Charlotte Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
When you buy an insurance policy, you reasonably expect the insurer to be there to cover your costs when the unexpected occurs. After all, you paid your monthly premiums. All too often, insurance companies build an image of reliability but drop the ball when it is time to pay on a claim.
Fortunately, you have legal options when an insurance carrier fails to honor its legal or contractual obligations. A Charlotte bad faith insurance lawyer with Whitley Law Firm can explain your options during a free consultation.
Call us to discuss today: (919) 785-5000.
Understanding Unfair Insurance Practices and Bad Faith
Under North Carolina law, insurance companies have a duty to pay policyholders a reasonable sum for damages covered under the policy. If they unfairly delay or deny your claim to protect their own profits, you may have grounds to sue.
Consumer Protection Laws Against Bad Faith Insurance Practices
North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 58-63-15 holds insurers liable for unfair and deceptive trade practices. Such practices may look like:
- Denying a valid insurance claim
- Refusing to pay a claim without investigating
- Denying parts of the claim that are covered under the policy
- Underpaying a valid insurance claim
- Unnecessarily delaying an insurance settlement
- Claiming that clearly property can be repaired instead of replaced
- Using unfair methods to determine a settlement value
- Misrepresenting coverage or providing false information in advertising
- Using threatening or intimidating language or behavior
- Discriminating against policyholders by offering different premiums or settlements
Proving this alone is exceedingly difficult. Our bad faith insurance attorneys in Charlotte can help you determine whether an insurance company has violated your rights and hold it accountable. Contact Whitley Law Firm to learn how we can help you recover compensation.
Bad Faith Insurance Practices Following a Natural Disaster
You may carry insurance as a homeowner, homeowner’s association (HOA), commercial property owner, or business owner. Your insurance company is legally bound to cover expenses for incidents covered under the policy contract.
Unfortunately, insurance carriers often place their profits above the interests of their policyholders, which can leave you in dire financial straits following a storm or natural disaster, such as:
- High winds
- Heavy rains
- Lightning strikes
At Whitley Law Firm, we understand how frustrating it can be to deal with a stubborn or dishonest insurance agents and adjusters, especially when those practices lead to business losses or homeowners hounding you about when their homes will be fixed through their HOA policy. Allow us to help you pursue justice against unprincipled insurance carriers through a bad faith claim.
Our Charlotte Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys Fight Unscrupulous Insurance Companies
Insurance policies exist as a financial safety net for individuals, businesses, and organizations. If a judge in North Carolina finds that an insurance company acted in bad faith, the insurer may have to pay:
- The full value of the original claim
- Punitive damages
- Attorney’s fees for the policyholder
- Interest, court costs, and other fees
Whitley Law Firm aims to hold corrupt insurance carriers fully accountable. Our bad faith insurance attorneys in Charlotte are committed to pursuing damages from companies guilty of unfair or deceptive practices.
We Handle Every Aspect of Your Bad Faith Insurance Claim
At Whitley Law Firm, we realize the unprecedented difficulties you face following a storm, natural disaster, or serious accident. For over five decades, our personal injury law firm has defended the legal rights of North Carolinians. We have the knowledge and resources to help you with every aspect of your case, including:
- Gathering evidence
- Obtaining damage estimates
- Reviewing insurance policy documents
- Filing a lawsuit against the insurance company for bad faith practices
- Handling phone calls, emails, and requests for information
- Representing you in hearings, negotiations, and trial proceedings
Our case results reflect our dedication to successful litigation on behalf of our clients. We have extensive experience facing giant insurance companies and stubborn adjusters. Our team can aggressively defend your right to justice and fair compensation.
Proving a Bad Faith Insurance Practices Case in Charlotte
Insurance policies are legally binding contracts. A policyholder agrees to pay a certain premium for the coverage term. In return, the insurance company agrees to pay the policyholder in good faith for losses covered by the policy.
When an insurance company fails to honor the contract through delays, coverage denials, or dishonesty, you could sue for breach of contract, statutory violations, or bad faith.
To prove that your insurance company acted in bad faith, our attorneys gather evidence to show that the insurance company’s behavior was deceptive, unfair, or in violation of North Carolina laws. Evidence we may use to prove your claim includes:
- Policy documents
- Photos and videos of the damage
- Damage estimates
- Calculations for the value of covered losses
- Correspondence between the policyholder and insurance company
- Dates and times of correspondence
- Proof of loss statements
- Settlement offers to date
- Expert testimony
Using this information, we can establish the extent and severity of the insurance company’s bad faith practices and build a solid case on your behalf.
