You should contest the actions of an insurance company when it denies your insurance claim in bad faith. Massachusetts General Laws c. 176D requires insurance companies to deal with your claim fairly and in good faith. If the insurance company breaks the law, we will take the necessary steps to hold them accountable.
The prohibitions set forth in M.G.L. c. 176D, sec. 3(9) were enacted to encourage the settlement of insurance claims … and discourage insurers from forcing claimants into unnecessary litigation to obtain relief.
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93A, §9 allows claimants to file suit under this section for an insurance company’s unfair claim practices under Massachusetts exposure for double or treble damages, attorneys’ fees and related costs. The promotion of reasonable settlement offers is a prime goal of Chapter 93A, §9 and §11 . The conduct proscribed by the statute is as much the failure to make a reasonable settlement offer as it is the substantive violation of Chapter 93A. Multiple damages are the appropriate punishment for forcing plaintiffs to litigate clearly valid claims. The standard is objective and requires the defendant to investigate the facts and consider the legal precedents.
Other provisions in this Statue clearly allow for multiple damages in an attempt by the legislature to promote pre-litigation settlement by making it unprofitable for defendants to either ignore the plaintiff’s requests for relief or to bargain. M.G.L. c. 93A, § 9(3). It should also be noted that the burden is on the defendants to show the reasonableness of any settlement offer made in response to plaintiff’s demand. A settlement offer made which later is determined to be unreasonable will still subject defendants to multiple damage.
In short, where liability is reasonably clear and damages are reasonable calculable, the insurance company is compelled to tender a fair and reasonable settlement offer. Upon presentation of a complete demand, which deals with the issues of liability and damages, insurance companies are required to attempt to settle the claim in good faith. When they fail to negotiate in good faith, a second demand can be served in accordance with M.G.L. c. 176D and 93A. The insurance company will then have thirty days to respond in writing. Their failure to respond with a settlement offer that is fair and reasonable can be grounds to file a separate cause of action against the insurance company for violations of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 176D.
The Chapdelaine Law Office is experienced in holding insurance companies accountable and forcing compliance with Massachusetts insurance laws. Contact us today for a no cost, no obligation review of your claim.