Virginia bad faith insurance lawyers
What do you do when your insurance company won’t help you?
Car insurance companies tell us that "you’re in good hands" with them, that they are "good neighbors," and "on your side." These marketing slogans are comforting if you’ve been in a car wreck and find yourself overwhelmed with medical bills and lack of income because you can’t work. But are these reassuring phrases always true?
The truth is that insurance companies are businesses, and a business’s goal is to make money.
After a car accident, if your insurance company isn’t dealing with you fairly, call GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys at (804) 413-6777. There is no charge to speak with us, and we’ll give you legal advice for your specific situation. If you need one of our Virginia car accident lawyers to represent you in your claim, it will cost you no upfront fees or out-of-pocket expenses. We only get paid if we win you an award or settlement in your case.
If you need help, call your real neighbors in Eastern Virginia, GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. We try to prevent accidents through community education, but when accidents happen, we’re here for you.
First, a word about insurance policies
An insurance policy is a contract between you, the insured, and the insurance company, the insurer. The legally binding agreement is that if you pay your premiums to the insurance company, it will pay for specified losses you suffer in the future.
For example, you agree to pay your car insurance company $500 a year in premiums. In return, if you are in a car accident, it promises to pay you enough to fix or replace your car, and also to pay up to $20,000 of your medical bills.
Or, if you cause an accident that injures someone else or another car, your insurance company promises to pay the other driver up to $30,000 for his losses (repairs, medical bills, etc.).
What is a bad-faith insurance claim?
Now, suppose you are in an accident. There is $500 of damage to your car. You also suffer injuries that leave you with $10,000 in medical bills. If your insurance company denies your claim for $10,500, it has violated its contract with you.
This violation or "breach" of the agreement you had with your insurance company is called "insurance bad faith."
Insurance bad faith isn’t limited to denial of a claim, though; it can also be diminishing or delaying a claim.
An example of diminishing the claim would be if your insurance company offers to pay you only $250 for the damage to your car, and $5,000 for your medical bills.
Delay would be if your insurance company drags its feet and doesn’t pay for your losses in a reasonable time, causing you more financial and physical distress.
If your insurance company isn’t honoring the contract you have with it, you may have grounds for a bad faith insurance claim. If you win a bad faith claim, the insurance company also will owe you extra money for its dishonest behavior.
Why would an insurance company practice in bad faith?
The business model of an insurance company is similar to a casino’s - it’s about playing the odds. A thousand people visit a casino each day. The average visitor loses around $50. The casino knows that only a handful of gamblers will hit the jackpot and win $500. That’s a nice profit for the casino.
An insurance company collects premiums from thousands of customers, betting that only a few will file large claims. That’s a nice profit too.
But if insurance companies make a nice profit, why would they want to deny, diminish, or delay a legitimate claim? Part of the answer may be found in the incentive programs that many have for their employees. Former insurance industry employees have described how they were rewarded for cutting costs and increasing profits. Claims adjusters may have incentives for reducing the amount paid out for claims.
This is not to say that all insurance companies and all claims adjusters don’t offer fair payouts. Some are better than others. The bottom line is (and Virginia requires) that the insurance company must operate in "good faith" and honor its contract. It cannot deny, diminish, or delay a claim without good reason.
If you’ve had a claim denied, you don’t agree with the payout you’ve been offered, or you’re having trouble getting a payout from your insurance company at all, we can help you.
At GibsonSingleton Injury Attorneys, we don’t hate insurance companies. We know many of the adjusters in our area. Instead of picking fights with them, we gather evidence about our clients’ medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage to build a case. Then, armed with our knowledge of the law and the insurance industry, we work in a smart way to get what our clients need to recover and be made whole.
Of course, sometimes insurance companies don’t want to play fairly.
Don’t worry - talking to us about insurance won’t cost you anything
Insurance companies are typically huge corporations with deep pockets. They employ armies of lawyers to protect their interests. To have a successful bad-faith claim against an insurer, you’ll need your own team of lawyers to fight for the compensation you deserve.
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we have a no-fee guarantee. We get paid by taking a small percent of the settlement we secure on your behalf. If we don’t succeed, you pay nothing. Call us at our Eastern Virginia office, (804) 413-6777, for your free, no-obligation consultation.
It costs you nothing for our firm to represent you. We only get paid when you do. Learn more
Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
John speaks at Gloucester’s Senior Safety Fair, reviewing key legal documents.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.