Signs an Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith
Posted in Insurance on December 30, 2020
If you get injured in an accident, you will need to file an insurance claim to request financial compensation for your related losses, such as medical expenses and property repairs. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies handle claims or clients fairly. Handling a claim dishonestly means the insurance company is acting in bad faith. It is important to recognize the signs of bad faith; that way, you will know when to contact a Tampa bad faith insurance lawyer for assistance.
Taking Too Long to Investigate Your Claim
One of the most common forms of insurance bad faith is taking an unnecessarily long time to analyze the claim or investigate the accident. Typically, an insurance company has no more than 30 days to assess a claim and issue a response – either a claim acceptance or denial. If the insurance company needs more time than this, it must request an extension and give a valid reason for the delay.
If the insurance company handling your claim is taking too long to respond to your initial claim or investigate the accident, this may be a sign of bad faith. Requesting too much information from you about the accident could also be a sign of a lack of intent to handle your claim fairly. The insurance company may request an inordinate amount of documentation from you to intentionally delay the claims process – thus delaying having to pay out your claim.
Denying Your Injury Claim Without a Valid Reason
Another common example of insurance bad faith is denying a claim without a valid reason. If the insurance company denies your claim to benefits, it lawfully must give a reason why. Check the explanation alongside the language of your policy to see if the reason makes sense. If the insurance policy does not contain benefits for your type of accident, for example, the insurer might be authorized to deny your claim. A lawyer can help you read through an insurance policy to determine if a denial is valid or invalid.
Misinterpreting the Language of the Policy
An insurance company may try to avoid giving you a fair payout by misinterpreting the language or terms of the insurance policy being used. The insurance company may deny your claim or diminish benefits based on how it interprets what the policy covers. An insurance agent may also be guilty of bad faith by misrepresenting an insurance policy when selling it to a client. In either case, the company is mishandling the client and being untruthful about the policy.
Offering an Unreasonably Low Settlement
An insurance company’s main goal is to save money by avoiding large payouts to clients. Some cases of insurance bad faith involve settlements that are unreasonably low for the client’s injuries and losses. This type of bad faith can be difficult to spot without a lawyer helping you understand the true value of your claim. If a lawyer believes you are owed more than what the insurance company is offering, but the insurer refuses to negotiate with you for a higher amount, you could be a victim of bad faith.
Failing to Pay a Settlement
If the insurance company on your claim accepted liability and offered a fair settlement but failed to cut you a check within a few weeks, this is a red flag for insurance bad faith. This is a tactic insurance companies use to avoid sending a check for as long as possible. Most states require insurance companies to process settlements and issue checks within about two weeks of reaching an agreement. If it has been longer than this and you still have not received notice of the company mailing your check, talk to a lawyer about possible insurance bad faith.
Contact an Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
Contact a lawyer if you believe you are the victim of insurance bad faith in Florida. An insurance dispute attorney can review your case to let you know if the insurance company is handling it in good or bad faith. If there is evidence of insurance bad faith, your lawyer can file a claim against the insurance provider on your behalf. A bad-faith claim could make the insurance company pay you an additional sum in interest or penalties on top of what it owes you for the original settlement.