Insurance Disputes Lawyer

Nix Patterson represents insureds across the country against insurance companies that engage in wrongful conduct. Whether you are a homeowner facing a wrongfully denied claim, a driver with an undervalued loss settlement, or a business owner engaged in a liability coverage dispute, Nix Patterson knows how to hold insurers accountable to the duties they owe you. 

The most common claims insureds bring against their insurers are:

  • Breach of contract—i.e., failing to provide benefits under the policy;
  • “Bad Faith”—i.e., failing to treat the insured in accordance with certain duties; 
  • Negligence in the procurement (or sale) of insurance—i.e., failing to provide insurance as directed or as warranted; and 
  • Fraud. 

These causes of action may subject insurers to liability for damages, including amounts for emotional distress and punitive damages. 

Insurers owe a legal duty to treat insureds fairly and in good faith. This means the insurer must never place its own interests (e.g., profit) above its customers’ interests. This duty obligates insurers to disclose available policy benefits to their insureds, act timely in investigating and paying claims, and pay all benefits owed in a reasonable time. Insurers act in “bad faith” when they breach one or more these duties. 

Consumer Insurance Disputes

Homeowners

Most consumers consider their home to be their most valuable asset. Our homes are vulnerable to an array of perils, including disasters like hurricanes and wildfires, as well as wind, hailstorm, water, fire, and smoke. Many insurance companies market their products under the promise to help their insureds when their home is damaged or destroyed. 

However, some insurance companies look for ways to minimize claim payments and shortchange their insureds, even in their most desperate hour. In our experience, catastrophes like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and wildfires present the ripest opportunities for insurers to minimize their losses at the expense of their insureds. 

Nix Patterson represents insureds from across the country who have been harmed by bad faith insurance practices. These practices include:

  • Denying coverage for a loss covered under the policy
  • Blaming a covered loss on pre-existing damage, settlement, wear and tear, or other non-covered occurrences
  • Manipulating the scope of loss so it falls below the policy deductible
  • Manipulating the scope of loss to minimize claim payments
  • Treating a single loss as multiple occurrences to trigger multiple deductible payments
  • Using software to underprice and underpay repairs or rebuilds
  • Withholding benefits owed under the policy, including additional benefits like general contractors overhead and profit, additional living expenses, and others
  • Refusing to replace clothes and other home contents and instead resorting to chemical cleaning processes, which often do more harm
  • Forcing insureds to produce unreasonable estimates, documentation, or proof of loss
  • Holding insureds to unreasonable rebuild and repair timelines
  • Misrepresenting policy provisions, facts, or law
  • Failing to make a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of claims
  • Failing to communicate clearly, explain and disclose befit owed, itemize payments, etc. 

Some insurers have even used “independent” engineers and contractors to rubber-stamp their denial or underpayment of covered losses. Nix Patterson knows how to fight these “experts” and hold the insurer accountable. 

Underinsurance

All too often, insureds find themselves substantially underinsured following a devastating loss. In many cases, the fact that their insurance coverage fails to pay for the loss is attributable to the insurer. 

While “bad faith” is usually limited to the claims handling process, insurers may also violate duties or the law when they sell or issue insurance to their insureds. Acts for which insureds may recover may include 

  • Recommending an inadequate amount of insurance
  • Failing to perform a thorough inspection of the home before issuing coverage 
  • Using software to calculate replacement cost
  • Recommending illusory (i.e., hollow or false) coverage 

Auto

Similarly, drivers purchase insurance to protect their vehicle and themselves while driving. Insurers look for ways to minimize claim payments to insureds after loss of or damage to an insured vehicle. 

Nix Patterson represents drivers across the country who are harmed by insurers’ bad faith when handling auto insurance claims. These bad acts include the many bad faith practices listed above, as well as the following:

  • Using software (e.g., CCC 1 or Mitchell) to understate the actual cash value of a totaled vehicle;
  • Manipulating “comparable” vehicles to understate the actual cash value of a covered vehicle;
  • Using software to understate the cost of repairs;
  • Taking title to a totaled vehicle prior to settlement;
  • Failing to pay sales tax when sales tax is owed as a policy benefit; and
  • Failing to pay statutory interest on claim amounts paid late.

Commercial Insurance Disputes

Commercial Property

Commercial property insurance is subject to similar bad faith conduct on the part of insurers and carriers, although breach of contract is a more common claim under commercial policies. Nix Patterson has the experience to hold insurers accountable for disputes arising under:

  • Commercial property and business owners policies;
  • Commercial package polices; and
  • Business interruption and time element policies.

Commercial Liability

Commercial liability coverage disputes arise frequently. Commercial liability and excess liability policies can be complex and cumbersome, and there are often multiple insurance companies on a single line or tower of insurance. However, insureds can bring breach of contract claims and sometimes bad faith claims against these insurance companies for failing to provide appropriate coverage.

These commercial policies include general liability insurance, as well as directors and officers (D&O) insurance and errors and omission (E&O) insurance. Insurance companies will sometimes interpret or apply provisions of these complicated policies in unexpected ways to limit their exposure, even when the policy seems to expressly cover the loss at issue.

These policies often include arbitration provisions, which sometimes means the claims cannot be litigated in court but rather through private arbitration. Nix Patterson has handled numerous insurance coverage arbitrations, and our attorneys are intimately familiar with the arbitration process.  

How long do I have to sue my insurer?

If you believe your insurer has breached the policy, acted in bad faith, committed fraud, etc., your ability to bring suit may expire under at least two provisions: 

  1. the statute of limitations under applicable state law; and
  2. any limitations in the policy, provided they do not conflict with state law. 

The statute of limitations is a state law provision that limits the time claimants have to file suit alleging certain wrongs. The time allotted varies from state to state. Therefore, you need to act quickly to preserve your rights. 

CONTACT US

Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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