While the stress of a car accident is already great enough, now you have to deal with your insurance company to make sure you are fully compensated for your damages. You want to make sure that you get everything that you are entitled to and that’s why It’s important to understand when your insurance company may be acting in bad faith. Bad faith insurance refers to any situation where the insurance company acts in a manner that is unfair or dishonest towards the claimant.
Here are 5 signs of bad faith to look out for after your accident so you can protect yourself and ensure that you receive the coverage you’re entitled to.
Delaying or Denying Claims
Discuss how insurance companies might delay or deny claims without proper justification, such as by requesting excessive documentation or ignoring evidence of liability.
If your valid claim was either unjustifiably delayed or denied, your insurance company may be acting in bad faith. Delayed claims can take many different forms. For example, the insurance company might request unnecessary documentation, such as medical records that have no bearing on the accident, or demand that you provide multiple statements about the accident. This can drastically waste your time and eat up the time limit to filing your claim, leaving you with nothing but frustration and emotional distress.
During the claims process, the insurance company may ignore clear evidence of liability or might argue that your policy doesn’t cover the type of damage that occurred/ Sometimes, the insurance company might deny the claim based on a technicality, without providing any clear explanation. In such cases, it’s important to carefully review your policy, appeal your claim and consider seeking legal assistance to ensure that you understand your rights and options for pursuing your claim.
Offering Unreasonably Low Settlements
Insurance companies are supposed to provide fair compensation for the damages incurred by the claimant, but sometimes they might offer settlements that are far below what the claimant is entitled to. For example, the insurance company might argue that the damages are less severe than they actually are, or that the claimant is partially or fully responsible for the accident.
Alternatively, the insurance company might offer a settlement quickly after the accident, before the full extent of the damages is known, in an attempt to save their own expenses. Accepting these early settlements can legally prevent you from pursuing legal action against the insurance company. That’s why it’s important to never accept early settlement offers. It’s important to carefully review the settlement offer and consider consulting with a legal professional to help you understand your rights and options for negotiating a fair settlement.
Failure to Investigate or Defend the Insured
An insurance policy typically means that the insurance company is legally required to have the duty to defend any valid claim made against your policy. Insurance companies have an obligation to:
- conduct a thorough investigation of the accident
- appoint and pay for legal defense for the claim against you
When an insurance company fails to investigate or defend the insured after a car accident, it can be a sign of bad faith. For example, the insurance company might not gather enough evidence to support the insured’s claim, or they might not provide adequate legal representation if the claim goes to court. This can leave the insured vulnerable and at a disadvantage in the claims process.
Intimidation or Harassment of the Claimant
The relationship between you and the insurance company is professional and allows no room for threats, intimidation, or any type of harassment. Insurance companies have a responsibility to treat claimants with respect and to handle claims fairly, but sometimes they might use aggressive or intimidating tactics to pressure the claimant into accepting an unfair settlement or dropping the claim altogether. For instance, the insurance company might make threatening statements or try to undermine the credibility of the claimant, or they might attempt to coerce the claimant into accepting a low settlement offer. Such behavior can be intimidating and traumatic for the claimant, who is already dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. During the process between you and the insurance company, it’s important to document any behavior of intimidation or harassment to ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.
Seek Legal Advice
If you notice any of these 5 signs, chances are your insurance company is acting in bad faith and you may have a case in pursuing damages. Dawsons & Rosenthal, P.C. note, that every insurance bad faith case is unique, so legal experience matters. The last thing an insurance company wants to do is go to trial, so simply having an experienced attorney by your side is enough to spur a positive result for your case.