If you feel your insurance company has been treating you unfairly, you may have a case for bad faith. Insurance company bad faith can be a complicated issue and, depending on the insurance company, it could be a long legal battle.
Insurance companies of all kinds (home, auto, life, etc.) have to treat their customers fairly and not try to short-change their premiums or deny their claim for no reason. If an insurance company does something like this, it could be grounds for a bad faith case.
For this article, you can find out what insurance bad faith exactly is and provide a few specific examples. Also, we will discuss what you need to prove in insurance bad faith claims and what kind the settlements of these cases entail.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance companies have the duty of good faith they have to give their policyholders, if this duty is violated, this is known as bad faith.
Good faith requires insurance companies to decide and investigate claims fairly. This means they should be putting in just as much thought for reasons the claim should be paid as reasons to not pay it. There are no physical damages to be paid in this kind of claim so, if the insurance company is found liable for bad faith, they pay for money damages.
Examples of Insurance Company Bad Faith
Insurance company bad faith can be difficult to define but there are some concrete examples of it. You might have a case for insurance bad faith insurance if:
- The insurance company failed to properly investigate your damages and denied or undervalued your claim as a result
- The company misrepresented their policy intentionally to lessen the cost of your claim
- The company took an excessive amount of time to pay your claim intentionally
- You were not given a concrete reason why your claim was denied
All of these examples are fairly basic but insurance companies do have the duty to ensure their policyholders are getting the service they paid for.
For many cases, insurance bad faith comes after a personal injury case where an insurance company failed to properly pay their client for their damages. If your insurance company did any of the above actions after you filed for a claim, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to see how you can open up a case against them.
Situations Where You Could Open A Case For Bad Faith
There are claim denials that are not always in bad faith. In some situations, the insurance company does not cover certain kinds of damages in your policy. While they are long and dry documents, it is important to know exactly what injuries and damages are covered in the insurance policy to have a claim for bad faith.
These policy contracts are made this way specifically so they cannot be held liable for bad faith in many specific situations. Insurance companies want to cover all possible bases, so they know exactly what you covered for in your policy.
If you think that you may have been a victim of insurance company bad faith, you should absolutely take the time to speak to an insurance expert such as a property damage lawyer or an independent claims adjuster.
Both of these kinds of people are experts in insurance and can read through long insurance contracts to see exactly what you’re covered for and what you are not covered for.
What Kinds of Settlements Can Come Insurance Company Bad Faith?
As to what kind of settlements you could receive in a bad faith insurance case, the settlement will be based mostly on the specifics of your case and if the insurance company has had any issues with bad faith in the past.
In most cases, if the company is found guilty of bad faith, the settlement will be much more than what the initial policy’s payout was.
The reason these settlements can get so much higher than the initial policy is a result of a legal term known as punitive damages. These damages act as a reason for companies worth millions or billions of dollars to care about these insurance bad faith claims.
As opposed to personal injury claims, the punitive damages in insurance company bad faith cases are fairly different. Sometimes they can be more, sometimes less, depending on how much money was lost in the insurance case and how severe the injury was in the injury case.
For most personal injury cases, the settlements for punitive damages are mostly for compensating for the victim’s pain and suffering and mental hardships they had to suffer through because of the injury.
While in the case of insurance company bad faith, there is some pain and suffering as well but the suffering is mostly due to stress and time lost fighting a long court battle. The punitive damages are less about compensating the victim but more about punishing the insurance company.
Courts take these bad faith cases seriously and are motivated to discourage this kind of behavior especially from large insurance companies. Sometimes, these billion dollar insurance companies will use their size to scare off claims of bad faith but they should still be held accountable if they breached the trust between them and their policyholders.
Contact Trusted Lawyers for Insurance Company Bad Faith
Insurance company bad faith cases can be difficult to solve and many people will feel lost in trying to prove they were a victim to this kind of crime. This makes it all the more important to make sure you have a team of experts representing you to help prove your claim.
Luckily, legal organizations such as Law Leaders have a team of expert attorneys that can help build a strong case for insurance company bad faith. If you feel you were short-changed on your policy or denied without a sufficient reason, Law Leaders has helped all sorts of Americans with their insurance company bad faith cases.
Contact Law Leaders today for more information on how they can help your case!