Has your insurance company denied your valid claim, or has it taken an unreasonably long time for your insurance company to pay your valid claim? If so, you may have a legal remedy.
If a court finds that your insurance company unreasonably and vexatiously denied or delayed payment of your claim, Illinois law requires your insurance company to pay a monetary penalty plus your attorneys’ fees incurred in enforcing your rights. Illinois law provides:
“In any action by or against a company wherein there is in issue the liability of a company on a policy or policies of insurance or the amount of the loss payable thereunder, or for an unreasonable delay in settling a claim, and it appears to the court that such action or delay is vexatious and unreasonable, the court may allow as part of the taxable costs in the action reasonable attorney fees, other costs, plus an amount not to exceed any one of the following amounts:
(a) 60% of the amount which the court or jury finds such party is entitled to recover against the company, exclusive of all costs;
(c) the excess of the amount which the court or jury finds such party is entitled to recover, exclusive of costs, over the amount, if any, which the company offered to pay in settlement of the claim prior to the action.”
215 ILCS 5/155(1).
This statute makes it more economically feasible for an individuals to take on a giant insurance company. Nevertheless, claims under the statute are difficult to win. You must prove at least two things. First, you must prove that the insurance company unfairly disputed the amount you should have received or delayed settling your claim. Second, you must prove that the insurance company’s action or delay was unreasonable and vexatious. The second element is the most difficult to prove, and the Courts look to all of the circumstances of the case, including what information was presented to the insurance company, the time and manner in which information was presented, what the company did with that information, what independent steps the insurance company took to evaluate the claim, the insurance company’s attitude and treatment of the policyholder, and whether the policyholder had to bring a lawsuit to enforce his or her rights.
If you feel you have been denied insurance benefits, the attorneys at DeBlasio & Gower can advise you of your rights. To speak with one of our attorneys, call at (630) 560-1123 or visit our website at https://www.dgllc.net
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