March 21, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- An overview of Arizona bad faith insurance law
Article provided by Surrano Law Offices, A Professional Corporation
Visit us at http://www.surrano-disabilityclaims.com
Every insurance policy is a contract. When a person purchases an insurance policy and pays the premiums on time every month, he or she rightly expects that the insurance company will uphold its end of the bargain and pay the benefits that are owed when it comes time to make a claim. Indeed, this sort of fair play is much more than just good customer service -- Arizona law requires insurers to approach every claim with an attitude of "good faith and fair dealing."
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always follow this rule. All too often, insurers subject policyholders to wrongful claim denials or try to force policyholders to settle claims for far less than they are actually worth.
When this happens, it is important for policyholders to take steps to protect their rights. Arizona law allows wronged policyholders to pursue insurance bad faith lawsuits and seek financial damages from their insurers.
What is insurance bad faith?
Insurance bad faith exists whenever an insurance company breaches its duty of good faith and fair dealing.
In order to prove bad faith, the insured must first show that the insurer either denied a claim, failed to pay a claim or delayed payment on a claim, and that it did so intentionally and unreasonably. Further, the insured must show that the insurer knew it was acting unreasonably. Alternatively, the insured may show that the insurance company could not have known whether it was acting reasonably because it failed to sufficiently evaluate or investigate the claim.
In the context of insurance bad faith claims, "intentionally" does not necessarily mean that the insurer intended to harm the insured. Rather, it simply means that the insurance company purposefully engaged in the conduct at issue. An act will not be construed as bad faith in cases where the insurer acted inadvertently or made a good faith mistake.
In addition, a policyholder alleging bad faith must show that he or she was actually harmed by the insurer's conduct.
Compensation for insurance bad faith
Depending on the facts of the case, successful plaintiffs in insurance bad faith cases can receive compensation for a number of different losses. Some of the compensable elements of damage include the following:
-Unpaid insurance benefits
-Monetary losses already suffered, as well as those anticipated in the future
-Past and future damage to credit reputation
-Any emotional distress, inconvenience, humiliation or anxiety experienced or reasonably expected to be experienced as a result of the bad faith
Pursuing insurance bad faith lawsuits
Bad faith lawsuits require a significant amount of proof. Nearly every insurance company retains experienced attorneys to fight bad faith claims, so it is important that policyholders are equally well-armed. If you have been wronged by your insurance company, contact an experienced Arizona insurance claims attorney who can help you protect your rights.---
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