New Jersey Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
We expect insurance companies to treat us fairly and in good faith when we file claims. Unfortunately, many insurance companies act in bad faith by denying, delaying or unfairly lowering the value of claims.
If your insurer acted in bad faith after you filed a claim, contact the New Jersey bad faith insurance lawyers at Lynch Law Firm today for a free legal consultation. We are determined to pursue the compensation you deserve and hold insurance companies accountable when they do not treat their policyholders fairly. We can deal with your insurer on your behalf to protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.
Our New Jersey insurance attorneys take cases on contingency, so you will not be charged for our services unless you receive compensation.
Types of Bad Faith Practices
Contrary to the catchy slogans you hear on television commercials, insurance companies are not always focused on doing what is best for their policyholders. Insurance companies are businesses that are focused on making money.
Some of the bad faith practices insurance companies engage in can include:
- Delaying payment of a claim for no good reason
- Denying valid claims without a reasonable basis
- Ignoring communication from the policyholder, including phone calls, emails or letters
- Intimidating policyholders by being rude, abusive or making threats
- Failing to resolve a claim in a reasonable amount of time
- Offering a settlement that is unreasonably low with no factual basis for such an offer
- Refusing to explain why a claim was denied or why the policyholder was offered such a low settlement amount
- Making the process unreasonably complicated
- Concealing evidence that could increase the value of your claim
- Making unreasonable demands for proof of damages
- Delaying the investigation for no good reason
If you were the victim of these or any other bad faith practices, contact a New Jersey bad faith insurance lawyer today for a free legal consultation. We may be able to help you fight back so you can be fairly compensated for your injuries.
Contact the Lynch Law Firm to schedule your free consultation.
How to Report Bad Faith Insurance Practices
If you have filed an insurance claim and feel you are being treated unfairly by the insurance company, you have the right to file a complaint with New Jersey's Office of the Insurance Ombudsman. The only situation where you do not have this right is if you are engaged in arbitration over a personal injury protection policy.
Appeal with Your Insurer
Before you can file a complaint with the ombudsman, you are required to file an appeal in accordance with your insurance company's Internal Appeals Process, according to New Jersey Statute (N.J. Stat.) 17:29E-9. The New Jersey bad faith insurance lawyers from our law firm can help you with every step of this process. We are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve.
You should have been provided with a written explanation of the appeals process during the claims process. The explanation must use non-technical language to describe how the process works.
State law says the appeal review must be conducted by a panel of the insurer's employees who are not responsible for claims payment on a daily basis. The review must be done within 10 business days of receiving the complaint.
Your insurance company is also required to have a procedure for notifying you about the decision from the review and your right to contact the ombudsman.
Filing a Complaint with the Ombudsman
According to a frequently asked questions page, the Office of the Insurance Ombudsman does not have a formal process for requesting a review of an internal appeal, you simply need to notify them in writing. Your notification should also include a copy of the denial letter, appeal panel findings and other relevant information that supports your position that your claim was handled unfairly.
You can notify the ombudsman office through email or by mailing your documentation to the office.
Once your complaint is received, the ombudsman will investigate and make a recommendation to the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance about what to do (N.J. Stat. 17:29E-10). For example, the ombudsman may recommend the commissioner penalize an insurance company because of unfair claims settlement practices.
Schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey bad faith insurance attorney right now.
Filing a Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit
Filing a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Ombudsman is a way to hold your insurance company accountable for the way it treated you. However, this complaint does not help you pursue compensation.
This is why you should meet with a bad faith insurance lawyer in New Jersey to discuss your legal options. The attorneys at the Lynch Law Firm may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue the compensation you were unfairly denied in your insurance claim, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of hiring someone to do household chores and take care of your family.
Our attorneys can also pursue compensation for attorneys’ fees and other costs you incurred because of the bad faith actions of the insurance company, even if the cost of these damages exceeds your policy limits. An example of other costs could include medical bills you had to pay on your own because the insurance company refused to cover them.
Statute of Limitations for Bad Faith
Insurance bad faith lawsuits are governed by New Jersey's statute of limitations for contractual claims. This statute (N.J. Stat. 2A:14-1) says lawsuits over contractual disputes must be filed within six years of when the cause of action accrued. This means you must file a bad faith lawsuit within six years of when bad faith occurred. If you miss this deadline, you will lose the right to file a lawsuit.
However, this statute may not apply to your case if your insurance company included a limitation on bad faith lawsuits in your policy. For instance, your policy may say you have two years to file a lawsuit.
This is why you should contact a bad faith insurance attorney in New Jersey as soon as possible. He or she can review your situation and determine when the deadline for your case will pass. This will allow him or her to file the case on your behalf before time runs out.
An attorney may also be able to extend the statute of limitations for your case. For example, if you were negotiating with the insurance company when it acted in bad faith, a lawyer may be able to successfully argue the statute of limitations should not have begun running. This would extend the statute of limitations, giving us more time to build a case and file the complaint.
Contact our bad faith insurance lawyers in New Jersey today by calling (800) 518-0508 .
How to Prove Bad Faith
One of the reasons you should strongly consider hiring an attorney is that it is very difficult to prove an insurance company acted in bad faith and violated New Jersey law.
Our New Jersey bad faith insurance lawyers are well-educated on this state's legal standards for proving bad faith. These standards were set by the New Jersey Supreme Court in the case Pickett v. Lloyd's. The supreme court said victims of bad faith needed to prove the denial or withholding of benefits was due to reasons that were not even debatably valid.
Unfortunately, this is a high burden of proof for victims of bad faith. Insurance companies do not need to prove they conducted a fool-proof investigation, just that they did an investigation and contacted the victim to discuss the claim.
If your claim was simply denied, you need to prove there were no debatable reasons for this. If there was a delay in the payment of your claim, you need to show the insurance company knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that there were no valid reasons for a delay in payment.
You need an attorney on your side who can launch a thorough investigation to build a strong case to have a chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
The New Jersey car accident attorneys at the Lynch Law Firm have many years of combined experience dealing with insurance companies. We know how to build a case showing the insurance company did not act in good faith.
Contact a New Jersey Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
When insurance companies act in bad faith, accident victims can find themselves in a financial catastrophe because they did not receive the money they were owed by the insurance company.
Fortunately, you may have the option of filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit to obtain the compensation you were wrongly denied.
The attorneys at our firm can guide you through the process, investigating what happened, building a case and aggressively advocating for your rights.
Your consultation with our New Jersey bad faith insurance attorneys is 100 percent free and you will not be charged attorneys' fees unless you receive compensation.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form right now.
Free Case Review
Lynch Law Firm
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604