Have you noticed that when you get on the phone with your insurance company after a car accident, they treat you better than the insurance company of the guy that caused the crash? Well, if you haven't noticed that, you should. Your insurance company is supposed to treat you better when you are a policyholder.
HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE:
When you purchase a policy with an insurance company, you are the customer. Alternatively, when you call the at-fault driver’s insurance company, their allegiance is with the other guy. If you file a property damage claim with your insurance company, or seek information about your rights to uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company is supposed to treat you with "equal consideration".
Equal consideration is a legal term. Simply stated, your insurance company is required to treat your financial interests with equal regard to their own interests—not better, but certainly not worse. In contrast, when dealing with the insurance for the at-fault driver, they have to protect the interests of the at-fault driver, but they have NO obligation when it comes to you. If you make a property damage or personal injury claim and accept less money than you should, it is no skin off their noses.
Consequently, if you are a policyholder, your insurance provider should treat you with equal consideration, which treatment should be noticeably better than the treatment you receive from the insurance company representing the at-fault driver.
INSTEAD, HOW IT OFTEN IS:
Insurance adjusters, like many other professions, have varying levels of training. The good adjusters know how to act when dealing with their own policyholders. They know that their conduct with policyholders needs to be noticeably better when compared with how they deal with non-policyholders. Unfortunately, a great number of adjusters treat everyone—whether it’s a policyholder or someone making a claim against a policyholder, the exact same way...poorly.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT INSURANCE MISTREATMENT?
When insurance companies do not treat their policyholders with equal consideration, usually by making low ball settlement offers, they can be sued for unreasonable delay or denial of benefits. These bad faith insurance lawsuits can be quite valuable because it entitles a policyholder to as much as three times the value of their coverage entitlement. These claims certainly come to fruition and we have been successful in the past in obtaining verdicts where our clients were awarded three times the value of their initial claim.
If you are a policyholder, your insurance company should treat you noticeably better than the insurance company of the driver who caused the traffic collision. Your insurance company has the duty to treat you with equal consideration when you make a claim. Unfortunately, some insurance companies choose to treat every claimant the same, regardless of whether or not you are a policyholder. Consequently, some insurance companies violate their fiduciary duties to policyholders. If you filed a car accident claim with your insurance company and you feel that the insurance company has unreasonably delayed or denied your claim, please call and speak with an experienced attorney at Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn today. All initial case evaluations are free of charge. Get started now!
Useful Insurance Bad Faith Articles from Our Denver Personal Injury Blog:
The Verdict: On April 13, 2017, a Colorado Federal Jury rendered a verdict finding that GEICO failed to prove that it complied with mandatory insurance laws requiring it to provide customers with a reasonable opportunity to purchase higher levels of Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage when purchasing insurance online at www.geico.com. Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn were the trial lawyers for the prevailing party. What we won for our client requires GEICO to pay the additional insurance benefits for coverages that GEICO failed to offer our client. Continue Reading...
We probably all remember our parents allowing us to drive one of their vehicles while we were in high school. If your parents were like my parents, they of course told you to be careful. They may have even told you not to loan your car to anyone else because if you did, you would not be “covered.” What your Dad meant by that was that if you gave your car to someone else your auto insurance would not cover any injuries that your friend caused to someone else because your friend did not have permission to drive the vehicle. Well, this is one of the few times that your Dad was actually wrong. Continue Reading...
The uninsured/underinsured motorist statute found in our Colorado State laws at C.R.S. § 10-4-609, mandates that an insurance company must evaluate their insured’s loss and pay the claim when due. Furthermore, C.R.S. § 10-3-1115/1116 provides for a penalty against an insurance company if that company unreasonably delays or denies a covered benefit when due. Nonetheless, whether an insurance company had an obligation to pay piecemeal benefits remained unsettled until May 7, 2015 when the Colorado Court of Appeals issued its decision in Fisher v. State Farm Automobile Insurance Company, 13 CA 2361. Insurance companies hate the idea of paying part of a claim, and then having to pay more when more damages/losses are incurred or substantiated. They prefer the leverage associated with holding undisputed money ransom until a policyholder capitulates and accepts less to resolve an entire claim forever. Therefore, the Fisher case is groundbreaking. Continue Reading...
Lawyers Association Conference on Insurance Bad Faith - Sheridan DTC, Friday May 15 2015
On January 14, 2013, Chad Hemmat, partner at Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, representing Don Etherton in Etherton v. Auto-Owner’s Insurance Company, Case No. 10-cv-00892 commenced a two week trial in the Colorado Federal District Court. The trial resulted in the first significant Colorado jury verdict in the area of law known as statutory insurance bad faith (1115/1116).
Prior to trial, Auto-Owners Insurance offered only $1 to settle claims with Mr. Etherton. The jury found in favor of Don Etherton and against his auto insurance company and awarded an amount valued at or near $2,500,000.00. Continue Reading...
When an insurance company is on trial for its conduct, its best friends are "confusion, complexity, and distraction." Every argument an insurance company makes in response to a policyholder's complaints about its misbehavior is geared toward making the case as complex as possible while confusing and distracting the jury. After all, if the jury is confused as to whether the insurance company's conduct was reasonable, they will likely determine that the plaintiff has not met his burden of proof and do the easy thing...decide in favor of the insurance company. After all, the jury wants to get back to living their everyday lives. Think of "confusion, complexity and distraction" as the key to nearly every insurance company defense to nearly everything. Continue Reading...