Bad things happen sometimes; that’s why you have insurance in the first place. Collecting compensation after an accident should not be difficult, but many see their insurance companies ignore their circumstances or mislead them into accepting less than they are due.
Insurance companies have a responsibility to “act in good faith” when it comes to responding promptly to your claims, and acting in “bad faith” can mean that you could file a lawsuit.
We’ve written an extensive article on how to determine if you insurance provider is acting in bad faith. If you feel that you have grounds for an insurance bad faith lawsuit, here are a couple of steps for how to proceed.
1. Collect documentation
If you believe your insurance company is acting misleadingly, it’s important to keep written documentation from every aspect of your claim. This means medical records, accident reports, and any correspondence you’ve had with your insurance company about the incident.
Try to avoid talking on the phone with your insurance company. Instead, ask for any correspondence to be in writing for the sake of keeping records.
2. Contact an experienced attorney
An attorney that is familiar with insurance bad faith lawsuits can be a great ally. They can help you determine how much you should be owed for your accident and whether or not your insurance company is actually acting in bad faith. If you do decide to file a lawsuit, an experienced attorney will be able to represent you to the full extent of the law.
Karen Brady says
Hi, I need advice on an insurance claim. Our clain has been ongoing since March this year. Our calls and emails are now and have been ignored. Our roof is worse, we have indoor damage, dampness and possible mold. Should we get a lawyer?
Nancy Rapp says
Hello Karen. Yes, I would encourage you to contact an attorney. Sometimes, an attorney letter is all it takes to get the insurance company to respond. If not, your attorney will help you get the legal claim started. I encourage you to use our directory to find an attorney near you.
I’m dealing with Assurant/ Americans First Bankers Co.
They are horrible. They lie and never respond. Imagine how many families these people rip off .
I am calling a lawyer
Nathan Hardee says
I had a car accident on 1/8/2019 in which i hit a pole and totaled my truck. I have yet to finalize the claim. First it was the mail carrier lost the total loss paperwork i sent, then it was lack of correspondence. Its been 45 work days(not including calendar days) and i dont know what to do. They just drag on. They say they are waiting for paper work… what paperwork??? I resent the total loss paperwork two weeks ago! Directly to the auto yard holdinh my truck! They said all they need is a letter of guarantee. Well get to work! I have filed with the insurance comission. Need to get this settled. Im tired of riding the bus… am i right for being concerned? Today is the 2nd of march
Ian Pisarcik says
Dealing with the insurance companies can be tricky. I would ask the insurance company to provide you a list of what they need in WRITING. If you believe you have given the insurance company all the information they’ve asked for, I would consider contacting an attorney. Usually, all it takes is 1 letter or phone call from an attorney to get the insurance company moving.
We had a break in 8 months ago!!! Insurance company is giving us the run around. We have given them everything and more. I have meet with them twice. The claim is so bad that my husband works out of town and wasn’t able to feel safe when he was out of town that I rented another place. While this happened my house burnt down and we have lost everything.
Nobody will give me answers and they keep saying broker was avoiding them. Then they were away on personal leave. Every week it’s something else. Meanwhile my family had lost everything.
Ian Pisarcik says
It may be time to reach out to an attorney in your area. The attorney will be able to get the insurance company moving and also make certain you are reimbursed properly. For a list of attorneys, take a look at our online directory. If you can’t afford an attorney, your local state bar association can provide a list of attorneys who do pro bono work.
Im just lost on what to do. We are trying to close this chapter and move on but it’s kind of hard when you’ve lost everything do to a break in and the a fire and nobody will even have a little compassion.
This is a nightmare. But I am fed up with being ignored by them.
Carlos A says
How should I proceed with an insurance company that has taken 2 months to process my application for enrollment and when I contact a representative I get the proverbial “our company is looking into your application and will get back with you soon”?
Ian Pisarcik says
Carlos, if you have not enrolled with the insurance company and you’re not happy with their service, I would consider contacting other insurance companies to see if they provide a better service.
