Understanding Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Most states recognize the concepts of good faith and bad faith, and the sanctity of operating under “good faith and fair dealing
.” Legal precedent will vary from state to state,
and is modified as a result of previous court rulings in bad faith cases.
If an act of bad faith can be proven in a court of law, the policyholder may be entitled to a monetary award. Additionally, the insurance company in question may be subject to punitive damages and face new regulations from the state or federal government.
As a preventative step, familiarize yourself with all of your insurance policies and know the limits and liabilities contained within.
In the event of an accident, lawsuit, or any other circumstance in which you will seek coverage, be certain to file all claims in a timely, complete and honest manner. Keep complete records of any paperwork that you submit for a claim and of any interactions that you have with representatives of the insurer.
After filing a claim and receiving notice of a denial, it might seem reasonable to take the denial at face value. Though it may appear as if you have little recourse, the insurance company is legally obligated to give its policyholders their just settlements.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of bad faith insurance practices, do not hesitate to take action by contacting an insurance dispute attorney
. Though an insurance company can figuratively tower above as a formidable foe, policyholders have legal rights. Contact an experienced bad faith insurance attorney to help you determine what course of action is most reasonable for your case.
In some instances, the very real threat of an impending court case might be enough to change the insurer’s approach.
Exceptions to bad faith do exist. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, grants rights to many group insurance policies that provide employee benefits. This piece of federal regulation makes it more difficult – or impossible – to successfully pursue a case of bad faith against these types of insurance companies.