Printer Friendly

Assess the potential for success in bad-faith cases.

Bad-faith claims are often defended vigorously and are costly to pursue. Before you commit to what may be a lengthy fight for justice, ask yourself the following questions.

What is the personal plight of the insured plaintiff? Will his or her story resonate with jurors?

What is the amount of the contract claim? Does the fact that the plaintiff has been deprived of that sum justify a significant emotional distress award?

What amount of compensatory damages is likely to be awarded for economic loss, emotional distress, and attorney fees? The greater that amount, the greater the potential for punitive damages, especially in states that cap punitive damages at three times the compensatory award.

How long has the insured been a policyholder? Jurors expect insurers to give long-standing insureds the benefit of the doubt and will be more likely to punish companies that don't.

What is the length of time between the claim and compensation? A lengthy period of denial bolsters your argument that claims personnel are taught to hold on to the insurer's money for as long as possible to maximize profits.

How do people perceive the insurance company? Slogans such as "good hands," "good neighbor," and "piece of the rock" give the impression that the insurer can be trusted, but jurors may perceive the slogans simply as marketing tools rather than standards of care that the company promises to meet.

Guy O. Kornblum

San Francisco
COPYRIGHT 2005 American Association for Justice
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Kornblum, Guy O.
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Previous Article:Preserve black-box data.
Next Article:Don't neglect damages at trial.

Related Articles
Assigned policy rights can increase compensation.
Preparing the first-party bad faith case.
Pre-suit considerations.
Arizona Supreme Court says State Farm can't use lowball and delay tactics.
Insurance bad faith claims are not preempted.
Utah high court reinstates punitive award for State Farm's `egregious' misconduct.
Overcoming the `genuine-issue' rule in bad-faith cases; insurers are working to expand the ways they can win summary judgment. Learn how to defeat...
Defensive moves: assessing whether to try or settle a bad faith lawsuit involves many factors with much at stake for various parties.
Economic loss not necessary to prove emotional distress.
Insurers must comply with broad discovery requests, judge rules.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters