FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – FAQ Regarding Insurance Law
What is bad faith insurance law?
We represent policyholders who have disputes with insurance companies. Insurance companies must legally treat their policyholders fairly. They must promptly investigate claims and fairly look at the facts. They should not just look for facts that support denial of the claim. An insurance company, legally, must not put its financial interests ahead of its insureds. A claim owed must be promptly paid. By unreasonably investigating claims, or by delaying or denying payments, an insurer is acting in bad faith. When an insurance company acts in bad faith it can be sued for damages, as well as punitive damages.
Is it possible to sue my insurer for emotional distress resulting from their bad faith?
Possibly, but this depends on the circumstances of your case. When an insurance company unreasonable denies or delays payment of a valid claim, this can cause emotional and physical distress. This emotional and physical distress is normally compensable if bad faith is established.
What are punitive damages?
If a policyholder committed fraud, they may go to jail. Insurance companies do not go to jail when they commit fraud. The only way to hopefully create change and make things better for others in the future is to punish the insurance company. The only way to punish an insurance company that makes millions or billions of dollars in revenue is to take enough of its profit to make it felt. In addition to awarding a plaintiff actual damages and damages for emotional distress and/or physical injury, punitive damages may be assessed against an insurance company to serve as a punishment and deter the company and other similar companies from acting in bad faith again. Without consequences the conduct continues.
Does Bidegaray Law Firm accept every case?
No, that would be impossible. To provide the highest quality service to our clients, we can only work on a few cases at a time. We often refer potential clients to other law firms if we cannot help them.
What happens if my case is not accepted by Bidegaray Law Firm?
If we cannot help you, we will do our best to find a firm that can handle your case and direct you to them.
If my case is accepted by Bidegaray Law Firm will I be involved in a trial?
While a trial is always a possibility when bringing a legal claim, most cases we handle settle prior to trial. At what stage in the process they settle varies based on a wide range of circumstances.
How does Bidegaray Law Firm decide which cases to handle?
Our firm interviews potential clients who contact us about their case. Our attorneys and staff then discuss the merits of the case. If the case is one we are possibly willing to undertake, we arrange a meeting in which the potential client comes to the office to meet with an attorney. If we deem a case to have sufficient merit, then we accept and sign a retainer agreement with the client. A retainer agreement is simply an agreement.
Are there deadlines that can affect my taking legal action?
Yes. Laws called statutes of limitations set the time in which to file a law suit. The time varies depending on the type of claim. It is important to consult an attorney immediately to determine the statute of limitations applicable to your matter.
What is “tort reform”, and is it good for consumers?
“Tort reform” refers to the attempt to pass laws making it difficult for ordinary people to seek legal help when harmed by corporations, insurance companies or the government. Bidegaray Law Firm, LLC believes that tort reform aims at protecting corporate profits and exorbitant upper level management salaries and bonuses. If laws pass that eliminate legitimate claims, insurance company profits go up. One might reasonably think this might lead to lower premiums. This, however, is typically not the case. These increased profits are often paid out in higher salaries, bonuses, or in some other monetary way.