We Have All Been "Scammed" at One Time or Another: What Happens When Your Insurance Company Scams You and Won't Pay a Claim?
Almost all of us have a story about how we were scammed at one time or another by a home repair contractor or by a product we purchased from someone else. When you purchase insurance or seek to recover insurance benefits that are rightfully yours, the last thing that you want to think of is non-payment of a claim when you need it most.
Since 1979, my personal injury law firm in Philadelphia has been battling insurance companies on behalf of injured victims. Although insurance policies are meant to protect you from the many mishaps of life, unfortunately, many insurance companies and their agents, employees, and skilled attorneys fail to promptly and fairly pay claims.
Recently, a 90-year old Montana woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease won a $34 million bad faith insurance lawsuit against an insurance company that unfairly cut her benefits. Although the plaintiff had taken out a long-term care insurance policy in 1997 after she was diagnosed with dementia and moved into St. John‘s Lutheran Home to receive long term care that the insurance company was supposed to cover, the policy was sold to another company. After reviewing the policy, the new company cut off assisted living benefits to the nursing home, stating that the plaintiff no longer qualified for her policy. The insurance company cited medical staff who claimed that the plaintiff did not need “continual supervision” due to her severe cognitive impairment and was not “severely impaired”.
Thankfully, the jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded her $250,000 for breach of contract, $2 million for violation of unfair trade practices, and $32 million in punitive damages, making it one of the largest jury awards in Montana history.
Simply stated, the name of the game today for many insurance companies is delay, deny, and defend in an effort to improve their profits and bottom line in a tightened economy. It seems that the non-payment of insurance claims is becoming more and more widespread with more dirty tricks being played by insurance companies and their adjusters from low balling claims and instigating arbitrary fraud investigations. Many insurance companies use the court system as a weapon understanding that it will take time for a case to come to trial and delay paying benefits whether they are medical, economic, or cost of living after a tragedy strikes. While many TV commercials point to insurance providers as good friends, good neighbors, and being there when you need them, many of their practices and behavior patterns keep lawyers like those employed by my law firm in business.
If you have been injured or wronged by another and medical bills and lost wages continue to accumulate, don’t be sucked into the trap set by many insurance companies. If they refuse to settle your case in good faith after they have received the information requested, chances are they are preparing to battle and it is time to arm yourself with an experienced and proven trial lawyer who understands the game plan better than many of the young adjusters.
The lawyers of Reiff & Bily are honored to have been named as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers Association as well as been named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, and the Top 100 Lawyers in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Don’t just take our word for it; see what our clients and peers have said about us on Avvo at www.avvo.com. We always offer a free no obligation consultation to those in need of our services. Contact us toll free 1-800-421-9595 or online www.reiffandbily.com.