Policy Holders can Legally Hold an Insurance Company Responsible for its Bad-Faith Actions

Policy Holders can Legally Hold an Insurance Company Responsible for its Bad-Faith Actions

Hurricanes are among the most destructive natural calamities in the U.S. These have five different categories, depending on its wind speed; the stronger the wind, the more severe the damage these can cause, and, though no one would want to see the fruits of his/her hard labor damaged or destroyed by anything, when a hurricane strikes, there is no telling what may be affected and how much the damage can be.

Repair or replacement of damaged properties is usually begun after those affected receive the cash benefits from property insurance provider. Insurance firms, on their part, would send independent adjusters to claimants’ homes to assess property damages, sometimes a day or two after the disaster – a time when even property owners will not be able to correctly asses their own losses. Many of these adjusters, however, are new to the job or untrained and already content in making their evaluation of the damages from where they stand on the ground. Thus, it is not surprising that the estimations they come up with are often incorrect: undervalued assessment of damages, which means low amount of financial benefit a property insurance provider will have to pay.

Unknown to policy holders, sending new or untrained adjusters is actually just one of the strategies employed by many insurance firms to save themselves from making big pay-outs. Other insurance providers would even deny claims outrightly, using technical error as the reason for denial of claims. The fact is, this so-called technical error is nothing more than a skipped box or a missed signature.

Insurance providers are legally obliged to provide policy holders genuine commitment or the duty of good faith and fair dealing, especially in paying claims. Under the common law this duty is spoken of as the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” Unfortunately, many providers transact business with dishonesty or fraud at the back of their minds. They enter into an agreement with policy holders with no real intent of living up to the terms of the policy they sell, while others intentionally twist the meaning of what is contained in a policy sold. This fraudulent act is what legal experts call “bad faith,” and there are different tactics employed by insurance firms to commit this act in ways hard to detect, like: failure to investigate a claim promptly and thoroughly, unreasonable denial of claim benefits or delay in the payment of claims, and so forth.

According to Anderson Cooper, the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, tactics employed by insurance firms may be identified as the three “Ds”: delay, deny and defend. Delay the handling of a claim; deny that a claimant is hurt or show that damages are minor; and, defend their decision even in lengthy court battles.

In certain instances, a claims adjuster would offer as little as $50 dollars. This is based on Insurance firms’ training manual’s instruction to pressure claimants until they accept “smaller walk-away settlements.” The sad thing is, many poor people take the offer rather than get nothing at all. Insurance firms bet that victims will neither wait nor sue, but would rather take whatever they can get and walk-away, not realizing that they are walking away from billions of dollars firm are able to keep for themselves.

According to the law firm Smith Kendall, PLLC, “when an insurance company denies or delays payment of a policyholder’s home or commercial property insurance claim when it knew, or should have known, its liability on the claim was reasonably clear, the carrier may have acted in bad faith. State courts know that a special relationship exists between an insurance company and its clients, and the former’s duty of good faith and fair dealing towards all of its clients. In some states, a policyholder may have both common law (i.e., law created by cases) and statutory (i.e., law from statutes or regulations) bad faith claims.

An experienced and aggressive attorney may be able to help you navigate this challenging area of the law and make sure that the insurance company is held responsible for its bad-faith actions.”

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a Repetitive Motion Injury

If your occupation requires repetitive hand motions, awkward hand positions, strong gripping, vibration, or mechanical stress on the palm, you may be susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome. Common occupations associated with carpal tunnel include: mechanic, assembly-line worker, janitor, tailor and carpenter. According to Mayo Clinic, the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway, located on the palm side of your wrist, which protects a main nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by that nerve being pinched, which causes numbness and tingling in the hand and arm. While the condition can be caused by a variety of factors, such as the anatomy of your wrist and underlying health problems, it can also be a result of repetitive patterns of hand use, as in the occupations we described above. This is what makes carpal tunnel syndrome a repetitive motion injury.

Repetitive motion injuries, also called repetitive stress injuries, are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments or tendons caused by doing to same motion over and over. Repetitive motion injuries are common in the workplace. Because they usually form over time, after many repetitions of a motion, it is hard to pinpoint exactly how and when the injury occurred. In spite of this, it is still important to treat these injuries just like any other workplace injury.

According to Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group, employees who are injured while working are typically required to notify their employers of their injury. Injured employees should also seek medical treatment for their injury, so they can get the treatment needed for a full recovery. The treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries will usually involve some sort of rehabilitation. According to the website for Johns Hopkins Medicine, rehabilitation programs may include occupational therapy, exercise programs, heat or cold applications, the use of braces or splints and pain management techniques. If you suspect that you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, talk to your employer and seek medical attention.