If you are dealing with distressing consequences of any personal injury, the last thing you need to mind about your insurer is treating you unfairly or simply refusing to honor their policy obligations. Dealing with insurance company bad faith is upsetting and stressful, and requires prompt action and assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Normally, people expect that insurance companies to fully compensate them after sustaining a personal injury. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Most insurance companies are more interested in turning profits than fulfilling their customers’ policy obligations.
The moment you agree to the policy provisions set forth by your insurer and pay premiums, you enter into a contract with your insurance company. This company, therefore, as a duty bound to honor the provisions in the policy. However, an insurance company might fail to honor the commitments set forth in the policy, a situation known as acting in bad faith.
The law recognizes the disparity in the bargaining power between an insurer and its customers. As such, your insurance company has a duty to deal fairly and act in good faith when deciding whether to deny or accept your claim. But sometimes, instead of receiving fair treatment and consideration, you are given the run-round and are left feeling more like a victim. Remember, the dissatisfaction with the way your insurance company valued your claim does not normally rise to the level of insurance bad faith.
Here are clues that your insurance company may be acting in bad faith:
- Failing to thoroughly and promptly investigate your claim
- Delaying payment of your claim
- Scheduling inappropriate appointment times for estimates and statements
- Requiring excessive estimate and statements to support a valid claim
- Refusing to defend a lawsuit against you
- Withholding benefits guaranteed to you under the policy
- Failing to give a well-written clarification of why they denied your claim
- Treating you in a hostile manner once a claim is made or personal injury lawyer is retained
- Misrepresentation or non-disclosure of policy benefits
- Delaying or ignoring a response to pertinent inquiries, phone calls and letters
If you believe your insurance company is not handling your claim with a reasonable degree of efficiency or ethical conduct, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the carrier. Note, insurance is a multibillion dollar industry, and as a money making business, they rely on paying less for their customers to make money. Because of this, your insurance company clearly knows all the tricks in the book to avoid paying for your claims or giving unfair settlement.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you believe that your insurance company acted in bad faith, you should contact an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney in Staten Island. The law regarding insurance companies’ bad faith is very complex, and these insurance companies understand that better. In fact, the law also limits the period you have to bring a bad faith claim, and such cases can sometimes be very hard to prove and win at trial. Nonetheless, in settlement negotiations, the simple fight over bad faith can help you get a reasonable settlement offer from your insurance company.
Overall, having a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who is not afraid to take on the insurance company is very crucial in defending your rights. If an insurance company is proved by the court to have acted in bad faith, it might be liable to pay damages to you well above the injury compensation.