Meeting with Bad Faith Insurance LawyerWhen you purchase any type of insurance policy in Illinois, you’re paying for financial protection and security.  In exchange, the insurance company agrees to compensate you per the terms of your policy in the event of a catastrophic event like a fire, death, disability, or car accident. You sleep easy at night knowing your family’s financial future is safe.

But what happens if your insurance company doesn’t hold up their end of the contract? What if they deny your claim outright—and you’re left to pick up the pieces financially?

Sometimes, an insurance company breaks the law when it denies a claim and refuses to pay benefits. In Illinois, insurers must uphold their duty of good faith and fair dealing according to the Illinois Insurance Code (215 ILCS 5). To summarize, an insurance company must put the interests of its policyholders above its own. When the insurer puts its interests first and therefore breaches this duty, it may be acting in bad faith.

If an insurance company acts in bad faith, you may have a claim against them. On this page, we discuss everything you need to know about these lawsuits. Keep reading to learn more about:

  • How insurance works in Illinois.
  • What is a bad faith insurance claim?
  • The difference between first-party and third-party bad faith insurance claims.
  • Types of compensation you can receive from an Illinois bad faith insurance lawsuit.
  • How long you have to file a lawsuit to hold your insurer accountable.

Need a Lawyer Who Sues Insurance Companies? We'll Step Up to the Plate

If you believe an insurance company is putting their interests before yours, our bad faith insurance lawyers can help you hold them accountable. Contact Shannon Law Group, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us 24/7/365 at (312) 578-9501 or fill out the form below to get started.

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Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys

How Insurance Works in Illinois

Americans pay insurance premiums every year to protect themselves if they’re suddenly disabled at work or hit by an uninsured motorist. In the United States, the insurance industry is a trillion-dollar giant. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the total net premiums written totaled $1.32 trillion in 2019.

Illinois Insurance ClaimsAn insurance company’s job is similar to a bank's. It collects premiums, holds them, and then distributes payment fairly and quickly to claimants who suffer covered losses. Most of the time, it works. As mentioned earlier, insurance companies have a duty of “good faith” when handling insurance claims. They must treat their policyholders reasonably and fairly. Because of this duty, insurers are obligated to investigate claims and consider equally reasons to pay and deny claims based on the evidence.

But insurance companies are corporations. Their top priority is to make more money than they pay out in claims. As bad faith insurance attorneys, we’ve seen several insurers deny claims and delay settlement, only to expose their insured’s personal assets down the road.

When this happens, insurance companies may be acting in “bad faith.” The policyholder may have a right to file a lawsuit against their insurer for compensation. We discuss the acts of bad faith to watch out for in the next section.

In Illinois, bad faith claims can happen under any type of insurance coverage, including:

  • Auto insurance. Your auto insurance policy protects you from losing everything if you cause an accident or your car is stolen. You can buy several types of car insurance coverage under your policy, including liability, collision, comprehensive, and medical coverages. Illinois law requires that drivers purchase at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $20,000 in property damage coverage per collision. Drivers must also purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage for $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
  • Disability insurance. People purchase disability insurance to help pay the bills if they’re sick or injured and unable to work. Average disability insurance policies replace between 50 and 60 percent of your income. There are two types of disability insurance:
    • Short-term disability: These policies typically kick in two weeks after a qualifying illness or injury. It pays for a portion of your income for a few months to a year.
    • Long-term disability: This coverage begins after a 90-day waiting period. It can supplement part of your income for months, years, or until retirement.
  • Health insurance. Health insurance policies offer peace of mind when a medical emergency strikes. Most policies cover the necessary treatment and medication your family needs to stay healthy. Once you hit your health plan’s deductible in a year, your insurance company will start paying on your behalf.
  • Homeowners insurance. This type of coverage protects your financial assets in the event of a natural disaster, fire, theft, or personal injury on your property. You may be required to purchase specific coverages depending on where you live. For example, you may be required to purchase flood insurance if your home is located close to a river.
  • Life insurance. If your family depends on you financially, you may consider purchasing a life insurance policy. Let’s say you passed away with a life insurance policy in force. Your family could claim your policy’s death benefit, which helps pay for future expenses like college tuition.
  • Small business insurance. This type of insurance helps protect small businesses from unexpected costs and liabilities. Entrepreneurs in Illinois often purchase general liability, property, auto, and life insurance policies to keep their business safe.
  • Renter’s insurance. If you rent, having renter’s insurance is a must. It protects your personal belongings in the event of a natural disaster or burglary.

