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When Insurance Companies Don’t Play Fair
Life Insurance Litigation
Life insurance companies often deny life insurance claims without justifiable reasons. Life insurance is designed so that if an individual pays premiums over a course of years, in the event he or she passes away unexpectedly his or her family and loved ones receive some financial security and support. Unfortunately, sometimes these benefits are wrongfully denied, and litigation may be necessary to resolve the dispute. A few reasons for denial of the policy are misrepresentation on the application, the deceased having a high blood alcohol content, or suicide or self-inflicted injury. When you are the intended beneficiary of a life insurance policy and you are told you cannot receive the benefits to which you are entitled, it can come as quite a shock.
The following case summaries on this page are cases we have personally handled and litigated and are provided for illustrative and informational purposes only, and are not meant to offer legal advice or intend to take the place of consultation with a qualified attorney that has the requisite expertise and experience in these matters. These cases are only a sampling of the actual cases we have handled. While some cases may be similar, each case involves unique parties and specific facts, and the application of those facts to the controlling law may differ significantly depending upon the circumstances. No results or outcomes can be guaranteed in any case.
Jeanette C., after the death of her husband, was denied one half of his $100,000 life insurance proceeds, despite the fact that his employer, Space Hardware Optimization Technology, deducted the appropriate amount from each of Jeanette’s husband’s paychecks for 20 years. We were retained to pursue action against the employer. Records indicated that while the employer deducted the correct amount from his paycheck, the total deducted was not paid in its entirety to Lincoln National Life Insurance Company. There was never an explanation of where the remaining premium money went. Due to the employer’s error, Lincoln National Life Insurance Company was only responsible for paying $50,000 in death benefits, even though Jeanette and her husband had elected a $100,000 policy. A lawsuit was filed in Floyd Circuit Court in Floyd County, Indiana. The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. A settlement conference conducted by the Magistrate Judge resulted in a confidential settlement short of trial.
If an event outside of your control has caused major damage to your home or property, the one source of consolation you may have had is that your property was insured. Unfortunately, insurance companies and their representatives are highly profit-focused and cost-conscious. This means that many people with major property damage often have great difficulty getting the money they need and deserve. When the insurance company you have paid and depended on for assistance in a crisis wrongfully denies your claim, delays payment, blocks recovery efforts and refuses to pay money owed under their policies, you may be eligible for compensation.
Derhonda C. suffered a property loss when a fire destroyed her home and belongings. The property loss was timely reported to her insurer, State Farm. Derhonda complied with State Farm’s numerous requests for documentation and information, as well as providing a recorded statement immediately after the loss. Further, Derhonda underwent an examination under oath, lasting over six hours, and completed a personal property inventory. State Farm responded to Derhonda’s claim by stating, “We have not determined whether the loss should be paid.” Derhonda had maintained insurance with State Farm for over five years. When Derhonda requested any and all information related to the denial or delay in the payment of her claim, no information was provided by State Farm for over seven weeks. We were retained and a lawsuit was filed in Clay Circuit Court in Clay County, Kentucky, for insurance benefits and compensatory and punitive damages for State Farm’s failure to pay the full amount of a claim arising from the fire. The case was removed to United States District Court, Eastern Division. Discovery was completed and depositions of Derhonda and the insurance adjuster were taken. State Farm never made an offer to settle the case prior to mediation. The case was mediated and reached a confidential settlement.
Insurance Bad Faith
People buy insurance in a spirit of trust. They feel assured that the insurance policy will bear the heavy financial responsibility if property is damaged or a family member or friend is seriously hurt. But sometimes the insurance company views the situation from a different point of view. We have experience with insurance companies that act in bad faith against their policy holders.
Shawn G., a resident of Pikeville, Kentucky, was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a drunk driver. As a result of the crash, the vehicle exited the roadway and rolled over multiple times. The crash caused multiple personal injuries to Shawn, resulting in many hospital and rehabilitation visits. These visits reached an excess of $32.000. The injured party filed a bad faith claim against the insurance company for failing to timely pay the coverage and reached a confidential settlement.
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