circumstances of your case to determine your options for recovery. In many instances, because of policy provisions, time is of the essence when it comes to taking legal action, so schedule a consultation as soon as possible to ensure your case can proceed.
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