Should Consumers be Able to Sue Insurers for Unfair Claim Practices?

Legislation has been suggested that would make it easier for some of Connecticut’s consumers to sue insurers for unfair claim practices – and potentially collect bigger damages. Will this open the floodgates to frivolous litigation?

Commercial litigation in the 21st century is fraught with peril. Made increasingly complex and high-risk by a borderless world economy, businesses can be brought before almost any court at any time; although in an increasingly corporate-friendly United States, the outcome against many accused corporations is not likely to be consumer-friendly, a few sensationalized cases notwithstanding. Since the early Reagan years, rights for individuals have often been abridged or eliminated in the arena of the U.S. court system, while safeguards for companies, especially the largest in operation, are more likely to be upheld. While class action and multi-district litigation cases are at an all-time high, only a select few are actually settled before juries.

All too often, courtroom outcomes seem stacked against the consumer. For instance, a Federal Judge dismissed all claims for damages brought by victims in the August 27, 2006, Comair (Lexington, KY) plane crash, despite evidence to the contrary; in his decision he stated the wrongful death and negligent claims, no matter if proved, were insufficient.

Courts routinely find “good faith – bad faith” legal arguments to be a yardstick designed to exonerate a company from bearing any responsibility in even the most grotesque and blatant instances; insurers typically seek to compound this injustice, if one exists, by reiterating such arguments.

In Connecticut, trial lawyers are lobbying for legislation that would make it easier for consumers rather than insurers in such cases. In that New England state, only the insurance commissioner and attorney general are able to bring an action under CUIPA – the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act. Robert I. Reardon Jr., a New London-based attorney, perceives it this way. “Consumers are tired of big business treating them poorly. People want to be able to assert their rights.”

The insurance industry is anything but eager to let that happen.

Alexandra Reed writes for Connecticut personal injury law firm, Stratton Faxon. Contact Stratton Faxon to speak with a Connecticut accident lawyer about your personal injury, wrongful death, or Connecticut malpractice case. To learn more about Connecticut accident lawyer, Connecticut personal injury, Connecticut malpractice lawyer, visit

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