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. Bad faith needs to be proven by the insured by showing how the insurer failed to honor their policy.
An insurer can act in bad faith by failing to investigate a claim, delaying payment, denying benefits, refusing to settle, and other reasons. If bad faith is proven, punitive damages can also be awarded that exceed the compensation amount from the policy. Other charges that can be awarded include attorney’s fees and compensation of damages for emotional stress.
When an insurer acts in bad faith, the insured has several options including negotiating a fair settlement, sue the insurer, filing a complaint with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner, or do nothing. People tend to just do nothing, saving insurance companies a significant amount of money. When dealing with an insurance bad faith claim, it is very important to get help from an attorney knowledgeable in that subject area.
If you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith, contact one of our West Virginia insurance bad faith attorneys to see what options you may have.