If Your Insurance Company Denies Your Claim, We May Be Able to Help
At Proffitt & Cox, a Columbia, South Carolina, law firm, we represent the victims of insurance bad faith against their insurance companies. Our plaintiff insurance law attorneys seek to help our clients obtain the coverage that they contracted for when they bought their insurance policy. In some cases, insurance companies who wrongfully fail to pay claims may be held liable for amounts greater than the original insurance policy limits and for punitive damages.
Insurance companies can act in bad faith by:
- Unreasonable denial of insurance claims
- Improperly disputing the existence of insurance coverage
- Canceling insurance coverage when a claim is made
- Intentional delay of claims
- Unreasonable refusal to settle insurance claims within the insurance policy limits
If your insurance claim has been improperly denied, talk to an insurance law attorney about your options. Our Columbia injury lawyers can work with you to pursue a satisfactory resolution of your denied insurance claim. Contact our law firm by calling us locally at (803) 834-7097 or toll free at (877) 276-0533 to speak with a lawyer about your insurance dispute. We are conveniently located just off Two Notch Road, near I-77 and I-20, in Northeast Columbia and represent clients throughout South Carolina.
South Carolina Law Regarding Bad Faith by Insurance Companies
Under South Carolina’s Tyger River Doctrine, courts recognize that insurance policy holders have a cause of action if an insurer unreasonably refuses to accept a settlement within the policy limits. This doctrine was first announced by the South Carolina Supreme Court in the 1933 case of Tyger River Pine Co. v. Maryland Casualty Co., 170 S.C. 286, 170 S.E. 346 (1933). The Tyger River Doctrine means that an insurance company that unreasonably fails to settle a case brought against the insured South Carolina courts also recognize a first party right of a policyholder to sue an insurance company for bad faith.by a third party can potentially be held liable to pay more than the amount of coverage provided for under the insurance policy.
South Carolina courts also recognize a first party right of a policyholder to sue an insurance company for bad faith. A Nichols action is brought pursuant to the case of Nichols v. State Farm, 279 S.C. 336, 306 S.E.2d 616 (1983), in which the South Carolina Supreme Court recognized that every insurance policy includes an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. If an insurer acts unreasonably in denying coverage or processing a claim, the policyholder can recover consequential damages in addition to the coverage otherwise available under the policy. If the insurer’s actions were willful or in reckless disregard of the insured’s rights, the insurance company may be required to pay punitive damages.
Insurance Policies Should Protect You
Our Columbia injury lawyers assist individuals with many different types of insurance claims, so that policy holders may receive the appropriate amount of coverage for the following types of insurance policies:
- Homeowner’s insurance – Homeowner’s policies can cover disasters such as fires and flood along with theft and vandalism. If you experience a fire, theft, or other loss, your insurance company might wrongfully deny coverage or might fail to pay the full amount of your loss either for the home or the contents. In some cases, the insurance company investigating the claim may seek to take an Examination Under Oath during which you will be questioned by an attorney about the circumstances giving rise to the claim or the proof of your losses. Where fires have occurred, the insurance company might investigate the cause of the fire and attempt to deny coverage on the basis that the fire was the result of arson committed or arranged by the homeowner.
- Auto insurance – Owners of insured vehicles are entitled to receive coverage after their involvement in car accidents. Automobile insurance policies are very technical and there are laws that govern what an automobile insurer must tell you at the time that you apply for your policy as well as how they must adjust your claim following an accident. In some cases, insurance policies can be rewritten by the court to include coverage that was not properly offered when the policyholder applied for the coverage.
- Business insurance – Business owners can protect their companies from an array of events by purchasing commercial general liability insurance, product liability coverage, coverage for property damage, business interruption and more. Often claims asserted by or against businesses result in complicated questions of insurance coverage and may result in wrongful coverage denials by insurance companies.
- Life insurance – Life insurance is often of vital importance to the loved ones left behind following an unexpected death. Life insurance claims are sometimes denied on the basis of alleged misrepresentations about the health conditions of the insured or may be denied due to the circumstances surrounding the insured’s death. Other legal issues can also arise in interpreting life insurance policies and determining whether and to whom benefits under the policies may be payable.
If you are dealing with an insurance claim that is not being handled fairly, contact our law firm by calling us locally at (803) 834-7097 or toll free at (877) 276-0533 to speak with a lawyer about your insurance dispute. Call us for a free initial consultation.