Massachusetts Insurance Companies who Refuse to Pay Claims can be sued for Bad Faith

Following an accident resulting in personal injuries, the injured party inevitably will come into contact with representatives of one or more insurance companies, either their own or the company that insures the party responsible for the accident. There will be an adjuster or adjusters who want to ask you questions, and often want to record or memorialize your answers. No matter how friendly or helpful they appear, the insurance adjuster is not your friend. His/her job is not to minimize the exposure of their company, regardless of whom they represent.

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In certain instances, the misconduct of the insurer rises to a level of behavior, which is not only inappropriate, but may give rise to a separate and actionable claim. In Massachusetts and almost every other state, there are laws, which specify acts or practices of insurers, which are unlawful. These unlawful acts are often called unfair claims settlement practices or INSURANCE BAD FAITH.

Because insurers are required to deal fairly with claimants, when it is clear that someone is responsible for your injuries, the insurer must make reasonable offers of settlement. When the insurer refuses to offer to settle a case when liability is clear, the law permits claimants to sue the insurer directly.

The Law Offices of Keith L. Miller represents Plaintiffs who claim to have been the victims of unfair claims settlement practices by insurance companies. He has successfully sued insurers, and caused them to pay multiple damages and other penalties for not acting fairly. Here is a summary of an insurance bad faith case, which the firm handled successfully several years ago:

A CASE IN POINT:

A truck owner/operator collected $400,000 after the jury rejected an insurer’s claim that the owner set fire to his truck to collect on his insurance policy.

The Plaintiff was an owner/operator of a truck tractor, used for long distance trailer hauling. The tractor caught fire while stored overnight in a parking area and was destroyed. The Plaintiff made a claim for the loss with his insurer, who investigated and refused to pay on the claim on the basis that it believed that the Plaintiff had intentionally set fire to the truck. The accident was fully investigated by the police, who brought no charges against the owner. Keith L. Miller represented the owner in a claim against the insurer for breach of contract and bad faith. The case was tried to a jury in Worcester Superior Court. It resulted in a verdict for the owner. The jury found that the company had breached the contract and acted in bad faith. It awarded triple damages to the owner because the insurer had acted in bad faith. The insurer appealed, but finally paid the full amount of the verdict, plus interest.

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The above information is provided by the Law Offices of Keith L. Miller, a Boston, Massachusetts civil trial lawyer, specializing in the legal representation of individuals who believe that they have been injured as the result of mistakes made by a lawyer representing them, or have been involved in all types of accidents causing personal injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident where you believe someone else is at fault, contact Keith L. Miller to arrange a free consultation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week either by telephone at (617) 523-5803, or click here to send him an email. You will be contacted within 24 hours.