Carlos A says
@Ian Pisarcik- Thank you.
Hi, i was involved in a road traffic accident on 13 feb which i am at fault. I did not manage to get the claimer’s particulars or number as she drove away after i request to move to the roadside. I did a report to my insurance company within that day. On 19 june i received a letter from my insurance company stating that i am to privately settle this case as i failed to attend an interview they requested. I was given only 2 reminder letters on 14 and 24 may which i was not aware of. I need advices on how to re-open the case as i paid for my insurance but to what purpose then?
Ian Pisarcik says
I would recommend contacting an attorney in your area to help you deal with the insurance company. In the meantime, take a look at our articles on bad faith insurance claims.
I have been able to reach my insurance company by phone it’s always busy. I have sent maybe 9 emails to them about paying a medical bills and they never respond. I don’t know what I should do. I’m mostly likely goingvto fet bad credit and ve put on a 10 year waiting list of shame. It’s a national list you get put on for not following through with payment. This means it will make it hard for me to rent, get a house and own other forms of property. Basically they’re destroying my life by ignoring me. On top of all that I’m in a terrible environment where I don’t feel safe and I need to be able to move, which is going to be even more unlikely if get put on that list.
Ian Pisarcik says
Insurance companies are notoriously slow. I would recommend reaching out to an attorney in your area. Often, hearing from an attorney is the best way to get an insurance company to become more responsive.
Sherry Bucek says
I filed a claim with my health insurance because the doctor i see doesn’t accept health insurance and my insurance company does pay back a portion of what I paid to the doctor through member reimbursement. They pay back only a year and I have been going back and forth with the insurance co. now for over a year. The papers were lost, then the fax wasn’t received and then they needed certain codes and now I can’t get a call back and every time I call and speak to a different rep that has no idea about my claim says they can’t even find it in the system. I have no idea what to do or where to turn from here, I keep calling for updates and keep getting no where. I have another claim that I am about to submit for this past year and not sure if I should even bother. Please help me!!
Ian Pisarcik says
I’m sorry this is happening to you. Insurance companies owe certain duties to their insureds. When they fail to meet those duties, you can sue them for bad faith. Learn more here. It may be time to reach out to an attorney to discuss your options. Most attorneys will provide an initial consultation for free. At the initial consultation, the attorney will be able to tell you whether you have a valid claim.
I was found not at fault for a car accident. I had only liability coverage. The car that hit me was in a Hertz rental, and was cited for no insurance at the scene. It had been 2 months, and my adjustor has yet to keep in touch with me about the case. I’m the one who is always calling her. She always says she sent emails and called the other company and got no response. What should I do in a case like this? Is she jerking my chain?
If my adjuster is mean can I speaker to a new adjuster?
Ian Pisarcik says
Thanks for the question.
Insurance adjusters are assigned by the insurance company based on factors like experience and case load. Though you can ask to work with a different adjuster, the insurance company has no obligation to switch adjusters.
It’s always best to remain calm and professional when working with an insurance adjuster. If you’re having trouble getting on the same page as your adjuster, you might consider hiring an attorney to help you negotiate your claim. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters owe claimants certain duties. If these duties are breached, claimants can file a bad faith lawsuit. You can read more about these duties and bad faith lawsuits here.
My home was burglarized while I was out of town, a huge mess left behind which brought a citation from the city, who forwarded the citation to my landlord who evicted me. I not only lost everything, but also found myself homeless. The police couldnt care less, and my renters insurance company has made the process deliberately difficult knowing that I’m doing this while living in my car during a pandemic. Attempts at finding an attorney have left me with many promises for return calls…. which they never do. Every single person along the way has losses me away and not kept their word, and there’s aparently nothing I can do about it. Until now the only real option available seems to be suicide. I worked all my life to build something that was so quickly taken away, and all the steps I took to avoid this seem to have been for nothing. Is there not a single lawyer in south Alabama who takes bad faith claims of this sort?
Ian Pisarcik says
I’m so sorry this is happening to you. Please hang in there, as things will get better.
