Car accidents are traumatic, regardless of how bad they are. It becomes even worse when your insurance company refuses to pay a claim that is fair and square or when an insurer drags out an investigation.
When an insurance company acts in bad faith, they do not act in their client’s best interest. It is their responsibility to investigate, negotiate, and settle claims. If they fail to meet the expectation of their duty, contacting an attorney at Doug Terry Law is the best way to get the service you deserve.
Defining Bad Faith
Bad faith insurance practices are generally dishonest and unfair. It can be on purpose or professional negligence. In both cases, the insurance company has failed in its duty as an insurer.
Insurance companies can practice bad faith in a variety of ways.
The first way is when an insurer refuses to settle a claim within the policy limit. Insurers purchase policies believing they are protected. However, if the insurance company denies such a claim, it is a bad faith practice.
An insurance company might not just deny a claim because of a perceived policy limit. Insurance companies might deny a legitimate claim outright. It is why having a lawyer after an accident is the best policy. It reduces confusion and helps decipher if the insurance company is acting in bad faith.
At this point, it is clear that insurance companies will sometimes do everything in their playbook to deny a claim. One acting in bad faith might not want to pay the entirety of a claim. Shortchanging their clients on purpose is not ethical.
Any unethical action towards a client is done in bad faith. Know your rights, and understand your vehicle insurance policy.
3 Examples of Bad Faith by Insurance Companies
One of the reasons that a lawyer is helpful after a car accident is because they can help prove that insurer’s conduct was unreasonable and knew or disregarded that fact. Bad faith lawsuits require proof, and fighting alone is both confusing and could lead to a negative result.
Unreasonable delays are a way that insurance companies will try to outlast an insuree. It is there to duty to act fairly and in a timely manner. When an insurer drags out an investigation, it is your right to know that most states mandate insurance companies must accept or deny a claim with 15 to 60 days.
It is one thing to delay an investigation, but an insurance company can go so far as to conducting an incomplete investigation. Good faith and fair dealing are assumed when dealing with an insurance company; however, they sometimes do not conduct a prompt and complete investigation.
It is up to an insurance company to supply their clients with access to paperwork and advise them of the deadline. It falls under deceptive practices. If an insurer fails to disclose the existence of coverage, it falls under bad faith, too.
The refusal to pay a valid claim is a bad faith practice. In some cases, they even go so far as to offer less money than the claim is worth. Both reasons are why hiring an attorney is such a priority after a car accident.
Protecting Yourself Against Bad Faith Practices
We do not like to think that the premium we paid to an insurance company for them to act in bad faith. But, sometimes, it happens.
Insurance companies that misinform their clients about policy and law border on breaking the law, not just acting in bad faith towards their client. Some will even go far as to make threatening statements. It is not only about calling your lawyer if that happens. You also need to call state insurance boards to report the incident.
Having an experienced attorney by your side ensures that any bad faith committed against will not go ignored. Lawyers pursue these sorts of claims and are not held back by policy limits.
Denied claims are time-consuming, and it can be not very clear. It is why having an attorney advocate for you will help keep the path clear to having your claim. Also, it sheds light on the offending insurance company and reveals their unethical behavior for other customers.
In the end, you only want an opportunity to collect the full value of your claim and obtain justice for bad faith behavior. Insurance companies that willingly act like this are sometimes forced to pay court fees for a case where they are found at fault.
Do your research and find the attorney that best suits you and your needs. But, do not skip hiring one. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. Do not let them make a profit by breaking their policies to short change you.