Mattioli & Munley are partners with the Law Firm of Minora, Minora, Colbassani, Krowiak, Mattioli & Munley.

Insurance Bad Faith

When your insurance company fails to provide benefits you deserve, it is both unethical and illegal.

Insurance bad faith goes beyond customer dissatisfaction. The insurance company is causing you harm by denying you what is yours. You deserve a lawyer on your side who will fight to get the benefits you are owed.

Insurance bad faith can include:

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Unfair denial or short-changing of benefits

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Misleading sales and/or marketing

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Illegal practices with policyholder's claims

Insurance Bad Faith News

Insurance company pays settlement in buckets of loose change

I just started writing about a client of Michigan Auto Law attorney Tom James, who went to an IME and was ordered a urine test to see if she was taking her medications as prescribed. The insurance company, Bristol West, then refused to pay for the urine test that they sent her to because it was unrelated to her car accident! And then I heard about what Adriana Insurance Service just did to an elderly injured man, by paying him in buckets of loose change (my own 2 cents on this one below). But as an attorney who’s dealt with nearly every insurance company in Michigan representing car accident victims, I thought I’ve seen just about all of the dirty tricks the insurance industry will pull to get out of paying claims — everything from the “Delay, Deny, Defend” tactic to Farm Bureau and State Farm trying to require a man to have insurance on his motorized wheelchair as a way of denying his claim for medical benefits. Well, I wonder if this latest story is a race to the bottom by the insurance industry.  In states like Michigan, insurers do this because they can.  Michigan is one of the few states without bad faith laws or punitive damages that can protect people from insurance company abuse.  But what happened in this latest incident with Adriana’s Insurance and the loose change is different – more of an obscene gesture than insurance company bad faith. This is certainly an ugly new low. Andres Carrasco filed a lawsuit in 2012 against Adriana’s Insurance Service, Inc. alleging he was physically assaulted by one of the... read more

Bad Faith: Insurance Companies’ Devilish Denials

It is a poorly kept secret that insurance companies do what they can to avoid paying claims. At what point, however, does a denial or attempt at a denial of a claim violate the rights of the insured? As with all contracts, there is a duty to act in good faith when performing under an insurance policy. A “bad faith” claim against an insurer can arise in many different ways, but is most common when the insurer denies a claim that it knows is covered by the policy it issued the claimant. Without a legitimate exclusion triggered by policy language and the facts or occurrences giving rise to the insured’s claim, the insurer is without a legitimate defense to a claim of bad faith. What is an insured’s recourse when a legitimate claim is denied? The damage caused by the insurer’s bad faith refusal to pay a claim can be catastrophic. The repercussions of being refused necessary medical treatment due to that refusal are especially harmful. Contacting your state’s insurance department or agency, and the Insurance Information Institute’s National Insurance Consumer Hotline are two ways to find help and get information quickly. Another method of redress is filing a direct suit against the insurance company and adjuster for their acts of bad faith. How does the insured discover what the insurance company has done? The claims procedures of insurance companies is a well-guarded secret. However, in a bad faith lawsuit, the files of the adjuster and insurance company are subject to be turned over for the insured’s review. If the insurance company defends the suit by claiming they denied coverage or defense “on the advice of legal... read more

New Law Exempts State Farm from Unfair and Deceptive Practices

A Tennessee jury has awarded a couple $2.7 million in a personal injury lawsuit, resulting from an auto accident with an uninsured, negligent driver.  According to a witness, the driver of a Subaru swerved slamming into a Lexus waiting to make a right turn.  The impact sent the Lexus up on a curb, and propelled the Subaru across three eastbound lanes and three westbound lanes and in to a grassy area. The driver of the Subaru testified that he had been in the center lane when the Lexus swerved in front of him, causing the accident. The driver of the Lexus, Emil Sadowski, suffered a head injury and was hospitalized for nine days before being transferred to long-term care; he can no longer live independently.  His wife, Kathryn, suffered internal injuries and a broken neck; two months after the accident, she succumbed to her injuries and died. State Farm had $2.5 million of uninsured motorist coverage in force for the injured couple at the time of the 2012 accident.  The couple had loyally paid their auto insurance premiums to State Farm for 30 years; despite their stellar payment record, the company denied the claim and tried to blame the couple for the accident.  This is another prime example of an insurance company putting their bottom line over their obligation to honor their contracts of insurance.  State Farm is not“the good neighbor” it claims to be.  Policyholders pay State Farm billions each year in the form of premiums to protect them from a risk, but where is the protection when needed?  The bottom line is that insurance companies make profits; premiums collected exceed claims paid.  If they... read more

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