We often purchase insurance for the peace of mind that if we are ever in an auto collision (or some other injurious event) that we will be taken care of. When you are injured in a collision or experience property damage, it can be stressful and sometimes downright traumatic. Sometimes when you need your insurance company most, they are not there for you. The tactics they sometimes employ to limit their help to you are sometimes called “bad faith.”
Bad faith is broadly defined as dishonest or unfair insurance practices. Insurance companies are required to thoroughly investigate, negotiate, and settle claims in good faith. When that doesn’t happen, they can be held liable.
To pay as little as possible, some insurance companies utilize the following bad-faith tactics:
Unreasonable delays. Sometimes insurance companies will drag out the process, hoping that a claimant eventually gives up. Most states have established deadlines of 15–60 days for denying or accepting a claim.
Deceptive practices. In some instances, you may be unaware of an important part of your coverage. The insurance company is almost certainly aware of all your coverage and the coverage most applicable to your claim, yet they don’t alert you. They might also choose not to notify you of important deadlines or provide the necessary paperwork to complete your claim on time. These are deceptive practices.
Incomplete investigation. If the insurance company doesn’t look at all the evidence or fails to conduct a personal inspection, they haven’t been thorough and have conducted an incomplete investigation.
Lowballing. Offering less money than a claim is worth is an example of bad faith.
Refusal to pay a valid claim. When insurers deny claims that are clearly covered by their policies, it’s evident that policyholders’ interests come in a distant second to profits. Insurance companies had a fiduciary relationship with their insured, which means they have to treat their interests equal to their insured’s interests.
Twisting language. An insurance company may purposely misrepresent the language of the insurance policy and use it against you.
Threats. Some insurance companies threaten harsh legal action against a potential claimant, or imply it if the claimant continues to pursue their claim or does not accept the insurance company’s offer.
You Need an Attorney
If you have been the a car wreck and the victim of bad-faith insurance practices, you need professional representation by an attorney with the experience necessary to win your case. You need a lawyer who you can have full confidence in. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.