There is a very important reason why we secure Insurance coverage. We are assured by insurance companies that they will help us protect the investments we make in our properties like our homes and vehicles. Insurance providers also protects our business interests. There are also insurance policies that provide financial coverage for our medical and health expenses. When the time comes for you to file a claim as an insured individual, you expect the full support of your insurance company. You have a right to be properly compensated by your insurance carrier based on the insurance policy you have purchased. If your insurance provider fulfills its obligations according to the terms of the policy, it is acting in good faith. However, an insurance company is deemed as acting in bad faith if it falls short of the insurance coverage stipulated in your policies or if it fails to provide proper and timely compensation for its policyholders.
Understandably, an insurance company also protects its own business interest, because it is in fact, a business and it operates on profit. However, if an insurance company functions on this basis at your expense as a policyholder, you may have a legitimate cause to sue for bad faith. You may file a lawsuit against your insurance carrier in order to recover the compensation it owes you.
If you believe that you have encountered bad faith in the insurance industry through outright denial of your claim or the insurance company unfairly settled with you, our team of experienced insurance lawyers at Mehr, Fairbanks, and Peterson Trial Lawyers in Kentucky can help you understand these complicated insurance issues. We can fight on your behalf to help you recover the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Who Are Usually Victimized By Bad Faith Insurance Tactics?
Most individuals who apply for insurance coverage are not insurance experts. For the average person, it can be quite challenging to gauge whether or not they got a fair treatment by their insurance company. If your claim has been denied, you may not be aware of whether or not the insurance provider had proper justification to deny your claim.
As such, it is in your best interest to seek help from an experienced insurance lawyer who understands the complexities governing insurance law and breach of contract. If an insurance company wrongfully denies your claim, it has breached its contractual obligations to compensate you for your losses. The situation is even worse when the insurance company uses bad faith tactics to avoid paying what you are rightfully owed in compensation.
What are Examples of Bad Faith Insurance?
If your insurance company is intentionally acting in bad faith by failing to pay your legitimate claim, the company is subjecting itself to possible compensatory damages. These damages serve to both compensate you as the insured individual, as well as punish the insurance company for its unfair business practices against you. The insurance company may also be guilty of bad faith practices if they failed to conduct a prompt, thorough, and unbiased investigation around the incident leading to your claim.
Other actions taken by insurance companies that may signal bad faith settlement practices on their part may include:
- Intentional Lapses in Communication.
Not maintaining open lines of communication with customers after they have filed claims may mean that the insurance company may be trying to avoid their responsibility to settle their obligations. When your insurer fails to acknowledge receipt of supporting documents and/or evidence to your claim, it may signify that the insurance company is acting in bad faith. An insurance co is obligated to maintain frequent and open communication with you as their clients. The insurance provider should be able to answer questions in a timely, honest, and direct fashion in such a way that the exchange of information leads to a timely decision about your claim.
- Pressure Imposed on the Claimant to Accept an Unfair Settlement.
Another tactic seen when an insurance company is acting in bad faith is the company pressures you to agree to an unfair settlement. The insurance company may say that no other offer is available or that your insurance coverage is not enough to settle the expenses involved. An insurer must be able to pay a settlement or judgment against the policyholder, up to their coverage limit. An experienced attorney who knows the nuances about insurance law can help you uncover the actual amount you are owed and pursue recovery of that amount.
- Delays in Settlements of Valid Claims.
When your insurance company uses delaying tactics to slow down the process that would lead to a fair settlement, it is another indication that your insurance company is acting in bad faith. Making unreasonable demands for irrelevant or excessive documentation and evidence is one more tactic to delay settlement. Delays like this put a claimant against the wall in an attempt to force you to either accept the lowball offer or give up on the claim altogether. Insurance claimants unknowingly fall victim to this dirty tactic because of their desperate need of a payout.
- Denial of Claims Without Any Reason
Some insurers acting in bad faith may deny coverage for your claim in an attempt to make you accept the decision and give up on your claim. Insurance companies have a right to deny a claim, but they must provide you with reasons as to why and how they reached their decision. If you have been wrongly denied coverage, you have the right to challenge the decision and fight for a fair settlement in accordance with the applicable insurance policy. If you have a seasoned insurance bad faith lawyer backing you up, you will be able to demand documentation in support of their decisions. The insurance company has no choice but to comply with your request. They should never refuse to provide you with a copy of your policy or other coverage-related documents that it relied upon in denying your claim.
- Changes or Cancellation of Your Policy Without Prior Notification.
Your insurance company is not allowed to change or cancel your policy without prior formal advice. They are guilty of bad faith tactics if they do this to you. Such actions aim to minimize the compensation you receive or deny coverage completely. They are fully aware that the eligibility of the claim is based on the newly revised policy instead of the original policy terms under which the claim should be evaluated. As such, it is smart to always keep a copy of your original insurance policy so that the insurance company will not take advantage of you.
Do I Need to Get An Attorney?
It can be an unnerving situation if you are having difficulty getting an insurance claim approved by your provider. A lawyer can help you seek out the best methods of evidence-gathering, giving you recommendations on which documentation can be most effective in proving bad faith. An insurance attorney has all the experience to know what is required in an effective bad faith lawsuit, equipped with the knowledge and resources to act in a timely manner.
If you find yourself in this position, contact our team at Mehr, Fairbanks, and Peterson Trial Lawyers. We know all the tactics that insurance companies may use to influence you to settle quickly for less compensation than you deserve, and we know how to counter them and protect your rights.
Call us today for a free confidential case consultation.