Pursuing a Rhode Island homeowners or property insurance claim can be much more difficult than it should be. Although insurance companies are paid by their clients for the express purpose of providing coverage against a covered loss, once a claim is filed, an insurance company often treats their client as a hostile party. Claims adjusters and the legal teams behind them have a duty to their employers to weed out fraudulent claims; however, incentive programs used by insurance companies often result in all claims initially being treated as if they are unreasonable or fraudulent.
As an insured person who has recently suffered a devastating loss that would result in a property insurance claim, the client is often in an extremely vulnerable and unfavorable position to express their rights under the insurance policy and demand what they are entitled to. Insurance companies know this and will often deny coverage unjustly or make extremely reduced offers to vulnerable clients who need a payout immediately. While the ethics of this practice is certainly questionable, when taken to its extreme, insurance company tactics can have legal implications that all their clients should be aware of.
When the insurance company game of hardball goes from unkind to unethical or illegal, is when a Rhode Island bad faith insurance claim can come into play. Insurance companies have a fiduciary duty to act in the insured’s best interests, which includes a duty to seriously consider a plaintiff’s reasonable settlement demand. An insurance company that wrongfully denies a claim can be sued by their client for acting in bad faith. Insurers can be held accountable for declining to settle a valid claim or for otherwise failing to adequately perform their duties under the insurance contract. A plaintiff who successfully pursues a bad faith claim against their insurance company may be entitled to the original damages under the claim, as well as punitive damages against the insurance company as well as attorney’s fees.
Even the threat of the extensive damages permitted under bad faith claims can act to rein in insurance companies from unethical behavior before it occurs. Retaining a qualified Rhode Island insurance attorney early in the claim process can protect an insured client from abusive insurance company tactics, helping them obtain a full and fair settlement to the client without the hardship of a protracted legal battle.
Protecting Your Rights With a Rhode Island Insurance Attorney
If you or a loved one is anticipating a homeowners or other property insurance claim as a result of an accident or other loss, being prepared with a qualified Rhode Island insurance attorney by your side from the start can ensure that you are treated fairly by the insurance company. If a dispute with an insurance company has already gone off the rails and you have been denied a valid claim or subjected to unreasonable delays or other tedious requests in an attempt to get you to accept an insufficient settlement, you may have a bad faith claim against the insurance company. The Experienced Rhode Island insurance attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo understand how to assert our client’s rights and have successfully won substantial damage awards on behalf of our clients, and we are willing to help you too. Contact our offices today at 401-300-4055 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.