Understanding Types of Insurance Policies and Their Coverage
A primary consideration when establishing bad faith is the actual coverage. That is why one of our first steps is to review the policy documents. Your insurance carrier may rightfully deny a claim if the damages are not covered by your policy. It is therefore critical to understand the details of your insurance coverage. Policies may include:
- Dwelling coverage: Covers rebuilding and repair of your building’s physical structure
- Personal property: Covers personal belongings that were inside the dwelling and covered structures
- Additional living expenses: Covers increased cost of living if you must temporarily stay somewhere other than your home
- Additional structures: Covers structures not attached to the primary dwelling, such as a pool, sauna, garage, or clubhouse.
- Flood coverage: Covers flood damage, which is often excluded from standard property insurance policies
- Earthquake coverage: Covers earthquake damage, which is often excluded from standard insurance policies
If you have questions about your policy coverage and whether you have a valid claim, Whitley Law Firm can help.
Bad Faith Insurance Delays and Denials Create Snowballing Expenses
Damage to expensive buildings and residences after a storm or natural disaster can be dangerous and costly. You reasonably expect your insurance company to provide a prompt response when you file an insurance claim. Unfortunately, some insurance companies take this time to delay or deny claims and protect their bottom line.
While you fight for a fair settlement from your insurance carrier, your expenses can snowball.
Unaddressed Damage Leads to More Damage
When you are dealing with thousands of dollars in property damage, time is of the essence. Without prompt repairs, straightforward repairs can become costly remediation projects. For instance, delayed roof repairs may result in water intrusion, pests, mold, and other dangerous conditions.
Such conditions may also place residents and property users at risk of illness or injury. Over time, you may face claims and lawsuits for injuries incurred on the property because your insurance company prevented you from completing timely repairs.
Damaged Property May Be Unusable
While you await repairs, your property may be unusable or unsafe. Residents at damaged properties may have to stay in hotels. Professional businesses may have to rent office space elsewhere until you repair the building.
Your property may sit empty while you continue to pay for mortgages, property taxes, maintenance contracts, and other regular expenses. If you cannot use the property as intended, you may lack the income to cover these expenses. In severe cases, you could lose the property in foreclosure.
Slow Repairs Can Cost Your Business or Organization
If you operate a commercial property or retail space, you may lose critical traffic you need to keep your business running. Retail businesses in damaged buildings may be unable to open until repairs are complete. Commercial properties may lose renters who cannot use the space they lease.
Residents may move out of condominiums, apartments, or HOAs. Those who remain may demand reduced dues for facilities they cannot access. Fewer paying HOA members can compromise property upkeep and cause those remaining to pay higher dues. Your community’s quality and reputation could be severely compromised.
Condo Owners May Be Hounding You for Answers
If you are an HOA president, you may be dealing with frustrated condo owners who need their homes repaired.
Untimely Payment Can Hurt Professional Relationships
Perhaps you hire a contractor with the understanding that the insurance company will pay for repairs. An untimely payout can harm your relationship with the contractor and compromise your professional reputation. In severe cases, you may face third-party collectors or liens against your property for unpaid services.
Repair Costs Can Put You In Deep Debt
To protect your relationship with service providers, you may pay upfront for your repair services and file a claim for reimbursement. Whether you pull from your HOA emergency fund or take out a business loan against future income, you risk putting your organization in debt.
Drawing from your savings account reduces interest income you would otherwise have earned. Similarly, you typically pay interest or fees on lines of credit or loans you take out for repairs. In both cases, you will need to plan to pay the funds back. A delayed, diminished, or denied insurance claim can hamper your ability to repay these costs and harm your financial liquidity.
Consult With a Charlotte Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer Today
If your insurance company has unfairly delayed or denied your claim for damages covered under your policy, Whitley Law Firm is here to help. We understand that an insurance settlement is a critical factor in your ability to rebuild and return to business as usual. Let our family help yours.
Contact our office today to learn more about bad faith insurance practices and how to fight them: (919) 785-5000. We offer free case evaluations. Our bad faith insurance attorneys in Charlotte have the knowledge, experience, and resources to guide you through the legal process and advocate for your legal rights.