Skilled Bad Faith Attorneys Protecting Louisville Clients
Representing Kentucky clients in claims of unfair insurance practices
An insurance policy is a contract. You agree to pay your premiums and the insurance company agrees to compensate you for covered losses. Sometimes, that insurance policy is the only thing that stands between you and financial disaster. When you suffer a covered loss and the insurance company does not comply with what they agreed to in the policy, you will then be forced to scramble to find the money to pay for the loss. Fortunately, Kentucky law protects the rights of the insured, and you may be able to receive compensation for your losses.
At McWherter Scott Bobbitt, our bad faith insurance attorneys hold insurance companies accountable for their failure to fulfill their contractual obligations with policyholders. Whether an insurance company is a national, household name, or a local company to Kentucky, when they fail to uphold their agreements and keep their promises to their insureds, we intercede on behalf of our clients in Louisville in an attempt to force the insurance company to comply with the law.
What is insurance bad faith?
Insurance bad faith, as the name implies, occurs when an insurance company fails to operate in good faith and uphold their obligations agreed to in the insurance policy.
Kentucky law offers a limited definition of insurance bad faith through common law and the statutes. The insured must be able to prove the following elements for a bad faith claim:
(1) the insurer must be obligated to pay the claim under the terms of the policy;
(2) the insurer must lack a reasonable basis in law or fact for denying the claim; and
(3) it must be shown that the insurer either knew there was no reasonable basis for denying the claim or acted with reckless disregard for whether such a basis existed... [A]n insurer is ... entitled to challenge a claim and litigate it if the claim is debatable on the law or the facts." Wittmer v. Jones 864 S.W.2d 885 (1993)
The Kentucky law which governs unfair claims settlement practices for insurance companies is the Unfair Claims Settlement Practice Act (UCSPA). This law delineates an exhaustive list of actions that comprise bad faith on the part of insurance companies some of which include:
- Misrepresenting pertinent facts for insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue;
- Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies;
- Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies.
(full text of the law KRS 304.12-230)
Can I recover compensation after being a victim of bad faith insurance practices?
As we stated earlier, Kentucky law provides a narrow definition of insurance bad faith, but if you can prove that bad faith did occur, you could be entitled to recover damages that exceed the limits of the policy. You might also be able to recover punitive damages, because if you were successful in proving bad faith, then you may also be successful in uncovering intentional and reckless conduct on the part of the insurer in failing to pay your claim.
Some of the damages that you may be able to recover after proving insurance bad faith include:
- Covered losses under the policy. This encompasses the full value of the losses you sustained.
- The insurance company could be required to pay you interest on the unpaid insurance benefits.
- Punitive damages. These are intended to punish the conduct of the defendant (i.e., the insurer) in the hopes that such behavior will not be repeated in the future.