In a published opinion, the Kentucky Supreme Court recently affirmed the entry of summary judgment in favor of an insurer on a bad-faith claim. In Hollaway v. Direct Gen. Ins. Co. of Mississippi, Inc., 497 S.W.3d 733 (Ky. 2016), a third-party bad-faith claim arose out of a low-speed, parking lot automobile accident. Id. The facts concerning which driver was at fault and whether the accident caused Plaintiff's injuries were contested. Id at 734. Plaintiff Hollaway brought a personal injury claim against the driver of the other involved vehicle, along with an underinsured motorist claim against her insurer and a bad-faith claim against Direct General. Id. at 735. Direct General settled Hollaway's property damage claim for approximately $460 and her personal injury claim for $22,500. Id. Hollaway had originally demanded $125,000 to resolve her personal injury claim, and proceeded with her bad-faith claim notwithstanding the settlement. Id.
Insurance law covers a wide scope of various legal practices and processes, and attorneys who are experienced in one area of this niche might not have a background or desire to take cases on in a different area. When you're looking for a lawyer to help with insurance matters, it's important to understand what some of the areas of the law are so you can appropriately choose a professional to work with.
The term bad faith can be applied on either side of the insurance claims process. First, a policy holder can make a bad faith claim -- claiming damages that aren't really there or weren't caused by the events as stated in a claim. Second, an insurance company can practice bad faith by not providing payment appropriately and in a timely manner on a good claim or by treating policy holders with business neglect.
Insurance companies are often sued when someone claims that an individual insured acted in a negligent fashion and those actions led to injury or damage for a third party. In most cases that don't involve on-the-job injuries, a claim of negligence usually has to come with evidence for it to be successful. As an insurance company, you want someone who will help show that evidence in a case does not warrant a decision that an accident or injury was your injured's fault.
Insurance companies are meant to give citizens and/or businesses that peace of mind that "if" a tragedy or unfortunate incident happens, they will not be devastated or totally wiped out by the costs. There are numerous types of insurance companies that cover almost anything an individual desires to insure, right down to their jewelry. There is auto insurance, home insurance, appliance insurance, life insurance, medical insurance and even pet insurance.
If you follow business and insurance news, then you may have seen recent headlines about the claims against Lumber Liquidators. Customers were unhappy to learn that high levels of formaldehyde were found in the company's laminate flooring products, which were sourced from China.
With the inclusion of a "consent to settle" clause in an insurance policy, you as an insurer can require the insured to obtain written consent from you before settling a legal claim related to the policy. You can also include a "no action" clause that shields you from legal action from the insured party in the event that the party doesn't fully comply with the terms of the policy.
Meritless bad faith claims against insurance companies can drive up costs for other people who need the protection of a good insurance policy. It is in the best interests of insurers and policyholders to resolve these disputes in the most cost-efficient way possible.
Pierce W. Hamblin has been with Landrum & Shouse for 37 years now, and we are proud to announce that he is the focus of a recent attorney profile in Super Lawyers. The article offers much to recommend our partner and litigator, including descriptions of his work on insurance cases.
Insurance law is extremely complex, and insurance companies benefit a great deal from having experienced legal counsel to resolve coverage disputes and defend against a wide variety of tort liability claims. Attorneys at Landrum & Shouse LLP have long represented insurers throughout Kentucky in a range of matters related to tort liability, including claims of bad faith.