Lawyers, especially during the pandemic, are busy and sometimes working without their usual support staff. As a result, sometimes phone calls don’t get returned. Keep trying.
In addition, there are several places in southern Alabama that can help you with your legal issue for free or at a reduced-cost. For example, the South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program. You can also contact the Alabama State Bar referral service. The state bar can put you in touch with an attorney and even help you contact the attorneys that haven’t returned your call.
Lastly, please consider reaching out to a suicide support group. Help is available.
Best of luck to you.
I was wondering my adjuster haven’t contacted me should I contact my adjuster? It’s been 3 weeks already? She’s also not giving me offer to settle the claim is that okay?
Melissa Gold says
Hello, Ashley: It’s definitely fine to contact your adjuster if you think you should have heard something by now. One of the insurance company’s obligations is to respond to your communications in a timely manner. It’s possible that the insurance company is still investigating the claim or calculating a settlement, but it should be communicating with you throughout. If you think your insurance company is acting in bad faith (or if you think you need additional help), you can call a lawyer who can assist you in working with the insurance company. The Enjuris law firm directory is a great source for finding a lawyer near you.
I haven’t been able to work because I had a car accident. Would the other insurance pay for days I haven’t been able to work?
Ian Pisarcik says
Some car insurance policies pay for lost wages, it depends on the language of the specific policy. If the policy does NOT pay for lost wages, you can sue the at-fault driver for lost wages.
Brenda Edwards says
I have been paying into a life insurance and burial policy for several years. I tried to call my agent about a simple question and cannot get a hold of him or anyone in the office. Days and weeks have gone by and I wonder what would be happening now if I had died. I bought this insurance so that my daughter would not have a lot of stress when it happens. Now I am concerned about what would have happened. If she needed the services I paid for and could not get a hold of anybody what was she supposed to do put me in the refrigerator until they come back to work? If they are not in the office shouldn’t there at least be a way to contact somebody over the phone?
Melissa Gold says
Hello, Brenda. I’m sorry you’re feeling ignored. Most people are working at home right now because of COVID-19 restrictions. I’m not sure if you began trying to contact your agent before shutdowns began or after. However, a business should have some type of message on its voice mail or website letting customers know when or how they can be reached. You don’t necessarily need to go through your agent in order to get information about your policy, though. If it’s through a large insurance company, you can probably contact the company directly through its website or by phone.
If you can’t find a way to contact the insurance company directly, you can call the state agency that regulates insurance where you live and they might be able to direct you to some contact information for the insurer.
T Porter says
My homeowners insurance who is always supposed to be on my side is not adjusting my complete property. We had a bad hail storm in May. They sent an independent contractor to adjust my roof even after me saying I have more damage than just roof. They are hiding behind Covid to no send out their own people. Their solution to me has been call a contractor and have them send pictures and information to them. I don’t feel like that should fall on me to do. I pay my premium every year on time every time with out argument. They should do their job without excuse. I have talked to and emailed the adjuster and his supervisor. They finally agreed to send someone. They sent a roofer who was more interested in selling me a roof and what the insurance co was paying. The roofer they called was supposed to report to them and copy me. Three weeks later, I am still waiting. I have emailed again to ask….can we wrap this up so I can move on with repairs. I am being ignored now it seems. What is my next step? Insurance board, my mortgage company or take the problem on up to their corporate? Not feeling they are on my side. I can’t believe I am having this much trouble with them. I used to sing their praises on how they took care of their customers, but not anymore. And most likely when I finally get this settled I will be shopping for new homeowners insurance.
Melissa Gold says
Hello. It’s actually a misconception that your insurance company is “on your side” (though they might advertise themselves that way). In reality, an insurance company is a business and it makes money by paying out less money in claims than it earns in premiums. That’s how your insurance company makes a profit. Therefore, your insurance company’s objective is to pay you the smallest possible amount for your claim while still meeting the terms of your policy. Yes, you are entitled to coverage based on the terms of your policy — it’s a contract, after all. You pay a premium, they pay your claims.
