To protect you from COVID-19, we are offering a quick & easy remote intake process. Click here to learn more.

Martinsburg Insurance Bad Faith Attorney

The Martinsburg insurance bad faith attorneys at Manchin Ferretti Injury Lawy can help you as a victim of insurance bad faith in West Virginia. The deadline for filing insurance bad faith claims in West Virginia is only one year, so you must call as soon as possible.

Every month, you pay your premiums and keep up with auto, health and property insurance policies. Like most policyholders, you may believe your insurance provider is there to help you in times of need, such as after an accident or natural disaster. The unfortunate truth is, however, the insurance company’s main goal is to make money for its investors, not to help clients.

While your insurer has a legal obligation to pay out valid claims, it may try to pay as little as possible or nothing at all. If your insurance company fails to treat your claim fairly or reasonably, you may have grounds for an insurance bad faith claim against the company to recover not only what the insurer lawfully owed you for the original claim, but also additional compensation in penalties and fees.

Why Clients Choose Us

  • We are a full-service law personal injury law firm in Martinsburg with 80 years of combined legal experience in personal injury and insurance bad faith law.
  • We do not get intimidated by large or powerful insurance corporations. Our lawyers can take insurance bad faith claims to trial, if necessary.
  • We provide legal representation for Martinsburg insurance bad faith claims on a contingency fee basis: $0 in attorney’s fees unless we win.

How Our Martinsburg Bad Faith Lawyers Can Help

The reality is that bad faith insurance law is not something that most people have to do with on a regular basis. Even if you have had to make an insurance claim before, either before a vehicle accident or a homeowners claim, that is different from dealing with a bad faith insurance claim. This is not something that most individuals have to deal with on a regular basis, and you may not even have been familiar with the term “bad faith insurance” before this incident.

A skilled Martinsburg bad faith insurance lawyer can handle every aspect of your claim on your behalf. They will not only investigate the original insurance claim that you made to ensure that the carrier is acting in bad faith now, but they will also fully investigate the possibility that bad faith has occurred. Your lawyer will understand what to look for when it comes to these types of claims, and they will know how to deal with the insurance carrier moving forward.

If necessary, your Martinsburg insurance bad faith lawyer will fully prepare your bad faith insurance claim for trial, which may be necessary if the insurance carrier still refuses to offer a fair settlement after your lawyer lays out the situation for them.

Do I Have a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?

Understanding whether or not you have a bad faith insurance claim denial can be challenging, and we strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney who has experience handling these cases before you make any decision moving forward with your claim. Do not decide that you “have no claim” without first speaking to your legal representative.

Every insurance carrier is required to operate in “good faith and fair dealing” with their clients. That is their duty. This means that they should investigate and pay any valid claims made against the policy. Insurance carriers are held to a high standard because if they devalue or deny a claim, policyholders could be financially ruined.

As you review the ways that bad faith insurance claims arise that we listed above, we understand that may of those items on the list look like everyday insurance tactics, or tactics you may expect an insurance carrier to use.

It can be challenging to know whether or not an insurance carrier is operating in bad faith or if they are simply handling a claim the way they are allowed under the law. Often, insurance carriers rely on policyholders’ lack of understanding of insurance law to get away with bad faith insurance claims. By working with a skilled bad faith insurance attorney, you will have an advocate who can examine the behavior of the insurance carrier and call out bad faith insurance practices.

What Damages Can I Recover?

There are various types of damages individuals can recover if their Martinsburg bad faith insurance claim is successful. This includes contract damages, extracontractual damages, and possibly even punitive damages.

Contract Damages

These types of losses represent the total amount of the claim that was denied, as well as interest on the unpaid amount. In other words, if you had a contract with an insurance carrier and they failed to pay a legitimate claim, this is considered a breach of contract, and you would be owed contractual damages if your claim is successful. For example, if you had a health insurance claim for $100,000 that was denied by the insurance carrier, the contract claim would be that amount plus a certain amount of interest for the time period the client was not paid.

Extracontractual Damages

These types of losses are not necessarily related to the written contract that was violated by the insurance carrier. Extracontractual damages relate to any type of economic loss, emotional and psychological distress, and attorney fees that you may experience as a result of having to fight the claim to recover the compensation owed to you under the contract.