What Are Bad Faith Insurance Claims?

Completing Insurance Claim FormBad faith insurance claims arise when an insurance company breaks its promise to act in a “duty of good faith.” As a result, the policyholder can pursue compensation from the insurance company for acting in “bad faith.” In Illinois, only the insured or an assignee has a cause of action against an insurance company.

Bad faith claims do not discriminate. They can happen under any type of insurance policy, including auto, disability, and health insurance.

There are two types of bad faith insurance claims you should know about: first-party and third-party claims. Keep reading to learn more.

Understanding First-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims

First-Party insurance claimOnly policyholders can bring first-party claims against an insurance company.

So, how do you know if an insurance company acted in bad faith?

First, per Section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code, your insurer must have done one of the following:

  • The insurance company disputed the amount of loss payable on a claim.
  • The insurer delayed settling a claim.
  • The insurance company refused to provide coverage.
  • The insurer failed to properly communicate with you.

Second, the insurance company’s action or delay must have been “unreasonable or vexatious.”

What’s “unreasonable or vexatious” conduct in the eyes of Illinois law? It has to meet three conditions

  1. There was no dispute regarding the insurance coverage;
  2. An insurance company refused to evaluate, investigate, or discuss a claim; and
  3. The insurance company’s attitude toward its insured was “irritating, exasperating, and provoking.”

If both criteria apply to your situation, you may have a bad faith claim in Illinois.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the types of compensation available to you in first-party claims.

If you have any questions, we’re happy to speak with you. Fill out the form at the bottom of this page to get started.

How Third-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims Work

Bad Faith LawsuitThird-party bad faith insurance claims happen when a policyholder is sued by another party, and their insurance company steps in to defend them. While defending the policyholder in the lawsuit, the insurer must act in their insured’s best interests. However, it fails to do so and exposes their policyholder’s personal assets.

Here’s an example that we’ve seen happen. Let’s say Mary (the policyholder) blows through a stop sign in Chicago and hits Bob. Bob is transported to the hospital, where he’s treated for serious injuries to his spine and lower extremities. Soon after, Bob files a lawsuit in Cook County and names Mary as the defendant.

The plaintiff (Bob) offers to settle the car accident lawsuit for Mary’s policy limit of $300,000. Bob has over $750,000 in medical bills and will never walk again. However, Mary’s insurance company outright refuses to respond to the plaintiff’s reasonable offer of compromise. Instead, it delays settlement and waits for the other party to less for than the policy limit.

Before long, the lawsuit ends up in front of a Chicago jury. The jury listens to both sides as witnesses and experts take the stand. Ultimately, the jury awards Bob the plaintiff $1.25 million in monetary compensation for the damages he sustained as a result of the collision.

However, this award exceeds Mary’s policy limits of $300,000. Her personal assets have just been exposed. In this situation, Mary has the right to pursue a “failure-to-settle” bad faith insurance claim for the amount of the excess verdict. Her insurance company failed to settle the case before trial, despite fact that the plaintiff’s medical bills exceeded the amount of her policy limits. In short, Mary’s insurer failed to protect her financial assets.

You can also pursue a third-party claim against your insurance company if they mishandle a first-party bad faith claim. However, this doesn’t happen often.


Only a few states in America allow an injured third-party victim to file a bad faith lawsuit against the defendant’s insurance company. In Illinois, the policyholder can “assign” (or transfer) their right to pursue action against their insurance provider to the injured party.

In the example above, Mary (the policyholder) would exchange her rights to a bad faith claim with Bob the plaintiff, as long as Bob agrees not to execute judgment against Mary’s assets. This assignment can happen by a voluntary agreement between Mary and Bob. It can also be compelled by the court. After the assignment is complete, Mary (the third-party and injured driver) can now pursue a bad faith claim against Bob’s insurance company.

