How to Detect Bad Faith Insurance Practices After an Accident
Posted in Lawsuit on December 2, 2018
Most insured people feel a sense of security knowing that if something happened, a measure of financial protection is in place. Having health and car insurance is not only wise, but it is also a legal requirement in most states. However, not all insurance agencies treat consumers fairly. In fact, some unpaid insurance claims may be an issue of bad faith insurance practices.
If you were recently in an accident and believe that you are a victim of bad faith insurance practices, speak to one of our Kansas City personal injury lawyers for help.
What is Insurance Bad Faith in Kansas City?
Bad faith practice is when an insurance company wrongs an individual, usually for the benefit of the insurance company itself. Bad faith claims may happen with an insurer fails to resolve a claim, refuses to pay a claim, or suggests difficulties in concluding the process. Knowing what to look for in a bad faith insurance claim can help people identify when it occurs.
- The insurance company denies (or decreases the amount of) a valid claim without a reasonable basis for doing so.
- The insurance company makes an unreasonably low settlement offer not thoroughly supported by an investigation.
- The insurance company entirely denies a claim without just cause.
- The insurance company fails to either affirm or deny the claim within a pre-determined, expected, or reasonable timeframe.
- The insurance company’s claims adjuster ignores calls, emails, and other methods of contact from the insured person.
- The claims adjuster or customer service representative is threatening or intimidating to the individual, belittling or misleading him or her.
- The insurance company fails to organize and complete a thorough investigation that supports the decision to affirm or deny a claim.
- The claims adjuster makes unreasonable or burdensome requests for extraneous documentation that the individual cannot readily provide (or provide at all).
- The insurance company refuses to give a basis or reason for denying a claim.
- The individual believes the company intentionally misrepresented the policy through confusing, misleading language.
When It Is Not Bad Faith
Insurance companies exist to help and protect people, not to hinder or hurt them. However, employees (such as claims adjusters) are human and make mistakes. Not every mistake made by an insurance company is due to bad faith. In addition, not every claim is a valid one. Several examples of denied claims are not due to bad faith practices.
- The individual did not disclose information that the police or insurance company uncovered in the investigation that affects his or her case negatively.
- The claim is not valid for any reasonable, pre-defined basis.
- The company denied, decreased, or delayed the claim because of human error. If they can prove it was an honest mistake and approve the claim after the fact, bad faith damages likely will not come into play.
- The individual does not understand their policy, due to no fault of the company or misleading wording.
Most people are unfamiliar with insurance practices and don’t know procedures following an accident. To determine a bad faith claim, accident victims should discuss their case with an attorney. Anyone who deals with an insurance company – theirs or the negligent parties – should document all interactions and protect all paperwork. An attorney at Fowler, Pickert, Eisenmenger, & Norfleet can answer in-depth questions about whether bad faith practice has occurred, contact us today.