New Jersey Insurance Coverage Lawyers
When you or your organization purchase insurance, you rely on that insurance to be available when it is needed. Insurance policies are complex documents that are too often open to interpretation, especially after a claim has been filed. Individuals and businesses that rely on the promise of insurance coverage can be at an extreme disadvantage when the company that drafted the agreement hedges on its contractual duty.
Insurance companies balk at paying out claims every day. They often try to blame the policy, saying the claimant’s issue is not really covered. This puts honest people at a great disadvantage, whether you are an individual dealing with a claim or a business.
When an insurance company goes against their own policy and fails to adhere to the contractual agreement, you may have legal recourse against them. Our lawyers represent individuals, corporations, and government sectors in disputes with insurance companies.
Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of New Jersey’s statutes and regulations relating to the duty to defend, claims handling, claims discovery, policy form approval, bad faith, New Jersey’s Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, and other coverage issues. Our firm has substantial experience litigating coverage disputes involving a variety of insurance policies. Above all, our goal is to help our clients get the coverage they need and deserve.
Commercial Property Insurance Claims
Business owners have lots to worry about. Many business owners do not want to think about catastrophic losses, such as a tornado destroying their building. A lot of business owners acquire their insurance and then hope they never have to use it for such a devastating situation.
When that situation does happen, the business owner focuses on getting the company open again. This puts them at a disadvantage when dealing with their insurance company because the insurance company does not really want to pay out their claim. Despite paying your premium month after month, the insurance company wants to keep that money.
If your business has a commercial property loss, you could be in a difficult spot. Settling a commercial property insurance claim is a complex process that requires full attention and aggressive negotiation. Since you are trying to get your business back up and running, you will not have the time to focus on getting a fair settlement to help you recover.
What normally happens in these situations is that the insurance company takes advantage of you. The insurance company works hard to settle your claim for less than it is worth because they know your focus is on getting your business back to normal. Your business then suffers because you are having to pay additional amounts to cover the losses your insurance company did not cover.
Errors and Omissions
An errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy can cover losses from legal issues arising from alleged negligence on your part. Also called a professional liability policy, a customer or client could allege that your services were substandard and that you caused them harm. It does not matter if you did everything right, you still need to defend yourself against the allegations.
An E&O policy would cover lawyer fees, judgments, settlements, and court costs. Even a claim that ends up being dismissed will still cost your company both time and money. However, your insurance provider may not be so eager to cover eligible fees under your policy. The insurance company wants to make as much money as they can, and if they pay out the full value of your claim or the coverages you are due, that will cut into their profits.
To help you overcome this, you may need to enlist the services of a trusted and proactive lawyer who can review your professional liability policy and ensure the insurance company is paying out what they owe. Many times, insurance companies will try to settle your claim for much less than it is worth, leaving you to shoulder the financial burden, even though your policy should have covered the relevant costs.
Not every insurance company engages in these tactics. Bad faith occurs when an insurance fails to uphold its end of the bargain. Your insurance policy is a contract with the insurance company. You pay your premiums, and the insurance company provides you coverage. However, not all insurance companies readily adhere to this practice and often act in bad faith. Sometimes, clients do not even know their insurance company is doing something wrong or illegal.
Common examples of insurance company bad faith tactics include:
- Denying your claim without providing you a reason.
- Denying your claim without conducting a prompt, thorough, and complete investigation.
- Lying to you about the law.
- Lying to you about what is in your insurance policy.
- Causing an unreasonable delay in paying out your approved claim.
- Failing to pay out your approved claim.
- Causing an unreasonable delay in denying or approving your claim.
- Threatening statements.
If you have experienced any of these situations after filing a claim with your insurance company, you could be the victim of bad faith insurance practices. When your insurance company acts this way, not only does it put you at a disadvantage by having to deal with unnecessary issues, but also it can have a negative financial impact on your life. You could end up paying out of your own pocket to cover items that should have been covered by your insurance policy.
Vast Experience Managing Insurance Coverage Disputes
Besides the situations above, we also serve our clients in many other areas. Our goal is to ensure every person is receiving the benefits for which they are entitled under their insurance policy. The other areas we serve include:
- Fiduciary liability
- Public officials and employment liability
- Premises liability
- Theft travel
Representation of Public Entities in Insurance Disputes
Public entities have retained our lawyers as special counsel in insurance matters involving public officials and employment liability policies, commercial general liability, and environmental coverage policies. We have extensive knowledge of the insurance programs offered by New Jersey’s Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund (MEL) and the Plan of Risk Management of the Joint Insurance Funds, as well as the commercial markets that service public entities.
In a noteworthy case, one of our lawyers acting as special insurance counsel secured a substantial liability award for a municipality originally denied insurance benefits. A panel of arbitrators determined the insurer had improperly denied coverage under a Public Officials and Employment Liability policy. A later ruling awarded the municipality consequential damages, including prejudgment interest and legal fees. In another case, following an extensive legal fee application hearing, one of our lawyers secured an arbitration award in excess of $2.2 million. In a separate arbitration, another of our lawyers obtained a ruling favorable to our government entity client that a sublimit was void and unenforceable as against public policy as a matter of law.
You pay your insurance premiums every month. You expect your insurance company to stand by you and help you get through your difficult time. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. When an insurance dispute arises, our New Jersey insurance lawyers at Herold Law can help. We will fight to secure the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 908-647-1022 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Warren, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the state.