North Carolina Hurricane Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Many disputes involving an insurance policy are made in good faith. This means that the policyholder and the company providing coverage have an honest disagreement as to the provisions and protections provided by the policy. While these disputes can be complex and often lead to litigation, it cannot be said that either party is attempting to cheat the other.
However, another class of insurance disputes can arise, often after cataclysmic events. Some insurance companies may attempt to deny coverage in bad faith. This can include intentionally failing to properly investigate a claim, failing to pay valid claims in a timely manner, or even denying that a policy existed at all.
A well-versed attorney could help individuals who believe that they have fallen victim to a North Carolina hurricane bad faith insurance claims. They work to examine the facts behind a loss, analyze the actions of the insurance company, and fight for enforcement of a valid insurance plan.
Losses After a Hurricane
All hurricanes are serious events that can jeopardize peoples’ homes and businesses. However, certain hurricanes are especially devastating. High floodwaters combined with a powerful storm surge and swift winds damaged and destroyed thousands of buildings across the state.
While high winds could remove roofs or cause debris to fly through the air in excess of 100 miles per hour, soaking rains could leave homes standing in multiple feet of water or cause damage to a foundation. A homeowner’s insurance policy should provide protection in event of these losses. However, the policyholder and insurance company do not always see eye to eye.
Disputes in Bad Faith in North Carolina
While most disagreements between an insurance company and a policyholder are legitimate disputes, other are undertaken in what is known as bad faith. As a lawyer could explain, a bad faith dispute does not concern the terms of the policy itself but rather often has to do with a company refusing to consider North Carolina hurricane bad faith homeowners insurance claims at all.
For example, an insurance company may claim that a policyholder did not have a valid policy due to simple clerical errors supposedly made by the insured. Another example of acting in bad faith is not sending a qualified appraiser to examine the loss. Finally, bad faith may occur if an insurance company sends an unreasonably low settlement offer. Any of these practices could land the insurance company in serious legal trouble.
North Carolina General Statute §75-1.1 states that any unfair business practice or other practice that affects commerce is unlawful. This is significant because it creates a cause of action for people affected by bad faith insurance practices to file a lawsuit in civil court.
In addition, North Carolina General Statute §75-16 says that plaintiffs in these suits can demand treble damages for their losses. A knowledgeable attorney could help anyone who suffered losses due to a hurricane evaluate their denials to determine whether the denial was made in bad faith.
An Attorney Can Fight Hurricane Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Any failure to properly evaluate or pay a hurricane insurance claim in North Carolina is against the law and in bad faith. While this is not a criminal offense where the insurance company will face charges, individuals who are on the receiving end of the bad faith of an insurance group can sue them for damages in civil court. These plaintiffs can ask the court to enforce their policy and to award them damages for their experiences.
A hardworking lawyer could help North Carolina property owners affected by a hurricane better understand their rights. This includes the right to be dealt with fairly by their insurance company. Any failure to treat a policyholder with respect may be an example of bad faith. A skilled lawyer could help investigate a North Carolina hurricane bad faith insurance claims. Contact an attorney today to learn more.