Insurance Dispute Lawyers in Merrillville & Valparaiso
Has Your Insurance Claim Been Denied? Don’t Fight The Insurance Company Alone.
We Stand By Your Side During Insurance Disputes
Have you submitted a perfectly legitimate claim but the insurance company is taking an unreasonably long time to settle, or has denied your claim outright?
If you or a loved one has been in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance company who refuses to compensate you for your losses.
During this time, it’s entirely natural and justifiable to feel frustrated, angry, even betrayed. Year after year you faithfully paid your premiums. You were given peace of mind in knowing that if an unexpected incident occurred, coverage would be there for you. Unfortunately, your insurer broke their promise and left you to pick up the pieces of your life alone without any financial assistance.
If Your Insurance Company Won’t Protect You, We Will
The harsh reality is that insurance companies increase their wealth by minimizing their payouts to you. Their strength and power makes it very difficult for you to fight for your rights on your own. That’s why it’s so important to have top notch legal representation to protect your rights. At the Sarkisian Law Offices, you will have veteran attorneys by your side who won’t back down from a fight with the insurance company.
Our number one priority is to hold the insurer accountable for any wrongdoing in handling your claim; and to make sure you are fully compensated for any damages or losses you have incurred.
Our attorneys have handled disputed personal injury claims for over 25 years throughout Northwestern Indiana and Illinois. We’ve heard every possible excuse an insurance company can give for delaying, denying or undervaluing a claim.
Schedule a Free consultation with us today (219) 942-7171 Let us review your policy and take a look at the insurance company’s reasons for rejecting your claim. If the insurer has acted in “bad faith” we will take immediate action and file a complaint to recover the maximum amount of financial restitution possible.
Watch Out For “Delay, Deny, Defend” Tactics Used By Insurance Companies
Insurance companies utilize a variety of tactics to minimize what you can monetarily recover. They will delay the claims process for as long as possible in an effort to get you to reach your breaking point and settle for a paltry reward. If they’re unsuccessful at getting you to settle, they will underpay the cost of your claim.
Often, they will make frivolous and unreasonable arguments to support their denial. Examples of such arguments include:
“You’re not as hurt as you say you are”
“You were partly to blame for the incident and contributed to your own injury”
“You knew the danger involved so you assumed the risk”
“Since your accident you’ve had a gap of treatment, so you must be healed”
“You lied on your claim…first you said your left shoulder hurt, now it’s your right shoulder”
If My Insurance Company Denies My Claim, What Are My Rights?
Indiana law states that insurance companies owe a legal duty to act in “good faith and fair dealing” to every policyholder they insure. If you have reason to believe that the insurer did not exercise good faith and fair dealing when handling your claim, you have the right to file a civil action against the insurer. Not only can you accuse them of “breach of contract” you may also file a tort claim, seeking damages for bad faith on the part of the insurance company.
Grounds For Legal Action Against Insurance Company: Breach of Contract and Bad Faith
Breach of Contract. When you purchase an insurance policy, you enter
into a contract with the insurer. If your insurer breaches that contract by failing to do what it is contractually obligated to do — pay valid claims after a qualifying loss, than you have grounds for a breach of contract lawsuit. If the insurer is found guilty, you will be compensated for the value of your injury claim.
Bad Faith. An insurance company engages in bad faith when it fails its duty to treat the insured in a reasonable and fair manner. If it is established that the insurance company failed to investigate your injury claim or purposefully denied a valid claim, then they have acted in Bad Faith.
Your award may include “extra-contractual” damages, meaning you would receive compensation above the coverage limits of your policy. In addition, if the insurance company is found to be liable for intentionally causing emotional distress or committing fraud, you may be awarded substantial punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the insurer for their bad conduct.
If you prevail in your case, our attorney’s fees and costs are paid for by the insurance company.
Proof Your Insurer Acted in Bad Faith
Insurance company tactics that may serve as grounds for a bad faith claim include:
- Delaying payment of a valid claim
- Refusing to pay a valid claim
- Denying a claim without giving a reason
- Failing to conduct an adequate investigation of a claim
- Deliberately and unreasonably undervaluing claims/losses; offering substantially lower reward than what is specified in policy
- Delaying payment until statute of limitations is up
- Deliberate or deceptive interpretation of policy language to thwart recovery under the policy
- Failing to provide a written explanation as to why claim was denied
- Asking you to fill out unnecessary paperwork to delay payment of your claim
- Dragging out an investigation using multiple adjusters and experts
- Unreasonably terminating your policy
Has The Insurance Company Succeeded In Selling You These Excuses?
The following is a list of common excuses used by insurance adjusters to evade responsibility for paying your claim. Do any of these sound familiar?
Excuse No. 1: “Even though there are witnesses who say you did nothing wrong, we have a paid expert who will testify against you and say you were negligent in causing the incident which resulted in your injuries.”
Excuse No. 2: “No independent witness saw what happened so we are not going to believe your side of the story.”
Excuse No. 3: “Even though the doctors and therapists treating you have verified the serious nature of your injuries, we have paid one of our doctors to review your medical records and examine you in this case. He will testify that your injuries aren’t as serious as your doctors think.”