If you have been assigned a bad faith claim after an excess verdict, we can help. We’ve handled these types of claims in the past and successfully won on behalf of our injured clients. Call us today for a free consultation at (312) 578-9501.

What Benefits Can I Receive from an Illinois Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit?

Bad faith insurance benefitsIf you have a first-party bad faith claim against your insurance company, you may recover the following benefits:

  • Your attorney’s fees;
  • Any costs related to your case; and
  • An additional award of up to $60,000.

In a third-party lawsuit, there are no limits to the amount you can be awarded. In a failure-to-settle claim, the policyholder typically recovers the amount of the excess verdict.

At the end of the day, the value of your case increases exponentially if you hire the right attorney. Our Illinois bad faith lawyers understand the stress you’re going through. We can help you navigate the situation, and take the stress of handling a bad faith claim off your shoulders.

How long do I have to file a bad faith insurance claim in Illinois?

You generally have two (2) years to file a bad faith claim in Illinois. The clock starts ticking from the date that the insurance company breached its duty of “good faith” or from the time when you discovered that coverage was denied.

It’s best to contact insurance bad faith lawyers like Shannon Law Group sooner rather than later. It sometimes takes months to investigate and prepare a bad faith lawsuit. Evidence supporting your claim may be harder to locate. So, don’t hesitate—contact us today.

Why Choose Shannon Law Group?

Experience with Results

There's one thing you should know about us: We only take cases worthy of being tried in front of a jury. Because of this, we have the time, knowledge, and experience to go above and beyond for you - unlike other personal injury attorneys who have hundreds or thousands of cases. Our expert team will go out of their way to make sure you and your family are in the best position possible in the eyes of the law.

What's more, we have an inside scoop on the insurance industry. Before he represented injured people, lead attorney Joe Shannon represented corporations and their insurers. He sat on the other side of the table, so he knows what the insurance company will offer and what they won't offer. Since founding Shannon Law Group, Joe secured the largest verdict in Will County history and achieved other multi-figure settlements and verdicts in Illinois. 

As our satisfied clients can attest, we come through for them when they need it most. We take our responsibility to our clients seriously. We'll examine every angle of your case, and we promise to go the extra mile to get the compensation you deserve--not what the insurance company thinks your claim is worth.  Read our reviews and testimonials to see what other people have said about us.  

One-of-a-Kind Representation

Free Consultation Shannon Law GroupWhen you hire us to represent you after your insurance company acts in bad faith, you're helping yourself and your family. Why? Because our job is to bear the burden of dealing with insurance companies and their lawyers. Our bad faith insurance lawyers take those stressors off your shoulders, so you don't have to worry about them anymore.

We also understand the case isn't about us--it's about you. At Shannon Law Group, our top priority is to help you move forward toward a successful and secure future. Our Chicago attorneys will always put your interests first.

We'll get to know you personally, too. We'll come to your house and talk to your family.

You will never be treated like a transaction or a case at our law firm. When your case has resolved, our relationship doesn't end the moment we hand you a check. We'll stay in touch with you and help you and your family in whatever way we can. 

Keeping You in the Loop

We will always keep you updated on your bad faith insurance lawsuit. 

We'll make sure to return your call within 24 hours if you leave a message. If you have a question about your case, you will speak with the lawyer handling your case. No question is too big or too small for us.

If you believe you have a bad faith claim against an insurance company, our attorneys may be able to assist you. To get started, schedule your free consultation. Call us today at (312) 578-9501 or fill out the form at the bottom of this page. We look forward to speaking with you!