  • Economic losses include any type of financial damages you incur as a result of the insurance carrier’s bad faith refusal to pay the claim. For example, if you had to take a loan out to pay for medical care or borrow money, you should be able to recover compensation to pay back these expenses.
  • Emotional distress damages for a bad faith insurance claim can refer to any type of compensation to pay for the anxiety, suffering, worry, and fear the bad faith claim denial caused you.

Attorney fees can be recovered to pay back any legal costs you sustained as a result of having to fight the bad faith insurance denial.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages could be paid in the event the conduct of the insurance carrier was fraudulent or malicious. These types of damages are meant to act as a punishment toward the insurance carrier and send a signal to other insurance carriers that this type of bad faith denial is unacceptable.

There is no set amount of compensation paid for bad faith insurance claims in West Virginia. Rather, there are various factors that can influence the overall settlement or jury verdict amount. Some of the factors that can influence how much acclaim is worth include the total value of the original claim that was not paid, how long it has been since the original claim has not been paid, the level of emotional distress you have suffered from, how much you have had to pay to fight the bad faith insurance claim, and the total out-of-pocket losses you have incurred.

Your attorney will work with trusted economic and financial experts when calculating the correct amount to ask for either in a settlement with the insurance company or during a jury trial.

How Long Do I Have to File a Bad Faith Insurance Claim in West Virginia?

It is crucial that you contact an attorney to begin work on your bad faith insurance claim as soon as possible. As soon as you suspect that your insurance carrier is treating you unfairly, you need to let a bad faith insurance lawyer know so that they can look into the incident and get the claim rolling. Under West Virginia law, the deadline for filing bad faith insurance claims is one year after the date the bad faith incident occurred. There may be some wiggle room when it comes to the exact date that bad faith happened, though this will typically be defined as when you reasonably should have known that the insurance carrier was acting in a way that was against the terms of the policy.

Most Common Types of Insurance Bad Faith

Insurance companies have a contractual obligation to handle claims in good faith. Yet insurers may deny, delay or ignore valid claims. Results-oriented legal representation could force your insurer to pay up. Hiring a lawyer whose main focus is this practice area could allow you to take swift action against common types of insurance bad faith.

  1. Delayed payment. If a company ignores your claim, requests unnecessary documentation or excessively delays your case instead of paying promptly, it is bad faith.
  2. Failure to fairly investigate the claim. Denying your claim without properly investigating it or assessing damages and liability is an indication of bad faith.
  3. Insurance agent error. An insurance agent may focus more on getting commission for selling a policy than your best interests. If an agent failed to offer you important coverage, you may have a bad faith claim.
  4. Misrepresentation of policy terms. It is illegal to negligently or intentionally misrepresent the terms of a policy, such as through excessive exclusions or ambiguous language.
  5. Underpayment of claims. Offering a fast but low settlement is a common tactic to save an insurance company money. Do not accept an offer until first consulting an attorney.
  6. Wrongful claim denial. Insurance companies have a reputation for denying claims for any possible reason. Many claim denials depend on illegal exclusions or the company’s vague interpretation of a technicality buried in fine print.

Do not walk away from a valid insurance claim without a fight. Bad faith can significantly impact your ability to recover benefits the company owes you under your policy. If you believe an insurance company is breaching its legal duties of care to you, contact an attorney to discuss a claim against the insurer for acting in bad faith.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

Insurance law requires companies to handle valid claims fairly and reasonably. If your insurer breaches this obligation, legal options are available to you as a policyholder. At Manchin Ferretti Injury Lawy, our lead attorney spent the first decade of his career defending insurance bad faith claims. This experience could be formative for your case. Act quickly to meet the one-year filing deadline in West Virginia. Contact the Martinsburg insurance bad faith attorneys at Manchin Ferretti today.

American Association for Justice Logo
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers Logo
Avvo Rating 10.0 Top Attorney Personal Injury Award
Lead Counsel Rated Logo
Rated by Super Lawyers Logo
West Virginia Association for Justice Logo
The West Virginia State Bar Logo