Bad Faith Claims
Insurance companies must treat their customers fairly and cannot unreasonably deny claims or delay the payment of benefits.
If they do they can be held liable not only for the benefit, but twice the benefit as a sanction and for your attorney’s fees, as well as for your emotional pain and suffering and even punitive damages. We have won cases where the insurance company denied benefits because premiums have not been paid or where the insured rejected coverage because the company did not cancel the policy properly or fully explain the coverage before it was rejected.
For example, the Denver personal injury lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman took on a case where our client was a pedestrian who was run over by a car.
We settled with the driver’s insurance company and then made a claim against our client’s own insurance company for underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits. UIM benefits cover you up to your own limits for the excess between your damages and the other driver’s bodily injury liability limits. Our client’s father had three policies, all of which insured his son. On two of the policies he had UIM limits of $50,000 each, but on the third policy the father had rejected UIM coverage. It took the carrier more than seven weeks after it admitted owing the $100,000 on the two policies to pay it to our client and the carrier denied payment under the third policy because the father had rejected the coverage. The carrier continued to deny the coverage on the third policy even after we explained that its agent had not properly explained UIM coverage to the father as required by statute.
The Denver personal injury lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman filed a claim for benefits and a bad faith suit and after a four day trial the court awarded $200,000 as damages for the insurer’s unreasonable delay in paying the undisputedly $100,000 and reformed the third policy to give our client $50,000 in benefits because the judge agreed the father had not been properly informed. The court then doubled that benefit to award an additional $100,000 for the unreasonable delay in paying on the third policy. In addition, the court awarded over $130,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
The insurance company appealed and our Denver personal injury lawyer Steve Kaufman participated in the first day of oral argument before the Court of Appeals in our State’s new appellate courthouse.
The court issued a decision agreeing with us and confirming the trial court’s judgment. Assuming the Colorado Supreme Court declines to hear a further appeal, with interest and attorneys fees awarded in connection with the appeal, the insurance company will now have to pay over $500,000. Not a bad result considering the insurance company did not offer a dime to settle the case. For another example see the Court of Appeals decision in our favor in Geiger v. Am. Standard Ins. Co.
Although bad faith cases are extremely complicated, we have experienced attorneys to handle them. We have settled bad faith cases, and have won at trial and in the Court of Appeals. So if you think your insurance company has treated you unfairly, please feel free to call the Denver personal injury lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman today. Not only will your initial consultation with us be free, but we handle bad faith claims on a contingent fee or percentage basis. We are looking forward to meeting you and helping you with your claim.
Call our Denver Bad Faith Attorneys Today! (303) 393-6666