Virginia Insurance Coverage Dispute Lawyers
Insurance is supposed to provide peace of mind to protect you, your family, and your property from some of the risks of life. That’s why we buy life insurance to provide for our families, auto insurance to protect us and others in the event we are involved in a crash, and homeowners insurance to protect us and others who visit our property. Insurance companies oftentimes fail to live up to their end of the bargain, however, and when that happens, you may need to speak with one of our experienced Charlottesville Virginia insurance coverage dispute lawyers.
A dispute regarding insurance coverage typically arises only after you have suffered what appears to be a loss that is covered by your insurance policy. When you report the loss to the insurance company, some companies will look first to whether there are ways that they can avoid providing insurance coverage for your loss.
Many times an insurance company’s denial of benefits is contrary to Virginia law. To explain, Virginia law has certain rules regarding how contracts are to be interpreted, and there are a special set of rules that apply to insurance contracts. Some of these rules include the following:
- Plain meaning rule. A contract should be interpreted according to the plain meaning of the words used. All words must be given effect, if possible.
- Interpret against the drafter. If the insurance policy can be read in more than one way, and one of those ways is favorable to the insurance company while the other way is favorable to the consumer, the contract must be interpreted in the way that favors the consumer and provides insurance coverage.
- Policy language that excludes coverage is construed against the insurance company. Insurance companies often claim that a particular loss is not covered because it is a listed exclusion under the applicable insurance policy. The insurance company has the burden of proving an exclusion applies, and any exclusions are interpreted in a manner favoring the insured individual.
- Rule of reasonableness. An insurance company must act reasonably with its investigation of claims and in the decisions that it makes.
While denials of insurance claims are always difficult, denials of life insurance claims can be particularly difficult for consumers. As an example of a case that we have handled, our client’s husband purchased a life insurance policy that was to provide a benefit to his wife upon his death. The elderly husband suffered terrible injuries from a fall at his home, was hospitalized, and died two days after the accident. Though the insurance company was to provide benefits to the family upon his death, the insurance company denied the claim.
We filed suit to protect our client’s rights and to obtain the funds that the insurance company had wrongfully denied. Only after fighting hard for our client were we able to obtain a victory for our client and recover funds for her.
If you feel that an insurance company wrongfully denied your claim, please call MartinWren, P.C.’s Virginia Insurance Coverage Dispute lawyers, either Robert E. Byrne, Jr. or Kirk D. Becchi. We offer free consultations and can meet with you at our office or your home.
You will not owe any legal fees unless we recover money for you.
Alternatives to Suing Your Insurance Company
Despite making payments to your insurance company reliably every month, you may experience some push back when you finally have to submit a claim after a tragic life event or unexpected loss. It can come as a shock to find out that your insurer is not as supportive as you had thought. Your insurance company may make you jump through hoops before agreeing to send you a payment, then take longer than it should to get this amount to you.
At MartinWren, P.C., our Virginia insurance coverage dispute lawyers believe that those who have diligently paid into their insurance company should receive aid in return if something terrible happens. If you or a loved one has become increasingly frustrated with their insurer over a claim, we recommend obtaining legal representation promptly.
Here in the article below, our Virginia insurance coverage dispute lawyers have listed the top three alternatives you can choose to pursue, instead of filing a lawsuit against your insurance company.
#1 – Mediation
The policyholder who filed the claim and a representative of the insurance carrier try to arrive at a middle ground, with the help of a mediator. The role of a mediator is to be an unbiased and neutral party that does not give advice but helps each party reach an agreed upon resolution.
#2 – Appraisal
This approach can be used when the insurer and policyholder do not agree on the amount of loss. A successful appraisal is one that binds both parties to the amount of total loss suffered on behalf of the policyholder. However, it does not determine coverage.
#3 – Arbitration
This alternative to a lawsuit may be either binding or non-binding. Both parties present their sides to an arbitrator (or a panel) for an evaluation. The arbitrator makes the final decision for the dispute resolution.
Bad Faith Insurance
The Virginia insurance coverage dispute lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. can help you decide whether your insurance company may actually be a bad faith insurer. This term refers to the way an insurance company (such as health, homeowners, auto or life insurance) handles the policy holder’s claim. Bad faith is when the insurer only searches for evidence that supports the insurance company while neglecting to consider evidence that supports the policy holder’s claim. Additionally, it may be viewed as bad faith if the insurer does not reply within a reasonable time frame to the policyholder’s claim. If an insurer denies a claim, an explanation of why the decision was made must be provided to the policyholder.
One of the Virginia insurance coverage dispute lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. can meet with you to find out more about your insurance claim, and whether your insurer has responded with due diligence. In our practice, we are devoted to protecting the rights of our clients and do not back down easily. We can understand just how frustrating it may be to battle with their insurance company, in addition to recovering from an awful accident or incident. Let us help you by taking us up on our offer of a free initial consultation for all new clients.