I’ve had great experiences working with Brittany at Shannon Law Group. Her compassion, communication, and professionalism are just what you would expect from a great law firm. If you’re hurt in the Chicago area, I highly recommend you call Shannon Law Group.
Dan Reo
Dan Reo
21:45 28 May 20
I used Shannon Law Group to help me with a legal name change. I worked with attorney Pat Cummings who represented me in DuPage County courthouse for the procedure. I am very pleased that they filed my case very quickly, and we got in front of the judge and the case went flawlessly, and my request was granted (just before the courthouse shut down). I can't say enough that the whole process went very well and very fast and was handled most professionally by everyone I spoke to in the law firm staff. Great work, thank you!
michael krzywosz
michael krzywosz
01:09 25 Apr 20
My wife is represented by Shannon Law Group. In my opinion, Jack Cannon is one of the best attorneys in the business. He is very knowledgeable, communicates well and extremely helpful. Jack cares about his clients. He completely explains the situation with relevancy and clarity in this challenging time. Jack stays in contact with updates even on weekends. I feel the Shannon Law Group puts their clients first and fights hard with their best interest in mind. I have recommended Jack to several people who are also very pleased. Jack Cannon and Shannon Law Group get the job done.
Rodney Mikesell
Rodney Mikesell
00:26 19 Mar 20
I have had the good fortune of getting to know Joe Shannon through our involvement in a law firm owner group. In short, with Joe, what you see is what you get. Joe's word is his bond. He has an unwavering commitment to his faith, his family and his friends. Why is that relevant to someone looking for the right attorney? Because, at the end of the day, the attorney-client relationship is about trust and commitment. With Joe and his firm, you get both, in spades.
Paul Odegaard
Paul Odegaard
15:56 16 Mar 20
After doing many phone interviews to decide on an attorney to represent me, Jack Cannon was by far an easy choice. Easy to talk to, professional, respectful, knowledgeable and able to answer all my questions. He promptly returns my phone calls. I'm very thankful to have him representing me.
vickie clark
vickie clark
17:10 04 Mar 20
Joseph Shannon is not only an amazing attorney, but a kind and caring person as well. He took the time to explain everything related to my case and was always willing to answer questions or provide clarification. From our very first meeting, it was clear my interests were his first priority, and he established a great working relationship based on security and trust. I highly recommend Joseph Shannon and Shannon Law Group to anyone in need of a personal injury lawyer.
India Gordon
India Gordon
20:11 20 Feb 20
Joe is a superb attorney but even better person. In my opinion, the most important considerations in an attorney-client relationship are trust and reliability. There is no attorney I trust more to provide a careful, thorough analysis of a legal matter and then offer thoughtful recommendations that consider the “big picture” and focus on my best interests. He is a pillar of the local community as a lawyer, philanthropist and father and is widely respected as a straight shooter who vigorously represents his clients while maintaining his civility.
Jeff Mote
Jeff Mote
15:22 19 Feb 20
I worked with Joe Shannon for 15 years and we have maintained the friendship for another 15 years since then and I can unequivocally say he is a man of the highest integrity. He is "real", easy to talk to and sincerely interested in what you have to say. The phrase I think of most often when I remember him is that he feels "he is living the dream". This humble expression applies not only to his passion for his law firm and clients, but also his passion and loyalty to his family and his faith. He is the real deal.
Barbara Gyarmathy
Barbara Gyarmathy
13:24 18 Feb 20
Very friendly, and helpful! Even though you're not in my state, you answered my questions quickly and were honest. Then you followed up with an e-mail and gave me some help and referrals which was very helpful. May GOD continue to BLESS you and ALL of your staff.
Kim Harvey
Kim Harvey
13:14 18 Feb 20
Joe will always give your case an honest and through review. He tells it like it is and is one the greatest advocates I have ever worked with. As a practicing attorney for over 25 years that does not take on personal injury matters, I refer all my friends to Joe without hesitation!
Charles Rego
Charles Rego
13:06 18 Feb 20
Honesty, integrity, tenacity. These professionals responded to my needs in a prompt and compassionate matter. I am fortunate to have yoked up with these down-to-earth people who strive to make their clients feel like they are valued and heard. I recommend them highly.
Patsy Shannon
Patsy Shannon
00:27 18 Feb 20
