Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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Life insurance companies are often accused of wrongfully denying or delaying accidental death insurance claims – even though they know their beneficiaries deserve better. A recent MetLife insurance case is an example of how insurance companies will stretch the limit to avoid paying out valid benefits.

Denying Accidental Death Insurance Benefits

Insurance companies who deny or delay valid life insurance benefits are acting in bad faith. Recent case in point – Met Life. Todd Pierce, a 40 year old husband and father of two, worked as a mechanic for a power plant in Montana. He was diagnosed with skin cancer in his nasal cavity in 1999 and underwent treatment. Two years later, he was cancer-free. Although he had to undergo about 40 surgeries over the next eight years to rebuild his jaw, he had a positive attitude and was glad to be alive. Then, tragedy hit.

On his way back from a family reunion, Todd died when his car went off the road, crashed and caught fire. Police reports listed the crash as an accident and his wife Jane, already grief stricken, submitted a claim on the couple’s MetLife accidental death insurance policy for $225,000. Much to her surprise, her claim was denied because MetLife said that Todd committed suicide – something that was inconceivable to his family, friends and doctors. After years of fighting back and forth with MetLife, Jane simply had enough and filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit against MetLife. Her case never went to trial. MetLife quickly paid her the full amount due. So, why did it take a lawsuit to make things right?

Insurers “Test The Waters” In Hopes You Won’t Fight Back

Although it may sound like child’s play, bad faith insurance lawyers say that insurance companies often “test the waters” when it comes to paying valid benefits – sometimes holding back payments even after the claim has been approved in order to earn more interest for themselves. Even though insurers know that their beneficiaries deserve better, in some instances, they take it upon themselves to act like banks and will send beneficiaries checkbooks to access the money instead of paying out lump sums – again, hoping that nobody fights back.

Well, you do deserve better and you can fight back. Contact an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer to discuss your situation and determine whether filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit is in your family’s best interests.