Speaking in legal terms, insurance “bad faith” refers to the malicious refusal of an insurance company to perform a duty. Insurance companies are required by law to pay fair financial recovery in a reasonable period of time as long as the claim is valid. Sadly, many companies frequently and consistently deny many claims, regardless of validity, because it benefits them economically to do so.
Because many people are unclear about their insurance coverage, it is not uncommon for them to accept the insurance company’s denial of the claim, and it is precisely for this reason that many insurers go unchecked in this illegal practice. Frequently, when the injured party refutes the denial, they are underpaid or the payment is delayed by the insurance company, causing the individual to receive an inadequate payment and endure economic hardship.
Bad faith can occur any time a claim is filed with an insurance company, including auto accidents, ATV accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and personal injury.
Some indications that your insurance company may have acted in bad faith and you should contact a bad faith attorney include:
- Your insurance company has not handled your claim in a reasonable amount of time.
- Your insurance company has failed to promptly reply and acknowledge notification of your covered claim.
- Your insurance company failed to conduct a prompt and/or thorough investigation of your claim.
- Insurer did not confirm or deny coverage in a reasonable amount of time.
- The amount offered to you by your insurance company was less than a reasonable person would accept as appropriate.
- The insurer claimed the denial was on the basis of a policy and/or application that had been altered without consent, knowledge, or notice to you, the insured.
- The insurer did not reasonably explain the basis for the denial of the claim.
- There was a discrepancy between what the insurer would have paid if auto repairs had been made and the actual cash payout.
- The insurer requested excessive documentation that was not required according to the policy.
- The claim was paid without a statement accompanying it that indicated coverage.
If you have been the victim of bad faith with an insurance claim, a bad faith lawyer may be able to help you get the amount of your claim, subsequent damages resulting from the denial of the claim, and/or punitive damages.