The insurance company is obligated to pay a claim to repair the specific damage to your roof if it’s covered damage. In many circumstances, an insurance company will ask the homeowner to get a certain number of quotes for repair or assessments of damage, or to use specific providers. Then, the insurance company determines what it thinks is a fair payment based on those estimates. However, sometimes insurance companies do act in bad faith. If you believe your insurance company isn’t handling your claim properly or that it’s acting in bad faith, you might have a lawsuit against the insurance company. If you’re interested in reading more about insurance bad faith, you can do so here: https://www.enjuris.com/bad-faith-insurance/bad-faith-insurance-faq.html and here: https://www.enjuris.com/bad-faith-insurance/choosing-bad-faith-attorney.html. If you think you need a lawyer to handle an insurance bad faith claim, you can use the Enjuris law firm directory to find an attorney in your state. Best of luck.
it doesn't even matter says
All professionals hate me and they hope I die. I can tell because besides ignoring me, when they get a chance they get up in my face with no mask even though I told them I have an underlying condition.
They also want me to lose my house and be homeless again.
They hate to see me succeed and they want me in ruins and then dead.
Ian Pisarcik says
I’m so sorry this is happening to you. Have you contacted your state bar association? Through its referral service, your state bar can refer you to a free or reduced-cost attorney that may be able to help with your issue. You can find the number for you state bar here. When you call the number, tell the state bar employee that you need an attorney and want to be transferred to the “referral service.” Good luck.
Steven William Leak says
I filed a homeowners claim feb. 19 2020, with my agent for all these 8 months promises to fix my house.have been just promises,so I call corporate to find out why they’re not moving on this I’m 66 and due to heavy rains have black mold in my house it was the size of a quarter when I reported it now its 6 feet long by over a foot wide,courage takes my info gives me claim holder and a claim number ive tried numerous times to contact ckaim holder no results.
The company is state farm in Fort Payne al what can a senior do im at my wits end??
I got in a car accident on 12/31/19 I got a big name attorney company and I had to have surgery I received a quick offer on August 13 but nothing since I’m on short term disability after surgery and haven’t herd a word from the at faults insurance since I’m very unsure what’s going on and I’m not sure what to do I
Ian Pisarcik says
If you’re represented by an attorney, I would contact your attorney and express your concerns. Settlement negotiations can take a long time, but your attorney should be able to give you a status update.
wisdom policy says
Nice blog and so informative.
Ian Pisarcik says
I’m glad you found it helpful!
Hi there! A guy crashed in to me on 12/14/20. He admitted full liability. His insurance co mailed me a check for the initial supplement amount. Now the car is ready to be picked up and I can’t get a response from anyone as to when the final payment will be issued and the garage will not release the car until they are paid in full. They are completely unresponsive for the past 3 weeks. Is there a time frame that they have to issue the check within from when they receive the final supplement from their appraisal company? I’m at my wits end… please help!!
Melissa Gold says
My first question is whether the insurance company agreed to a specific amount for the total damages. It sounds like what you should probably do is contact your own insurance company, because even though the other driver’s insurance is paying for your damages, your insurance company can work with them on your behalf. Usually, accidents involve insurance companies negotiating with each other to reach a reasonable settlement that both sides can accept. If your insurance company isn’t helpful, you might need to contact a personal injury lawyer to work with the insurance company. Some insurance companies operate in bad faith, and your car shouldn’t be held “hostage” because you can’t receive payment to which you’re entitled.
If you need to find a lawyer, you can try the Enjuris law firm directory to find an attorney near you. Best of luck!
I own a small motel. 4 years ago one of the guest claim she felt in the room and incurred injury. Got a letter few weeks after stay from guest lawyer stating that their client fell on our property and you will hear from us about the claim. I forwarded that letter to my insurance company (Guard) and opened the claim. We never heard anything from guest or lawyer so finally after waiting for almost 2 years we closed claim. I switched to a different insurance company after a year and half we closed the liability claim. Few months later after switching the insurance company, I got a court summons from the lawyer/guest to appear in court for the incident that took place almost 4 years ago. Now my old insurance company is not responding me. It’s been 2 weeks, I sent all documents to reopen old claim. I and the insurance agency co through who I bought the policy have contacted them atleast 4-5 times in two weeks but their adjuster still hasn’t email or called me. The insurance company is Berkshire Hathaway AmGuard.