Joe Shannon's firm is of the highest professional stature. Joe and his firm have endured the test of time as an elite Chicago personal injury law firm. Probably Shannon Law Group's biggest strength is their dedicated commitment to their clients' causes and pursuit of the best possible results.Daniel W. Sherman, Attorney At LawDaniel W Sherman PCValparaiso, IN 46385 (licensed in IL and IN)
Dan Sherman
Dan Sherman
20:52 17 Feb 20
Joe Shannon’s firm worked hard to help our family. Everyone is genuine and sincere with our concerns and questions. I HIGHLY recommend!
Erin Koenig
Erin Koenig
15:52 25 Nov 19
Compassionate listeners Joe Shannon and Patrick Cummings helped our family out when my daughter was injured in a car accident. They understand the the long term health consequences that your child may face and they seek fair and maximum compensation. They handled the insurance company for us and in return we are truly GRATEFUL for everything they did on our behalf!
Susan Jennings
Susan Jennings
19:02 18 Nov 19
Patrick Cummings and Shannon Law Group represented our daughter in an employment contract dispute. Our daughter was so frustrated, and Patrick immediately reassured her that the law was on her side despite what her employer told her. Patrick was able to get her back pay that added up to more than 10% of her annual salary. He did this professionally, respectfully and quickly. In a way that allowed her to continue in a job she loves with out creating unnecessary tension. It is fortunate that Patrick can practice in Wisconsin. We are very grateful Pat was able to help our daughter.
Regina Cummings
Regina Cummings
19:16 20 Oct 19
The whole team of Shannon Law Group were great throughout my entire case. Each member diligently did their part and kept me thoroughly informed with what was going on. Each member was always willing to answer my questions anytime of the day. At the end, the Shannon Law Group helped me come out on top. Thank you Shannon Law Group for all of your hard work.
Michael Heatherly Ii
Michael Heatherly Ii
21:40 10 Oct 19
I was involved in a car accident earlier this year and Shannon Law Group assisted me through every step of the process. This team educated me on my options and offered me agency after a stressful life event. I really appreciate the urgency in which these lawyers handled my case. I felt my case was prioritized by Shannon Law Group from the start to the resolution. I would highly recommend their services to anyone!
Maureen Cummings
Maureen Cummings
20:56 10 Oct 19
They never stopped fighting for me until they won my case! My family is so grateful!
Erin Huls
Erin Huls
18:22 16 Jul 19
I have worked with the Shannon Law Group for years. The firm is based on integrity and being available. They will give you honest and expert feedback and always take calls or get back to you right away. They are super friendly to work with and do a great job.
Robert Nell
Robert Nell
14:35 30 May 18
I've known Joe Shannon personally and professionally for 20 years and have referred friends and family members to him. He is intelligent, strategic, personable and a person of great integrity. I highly recommend Joe Shannon and his team.
Julie Carballo
Julie Carballo
15:36 24 Feb 18
I was involved in a head on collision with a wrong way driver. My car was totaled and my life was saved by safety restraints. Much to my surprise, my insurance company failed to properly represent me and I engaged Joe Shannon's services to recover my losses. Joe resolved the matter in a quick and cost effective manner. I have since referred a number of other individuals to the practice and they have all had very positive experiences and outcomes with Joe's firm. Joe is also very active in supporting the local community. I would recommend him without hesitation.
Daniel McMullen
Daniel McMullen
21:18 22 Feb 18
I had an excellent experience with the Shannon Law Group. Joe Shannon is a man of high integrity and compassion. When I contacted Joe, he quickly got back to me. He provided great legal advice and support during the case. I highly recommend the Shannon Law Group!
Laura Freeman
Laura Freeman
20:28 18 Feb 18
The Shannon Law Group should be your 1st choice for an attorney to represent you.They have the resources to help you in your dispute with Insurance CompaniesThe Shannon Group will even the playing field.They get Results ! Take it from meA very satisfied client Highly Recommended
Anthony Aceto
Anthony Aceto
15:34 17 Feb 18
Joe Shannon is an incredible lawyer backed by an amazing team. I referred a family to him and have been amazed at how his team has helped them when no other lawyers would. He isn't afraid of the tough cases - he knows how to win them. He works more than hard for his clients. He and his team build innovative strategies and execute with integrity and courage. Their approach brings results for their clients that most firms could never get. They care. They will fight for you. They are the people you want in your corner during what may be one of the most difficult challenges you face.
Sarah-Eva Marchese
Sarah-Eva Marchese
04:34 25 Jan 18