Excuse No. 4: “We have paid one of our doctors to review your medical records and examine you in this case. He will testify that your injuries were caused by something other than the incident in which you were involved.”
Excuse No. 5: “We have paid one of our doctors to review your medical records and examine you in this case. He will testify that you were not injured in the incident. Your problems were caused by the natural aging process.”
Excuse No. 6: “We have paid one of our doctors to review your medical records and examine you in this case. He will testify that you had a pre-existing problem and the incident had nothing to do with the problems you’re having now.”
Excuse No. 7: “You stayed off of work too long. We have paid one of our doctors to review your medical records and examine you in this case. He will testify that you could have returned to work sooner than you did.”
Excuse No. 8: “Your fractures have healed and we will not compensate you for the arthritis which has formed because, sooner or later, most people get arthritis.”
Contesting Personal Injury Claim Denials
Sarkisian Law Offices understands how serious the consequences can be for you and your family when an insurer breaches the contract or commits bad faith. That’s why we won’t accept the excuses they give to not pay you what you deserve.
No matter the injury or accident — whether you seriously hurt your back in a motor
vehicle crash, hit your head in a slip and fall accident in a grocery store, or lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, we will fight to make sure you recover your losses.
The personal injury attorneys at Sarkisian Law Offices handle claim disputes resulting from the following types of accidents:
- Steel Mill/Factory
- Slip, Trip, and Fall
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Wrongful Death
- Medical Malpractice
- Products Liability
- Premises Liability
My Auto Claim Was Denied, Now What?
Indiana is a “fault” insurance state, which means liability is determined based on who was at-fault. If you were the injured party or suffered vehicle damages, you can file a claim under your own insurance policy (“first-party claim”), pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy, (“third-party claim”) and/or file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Indiana uses a modified comparative rule to assign fault in an accident. This means that if you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault, you cannot recover damages. However, if you are 50 percent or less at fault, you can still recover, but the recovery would be reduced by the degree of your accountability.
If another driver was at fault and does not have insurance or is underinsured, you could seek protection under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if you have it. This would also apply if you were the victim of a hit and run.
As your attorneys, we will go over your insurance policy and the denial letter you received with a fine tooth comb to develop the best strategy to recover your losses. We will assess the harm you have suffered, identify any acts of bad faith, determine available insurance coverages and submit a demand to either the at-fault party’s insurance company, your own insurer or the at-fault party themselves.
After having conducted our own thorough investigation of your claim, we will present evidence to support our appeal. If negotiations fail to produce a just settlement offer, we can take the case to court. Although, keep in mind roughly 98 percent of cases are settled out of court.
Under Indiana law, you typically must settle an auto accident claim or file a lawsuit within two years from the date of a crash.
What Can I Do If My Workers Compensation Was Denied?
If you have reported a work injury and received a letter that states that your claim is delayed or denied, that is not the end of the process. You have a right to dispute that decision with the employer’s insurer, the workers’ compensation board or even in court.
Here are some reasons you may want to consider a dispute:
- You were denied benefits due to a pre-existing condition
- You did not receive proper test to get an accurate diagnosis of your injury
- The company approved doctor was not qualified to treat your specific illness or injury.
- Your benefits were calculated based on a lower wage than you actually earn.
- The insurer refuses to recognize certain aspects of your injury
- You are not receiving your temporary or permanent disability checks (to make up for lost wages), or they are being paid sporadically
- You are forced to go back to work before you have recovered sufficiently.
- You are permanently disabled but your evaluation for permanent disability resulted in very low, or a zero, impairment rating.
If your work accident happens due to the fault of another company or person employed by another company, you may file a lawsuit for damages. This lawsuit would be in addition to your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. For example, while working on a construction site you fall and hurt yourself. You work for a sub-contractor but the general contractor is responsible for on site safety. If you did not have proper safety equipment such as a harness at the time of the fall, you could sue the general contractor.
Workers’ compensation claims are handled by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana, while third-party lawsuits are dealt with by civil courts. If a workers’ compensation claim cannot be resolved, the claim will be decided by a member of the Board. However, if a third-party lawsuit cannot be settled out of court, the outcome will be decided by a jury.
You have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim with the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board.
Can I Sue For Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death?
Medical malpractice lawsuits in Indiana are controlled by the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act. Under the Act, medical malpractice claims must be reviewed by a medical review panel made up of three doctors before the claim can be filed in court.
The panel will vote on two issues: was there deviation in the standard of care? and was deviation a factor in the resulting damages? The negligent party could be a doctor, a nurse, member of a hospital staff, someone at a nursing home, EMT, etc.
The attorneys at Sarkisian Law have have proven medical negligence in a variety of malpractice cases due to:
- Inaccurate diagnosis
- Treatment not performed in time
- Medical device malfunction
- Improper medication prescribed
- Surgical error made
By pursing legal action you may be able to recover compensation as well as other costs such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If your insurance claim has been denied, contact the Sarkisian Law Firm to get immediate help (219) 942-7171 Our highly skilled attorneys are well equipped to handle disputes with insurance companies. Let us review your denial and develop a strategy for appeal. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.