Bad faith for an insurance company means that it does not pay out on a claim when it should. If you are in a car accident and your insurance company doesn’t handle the claim properly, or refuses to pay on the claim, it could be a case of bad faith. According to the Legal Intelligencer, bad faiths claims are on the rise. Why depends on who you ask, plaintiff or defense counsel. Defense counsel would most likely say most of the bad faith claims are simply a tactic. Plaintiff counsel would most likely say that the claims are on the rise because insurance companies are refusing to pay out when they should, especially in cases of uninsured or underinsured motorist claims.
What is Bad Faith?
Essentially, bad faith means that an insurance company delays or refuses to pay on a claim for no legally acceptable reason. Some examples of bad faith include:
- Inappropriate denial of insurance coverage
- Not conducting a reasonable investigation of a claim or denying a claim without investigation
- Failure to act within a reasonable period of time in
- Conducting an investigation
- Confirming or denying coverage
- Paying or denying the claim
- Providing an explanation of denial
- Not providing information about policy limits (financial amounts available under the insurance policy)
- Seeking to apply a standard that varies significantly from the rest of the insurance community
- Unreasonably and purposefully delaying or withholding payment
There are many examples of bad faith, but essentially, the insurance company is engaging in behavior that violates the standards of the insurance community, utilizes the legal system inappropriately, and/or tries to delay, discount or deny a claim it has reason to know is valid.
What Does Bad Faith Mean to You?
If you are injured in an accident, you could experience bad faith from your insurance company or from the other person’s (or people’s) insurance companies.
One of the reasons it is important to engage an attorney early on after you suffered an injury in a car accident, through medical malpractice, premises liability or in any case in which an insurance company might be involved, is because it is unlikely that you will be able to tell when the company is acting in bad faith.
If you have been injured and need legal assistance, or if you have been trying to deal with an insurance company and you believe it is acting in bad faith, please contact us. We will be happy to talk about your case with you.