Many individuals who have sustained damages in a motor vehicle accident or some other type of incident often look to obtain payment for those damages from the at-fault party and/or their insurance company. However, many people may not realize that insurers do not always have their best interests in mind. In fact, it is often quite the opposite. Some insurers do their best to figure out how to not pay a claim.
It is for this reason that South Florida personal injury attorney David I. Fuchs believes that all harmed individuals should seek legal guidance and counsel prior to attempting to deal with insurance companies. He and his team understand that it may be tempting to accept an insurer’s first settlement offer, but the first offer is often not the best offer.
In addition to lowball offers, some individuals may be denied payment for their damages altogether. Working with an attorney can help ensure that the insurance company fulfills its obligations and makes a good faith effort to resolve the claim.
What It Means When Insurers Act in Bad Faith
Simply stated, when an insurance company acts in bad faith, that means that it has wrongfully denied an individual’s claim in a manner that is unreasonable. Insurers do this because, as noted above, they have an interest in not paying claims and saving as much money as possible. Insurers are also aware that many individuals will not dispute their denial which, again, keeps millions of dollars in company coffers.
It is also important for individuals to understand what type of conduct can be deemed to be bad faith conduct. First of all, insurance companies are required to investigate all claims. If they fail to do so in a prompt and thorough manner, that may be considered bad faith conduct. Along those same lines, insurers may be acting in bad faith if they cause unreasonable delays in paying policyholders or refuse to reimburse or settle with harmed individuals for their losses.
Some insurers may also unreasonably interpret policy language to avoid paying a claim, which can be deemed as bad faith conduct. And a very common act of bad faith by insurance companies occurs when they try to settle a claim for an extremely low price (known as lowballing).
Watch Out For Loopholes
We stress the importance of working with a knowledgeable attorney any time you sustain damages because insurance company documentation and policy information can be exceptionally confusing and contain numerous loopholes that can hinder a policyholder from receiving all the benefits to which they may be entitled.
To be clear, of course there are times when insurers are within their rights to deny a claim, particularly in instances involving fraudulent claims, failure to pay premiums or incidents that are simply not covered under the policy. However, bad faith becomes an issue when insurers delays payment or refuses to pay a covered claim.
If you believe the insurer handling your claim is acting in bad faith, you have rights under the law. For example, if a court determines that the insurance company wrongfully denied your claim, you may be entitled to recover the benefits to which you are entitled under the policy, as well as potential consequential and/or punitive damages in cases involving gross misconduct. Contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. today to discuss the particulars of your case.