You may have to hire a bad faith insurance lawyer when fighting a claim makes you look like the criminal.
A few months after submitting our new inventory count that included all the items our insurance company failed to list but were in their possession, we received a distressing email, from our insurance company’s lawyer. The letter stated we were in breach of a statutory condition of the Insurance Act. Basically, they were accusing us of fraud for listing the additional items that the insurance company had failed to account for. Our public adjuster, assured us that this was just another bad faith insurance tactic to stall and delay. Nonetheless, it was very alarming to be accused of being criminals. We were 17 months into our claim now and had only received the one time low payment (a few thousand dollars) to replace some articles We were moving into winter again and didn’t even have suitable clothing. We had borrowed so much money already awaiting the settlement to close. We were directed by our public adjuster to a well known bad faith insurance lawyer in Toronto.
When we hired the public adjustment firm, we were told that they had an entire legal team as well. We were lead to believe that a lawyer was part of the service, only to now learn it was an additional service we had to pay for. We had no choice but to hire a lawyer. The insurance company was accusing us of a criminal offence and would not speak to us anymore. They would only allow their lawyer speak to our lawyer.
When my husband, Dave and I arrived to the lawyers office we were directed into a meeting room by an assistant. We couldn’t believe what was before our eyes! There on the wall, hung a very large, matted and framed newspaper article. Our new lawyer had previously and successfully sued our insurance company for one of the largest cases in Canadian history for a bad faith claim…against our insurance company! It was like a dream. Too good to be true.
The lawyer and his partner told us we were “good people who didn’t deserve this, especially with a new baby.” They said that this insurance company were “repeat offenders and they were going to make them pay for what they were doing to our family.” They too assured us not to worry and that this was just a typical bad faith tactic used by insurance companies. It was just another way to cause stress and another attempt to make us walk away. The lawyers said they would be filing a claim for bad faith including emotional and financial stress. They told us that we could represent ourselves with the public adjustment firm at the appraisal hearings to save costs. They told us that if all they had to do was make a few phone calls and the insurance company settled, that the fee would be a few thousand dollars but if the case went to trial it would be 20% of the settlement. They told us to be prepared for three to five years in litigation. We left the meeting feeling confident that with our new bad faith insurance lawyer, justice would eventually prevail.