Insurance Practices, Claims and Coverage Issues

Insurance Industry News

Class Action filed against Unum-Provident for denial of Workers Comp coverage

Columbus, OH - A class action lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court against Unum-Provident Corporation on December 22. Four employees of the Longaberger Company claimed that they were routinely and systematically denied coverage for injuries resulting from on-the-job injuries. Included in the suit was a memo from an employee of the Unum-Provident subsidiary encouraging the agents handling the case to “discourage and limit” expensive tests in order to save the company $14,500. One of the claimants had to wait for four years after her accident to receive the necessary surgery.

Fighting Insurance Claim Denials in Virginia, Maryland & Washington, D.C.

Instances of insurance company misconduct often come up in personal injury or disability cases. When you have an experienced attorney on your side in a personal injury case, you are never at the mercy of your insurance company. Many laws in the District, Maryland and Virginia protect the injured from deceptive or wrongful insurance practices. The attorneys of Lewis & Tompkins can help DC Metro residents exercise their rights to their maximum benefit, ensuring full coverage for damages you have sustained. For help with your insurance claim situation, contact Lewis & Tompkins today.

If you’ve ever had to haggle with your insurance company over property damage to your car or home, then you are probably already familiar with the tactics of the insurance industry. Low balling, delays based on groundless or inaccurate information, attempts to strong-arm claimants into settlements at the low end of their policy limits, or outright denials – these are just a few of the many ways insurance companies of every type brazenly attempt to cut costs and minimize their payouts to policyholders.

Of course, in personal injury cases involving these wrongful practices, the stakes are very different. Cars and homes are replaceable. People aren’t. When insurance companies fail to meet their obligations to those who have suffered personal injuries they insure, in many cases they are effectively denying the basic needs of life to those who trusted in their policies to protect them if tragedy struck.

Insurance companies create ways to wrongfully deny claims and circumvent their responsibilities to policy holders. Because serious injuries rarely happen twice to the same person, most people simply have no basis for comparison when they are dealing with insurance companies in the aftermath of an injury. They are encouraged to believe that the adjustors and agents they are dealing with are objective “experts” who work with these types of claims everyday, and that the settlement offer they are receiving is “standard.”

Most families of the injured don’t know that in many insurance companies, getting pay increases, promotions or even continued employment as an insurance adjuster requires a certain quota of reductions and denials in their files. Usually vulnerable and in the midst of great distress, families of the injured are pressed to make uninformed decisions quickly and without the benefit of an attorney. When they are offered and accept what seem like large sums of money, these families often find that over the long-term, the money they received wasn’t nearly enough.

At Lewis & Tompkins, Holding the Insurance Industry Accountable is our # 1 Priority.

The practiced eyes of a personal injury attorney can prevent injury victims and their families from falling into deceptive or wrongful insurance company practices. At the law offices of Lewis & Tompkins, we conduct reviews of liability insurance policies every day. After determining the general circumstances of an injury, the first document we request from our clients is a copy of their insurance policy. If you haven’t received a settlement offer, we can tell you how much you should expect, and what to do if your insurance company’s offer falls well short of your rights to compensation. If you have received a settlement offer, we’ll tell you if it’s fair or not, and legal steps we can help you take if those steps become necessary.

If They Treat Their Employees This Way, How Will They Treat You?

In January, 2005, State Farm Insurance agreed to pay more than $135 million in a class action settlement to 2600 of the company’s California claims adjusters seeking back overtime pay accumulated over eight years. After arguing for years that their adjusters are salaried or administrative employees, and are exempt from overtime pay laws, insurance companies are finally coming to terms with the need to treat their employees with dignity and respect. Will policy holders pay the price for this?

More Facts about Wrongful Insurance Company Practices

An insurance policy is a legal document. It is a legal contract between your insurance company and you. As with any legal document, there can be disagreement as to the meaning of certain language, words or phrases within your insurance policy. If there is ambiguity about the extent of coverage owed to an injured person, then laws in Virginia, Maryland and DC always lean towards interpretations that favor the injured person’s rights to coverage. For more information, call Lewis & Tompkins today.

Common Examples of Deceptive or Wrongful Insurance Practices:

Delays in payment due to a pending settlement with another insurer: Insurance companies often battle with each other over who owes who. An injured person does not and should not be required to wait for that resolution before receiving an offer for settlement. If you’ve been told your settlement is on hold for this reason, call Lewis & Tompkins today.

Intentional misreading or misconstruing of a policy’s provisions: Under most state laws, it is not permitted for insurance adjusters to “play dumb” by deliberately misreading your policy and offering a settlement that is not in line with your policy. Because they are difficult to document, these “errors” are commonly attempted by insurance agents. If you believe this is happening with your claim, call Lewis & Tompkins today.

Withholding payment of any part of a claim if you refuse to settle on disputed portions of the loss: This “take it or leave it” approach to negotiating your insurance settlement has no place under D.C., Virginia or Maryland law. If you’ve been given this type of ultimatum by your insurance company, call Lewis & Tompkins today.

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