Posted in Insurance law on February 11, 2021
You should always count on your insurance company that they are making good on their promises according to the policy you pay for. However, insurance carriers can be notoriously difficult to deal with when a legitimate claim is made. Under the law, insurance companies are required to maintain good faith practices when dealing with their policyholders. When an insurance company infringes on the terms agreed upon in their contract with the policyholder, they could be guilty of bad faith insurance practices.
What is Insurance Bad Faith?
Anytime an insurance company wrongfully denies a claim, they are acting in bad faith. The insurance policy between the insurance company and the insured is considered a contract that requires the company to act in good faith. Insurance companies often try to deny a claim for any reason they can or underpay for a claim. The insured’s bad faith needs to be proven by showing how the insurer failed to honor their policy.
There are various ways in which an insurance carrier could operate in bad faith. Some of the signs that you may be the victim of bad faith insurance practices can include the following:
- Failure of the insurance carrier to confirm or deny a claim after receiving the evidence necessary to decide.
- Failure of an insurance carrier to properly investigate the case to determine liability.
- Attempts by the insurance carrier to settle a claim for far less than what you should receive and what is covered based on the policy limits.
- Failure of the insurance carrier to respond promptly to a claim or acknowledge a statement of a covered claim.
- Failure of the insurance carrier to properly defend their policyholder for claims made against them.
- The insurance carrier using unlawful or deceitful tactics during their investigation.
- The insurance company misinterpreting the language of the policy.
How to File a Bad Faith Claim
These are only a few of many ways in which an insurance carrier could operate in bad faith. Some steps to take when filing a bad faith claim include:
- Review the contract. Thoroughly review your insurance contract to ensure there has been a violation. If you are unsure, speak to an insurance bad faith lawyer. The language of these contracts can be confusing.
- Keep logs of all claims. It is vital to keep all documentation related to your original claim. Keep any evidence, including photos, accident reports, receipts, and any insurance company correspondence.
- Document the denial. If the insurance carrier denies a claim, request that a supervisor with the carrier review the denial. You should begin the appeals process with the West Virginia insurance commissioner. Again, document every interaction you have with the insurance carrier.
- Make a final demand. Before a lawsuit is filed, you need to show that you attempted to settle your claim. Do this by sending a demand letter detailing your claim. Typically, insurance carriers have 15 to 60 days to respond to a demand letter. If the insurance carrier refuses to settle a claim within that period, move forward with a lawsuit and a complaint.
- File a complaint with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner. While taking steps to file a lawsuit, file a complaint with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner’s This department will likely also attempt to secure a resolution to your claim.
- Speak to a lawyer. At any point during this process, you can choose to speak to a skilled attorney about your claim. Preferably, involve an attorney as soon as you suspect that your insurance carrier is operating in bad faith.
Free Consultation — Contact A Lawyer
Insurance carriers have enormous amounts of money and legal teams to defend against bad faith insurance claims. When you hire an attorney, you are essentially leveling the playing field. Your attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to pursue your bad faith claim properly. If you have questions regarding your insurance company’s actions, call the Manchin Injury Law Group in Fairmont, West Virginia, at (304) 367-1862 for a free consultation.