For those who have just experienced their first motor vehicle accident, they might be shocked to realize just how much red tape and administrative work is involved in receiving compensation – not only the compensation that might be owed to you from the at-fault party, but compensation that comes from your own insurance policy.
Fortunately, there is a legal process in place designed to help you hold your insurance carrier accountable for the money you are owed.
In general, an insurance company’s refusal to pay a claim without a reasonable basis is referred to as “bad faith.” In essence, the notion here is that the insurance company has a duty to act in good faith when processing a claim from a policy holder. Acting in good faith means that your claim was properly investigated and the investigation occurred in a timely manner. Attempts to devalue, delay or deny your claim must be accompanied by a well-reasoned argument. By denying or delaying your claim without a reasonable basis the insurance carrier can be said to have acted in bad faith.
There are numerous types of conduct that can be construed as bad faith, including:
- Deceptive practices or deliberate misrepresentations
- Use of improper standard in denying the claim
- Arbitrary or unreasonable demands for proof of loss
- Abusive or coercive tactics to settle claim
- Failing to thoroughly investigate a claim in accordance with company’s procedures
The insurance company,is a company, a business, and as such, they will attempt to protect their bottom line. This doesn’t mean that they will actively attempt to devalue your claim or adopt an adversarial position in your case . . . but it does mean that you should protect yourself either by fully understanding your rights or enlisting the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to fight on your side.