Insurance exists to protect you and your family when accidents occur.
When it comes time to collect compensation after an accident, the law protects you as well by requiring the insurance company to “act in good faith” when responding to your claim.
What does this mean? This obligation applies to any insurance company offering first-party insurance policies, including life and homeowner’s insurance, as well as auto coverage and workers’ compensation insurance. It says that both parties have disclosed all critical personal information and are acting in truthful and ethical ways. Sounds good, right?
Sometimes, however, these relationships turn sour. When any of these insuring bodies refuses to pay you benefits that you’re owed or denies your claim without a reasonable basis, this is said to be acting in “bad faith,” and you may actually have grounds for a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that just because you disagree with a claims adjuster, that isn’t necessarily grounds for bad faith.
You might have a vastly different opinion than the insurance company and think your claim is worth a lot more than it actually is. You might even be at fault for the accident and not think you are. In this sort of situation, it’s worth speaking to an attorney to see if your suspicions are based in reality.
An insurance company might violate their obligations under a contract with you in a number of ways. If any of the following situations sound familiar, it’s probably time to contact a lawyer.
Document everything. This includes everyone with whom you spoke on the phone, dates, times, names and titles. Keep copies of your medical bills and all records related to your injuries, as well as all correspondence from the insurance company. If you can get things from the insurance company in writing, choose that option.
You can use this accident journal to jot down every detail.
If you decide to pursue a bad faith case, hire an attorney who is well-versed in that area of law. If it’s related to workers’ compensation, you’ll also want an attorney who has that background, while a personal injury attorney will be good for a motor vehicle case. Speak with a number of different attorneys and get a feel for what their areas of expertise are. If you’re still unsure, check out the Enjuris law firm directory for help!
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