Insurance companies are under an obligation to act in good faith in dealing with their insureds and properly and appropriately handling a claim. Insureds pay trillions of dollars in premiums each year to insurance companies for such insurance protection. For an insurance company then to deny or refuse to fully pay on a claim is a breach of that insurance company’s duty and an act of bad faith. That there are incredible profits made by insurance companies is evident by the number of commercials on television by insurance companies seeking out you to become one of their insureds and pay them your premium dollar.
Foley & Small has had years of experience dealing with insurance companies and handling disputed insurance claims in a variety of context, including auto, home, fire, flood and business policy litigation.
Indiana as most states, requires insurance carriers to act in good faith and deal fairly with their insureds in responding to a presented claim. An insurer has an obligation to reasonably investigate facts and circumstances involving the loss and then make a fair and adequate assessment of the value of the injury or loss sustained. The insurance carrier then must make a reasonable offer to the insured to properly compensate the insured for that loss as provided for under the policy. If an insurance carrier fails to act in such a manor, they can be found to be in a breach of their policy obligations and to have engaged in bad faith insurance claims practices. Such findings renders the insurance company liable to pay fully for the loss incurred and for all consequential damages to the insured for having to go through a protracted claims process and likely to have suffered additional losses and inconvenience in having to battle the insurance carrier for proper payment on the claim. Beyond that, the insurance carrier can be held liable for punitive damages.
In the landmark case of Erie Insurance Company v. Hickman, the Indiana Supreme Court recognized the common law tort claim of bad faith that can be brought against insurance carriers. An insurance carrier is obligated to act in good faith and deal fairly with its insured. Such obligations include the duty to refrain from the following:
Many insurance bad faith claims have been brought during the years since the 1993 decision in Hickman. Beyond this common law basis to assert a claim, Indiana has adopted the Unfair Claims Practices Act, but that statute does not create a private cause of action that could be asserted by an individual insured. Insureds can, however, use the unfair claims settlement practices identified in the Act as a basis of showing bad faith by the insured in asserting a common law claim for bad faith settlement practices.
-Douglas D. Small
-Edmond W. Foley
If you or someone you know have been involved in a dispute with an insurance carrier or a carrier has acted in bad faith and failed to properly handle and fully compensate an insured on an insurance claim, contact Foley & Small.
Represented delivery driver of RV units injured in crash with vehicle on interstate highway resulting in severe lower extremity injuries. Settlements with two defendants and verdict against a third defendant.
Represented client rearended by truck resulting in concussive and hand injuries.
Represented client involved in an intersectional accident resulting in chest and upper extremity injuries.
Represented woman struck by a vehicle involved in a high speed auto chase.
Represented high school student injured in highway intersection accident suffering vertebral fractures.
Represented elderly handicapped gentlemen who fell on asphalt debris in apartment complex parking lot.
Represented woman injured at county road intersection collision suffering complex hand injuries.
Lead counsel in Indiana working to secure a settlement of $125,000,000.00 against the New England Compounding Center and its officers, directors and employees arising from fungus contaminated epidural injections distributed throughout the United States, including Indiana and Michigan.
Represented worker injured at work site due to injuries caused by third party contractors (not employer).
Retail store slip and fall claim resulting in brain injury.
Represented estate of employee injured as a result of an at-work explosion caused by third party contractor.
Represented woman injured due to defective product resulting in injuries involving significant complications and multiple follow up procedures.
Represented estate of construction worker injured who suffered fatal injuries during the course of assisting and the unloading of construction materials from a trailer.
Represented estate of man electrocuted while working on farm property. Settlement with certain defendants and trial with one defendant.
Represented estate of middle age woman who suffered fatal injuries during the course of a car semi-tractor collision.
Represented estate of man who died from injuries due to collision with a semi-tractor trailer.
Represented family members suffering injury after being struck by a delivery vehicle which failed to stop for a stop sign.
Foley & Small handles and tries cases across Indiana and Michigan. This includes working in the following counties, county seats and cities: