Disputed Insurance Claim? What You Need to Know When Suing an Insurance Company

Posted Dec 13, 2019.


Having the right insurance is vital to cover you, your family or your business should an unforeseen event result in a claim on the policy. However, sometimes your insurance company may dispute your right to make a claim or may completely reject your claim, even if you are in the right.

Unfortunately, over the past couple of years, our specialist Insurance Claims Team at Bakers Solicitors have dealt with an increasing number of legitimate claims that have been rejected; is this has happened to you, what happens next?

How Soon Do You Need To Act?

Making a claim (also known as the litigation process) for breach of contract usually must be made within 6 years from the accrual of the cause of the litigation, usually 6 years since the contract was breached but sometimes the exact time-frames are hard to pin down. If your claim is against a liability insurer (who cover injuries and/or damage to people and property), the 6 year period starts from when liability is ascertained. With most other types of insurance such as life or medical, the 6 year period starts from when the event occurred.

What Courts Allow Insurance Litigation Claims?

Insurance dispute claims in England and Wales may be litigated in the following courts:

  • County courts
  • High Courts
  • the Court of Appeal
  • UK Supreme Court

The court that hears the claim will depend on the value of the claim. Claims with a value of more than £100,000 are generally issued in the High Court. Claims involving more complex, technical aspects of insurance law are often heard at the Commercial Court, where judges have far more experience specific to insurance disputes. Before any litigation starts, courts in England and Wales will also usually encourage (including through the threat of financial costs penalties) the parties to pursue alternative dispute resolution such as mediation.

Important Factors To Consider When Starting Litigation  

  • Pre-action steps such as protocol compliance and mediation: usually straightforward for insurance claims, but always check to make sure you are not penalised later. The court will certainly want to see evidence that the parties have first attempted mediation;
  • Limitation: you must make sure the claim is within the relevant limitation period ( usually 6 years for insurance dispute claims)
  • Choice of law: this will mainly be dictated by the policy wording to ensure that the chosen law is provided for, and under which law.
  • Costs and Time considerations: It is likely that costs involved in bringing a claim will be front-loaded, with 12 months being a typical timescale from the date the claim commences to any potential trial.  The winning party is usually able to redeem most of their costs from the other side following a successful conclusion (i.e.: winning the claim).
  • Mitigation: the party seeking to prove they have suffered a loss is under a duty to mitigate this loss. If this is not done, then any compensation awarded may be reduced as a result.

Compensation and Damages

The policyholder making a claim is likely to be seeking a full and timely indemnity as allowed for by the policy. The Enterprise Act 2016 introduced a change from the historical treatment of late payment, via an implied term in insurance contracts whereby insurers must pay sums ‘within a reasonable time’ Any breach of this implied term will give rise to a claim for damages. The insured must bring a claim for late payment within one year of payment by the insurer.

Are You In A Claims Dispute With Your Insurer? Contact Bakers Today

 

At Bakers Solicitors, disputed and rejected insurance claims and insurance dispute cases are dealt with on a no win, no fee basis. There are no upfront or unexpected costs, so if you feel you have been treated unfairly by an insurance company, please contact us today for straightforward and professional assistance. You can contact us by email, arrange a free consultation online or ring us on FREE on 0800 731 7284.