A Rock and Gravel Truck dropped Rocks an Debris which broke our windshield. I filed a police report with the California Highway Patrol on 6/25/2020 and contacted the truck owner. He refused to provide his insurance info and after filing a small claims lawsuit and the trial being delayed for many months due to covid 19, I was lucky enough to find out who his insurance carrier was through the CA DOT.
When I contacted the Insurance company the adjuster stated the insured was disputing my claim and she rudely said “we will just wait and see what happens in the small claims lawsuit” I said you must accept or deny liability within 40 days of filing the claim as per CA state law (40 days ended on 3/14/2021). She then said “no we don’t have to do anything and we will wait to see what happens in the small claims lawsuit”.
California Code of Regulations, Title 10, Chapter 5, Subchapter 7.5, Section 2695.7(b),
Section 2695.7. Standards for Prompt, Fair and Equitable Settlements
(b) Upon receiving proof of claim, every insurer, except as specified in subsection 2695.7(b)(4) below, shall immediately, but in no event more than forty (40) calendar days later, accept or deny the claim, in whole or in part. The amounts accepted or denied shall be clearly documented in the claim file unless the claim has been denied in its entirety.
At the instruction of someone at the California Department of Insurance I dismissed the case without prejudice so the California Insurance Commissioner could assist me in obtaining an acceptance or denial of my claim before moving forward again with litigation.
The Insurance commissioner then sent me a letter stating they cannot assist me and can only go after the insurance company for violations of regulations or law!
I am looking for any suggestions to force the insurance company to accept or deny my claim so I can try to recover my damages of $4,000
Thank you very much.
Dennis Diaz says
The lawyer has not responding to my public adjuster can I file suit for bad faith
On Friday (10/1), my husband was side swiped by another motorist that merged on him. His front end is out of alignment and he needs a rental car. At the scene there was an accident report taken and deemed the other motorists fault. After two days the other motorists insurance adjuster is claiming there is a lot of “red flags” on this policy and she cannot provide a rental at this time. I don’t understand you either have an active policy or you don’t? Also shouldn’t the other motorists’ tag have been ran to verify her insurance was active when the accident occurred by law enforcement? We do not want to file on our insurance because our premium will increase. What attorney would you suggest seeking out in this matter? Thank you!
I was in a car accident .. rear ended by an person whose insurance did not pay. my insurance found I was not at fault and auto damages were paid through my uninsured motorist insurance. however both me and my husband were in the vehicle and did suffer neck and back injuries. now my insurance company is not returning calls, or emails. I have paid out for some of the medical expenses but I can’t afford to pay for everything, and as a result of this accident my husband was demoted at work, to a lesser paying position and less hours! as well as lost work for a month.
the insurance adjuster does not return calls, emails and I am frustrated as the statute of limitiations approaches. I dont know what to do? i dont have money to hire an attorney, nor do I know what to do next? please help
Melissa Gold says
Hello, Penelope. I am sorry that you and your husband are in pain from the accident and that your insurance is being unhelpful. If your expenses related to the accident exceeded the amount of your uninsured motorist coverage, the only other option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. You mention the statute of limitations… usually, the time limit (in California) within which you must file a lawsuit is 2 years from the date of the accident. If you don’t file a lawsuit within that time, you will lose the right to do so.
There is one bit of good news I can give you, though. If you retain a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit, you usually don’t need to pay the lawyer up front. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they receive a percentage of whatever proceeds you’re awarded from the claim. In other words, if you recover damages, your lawyer would get a “cut”, but you won’t need to pay them now. There could be some expenses (if they need to travel for your case, or other administrative fees) but it shouldn’t be a huge expense out of pocket initially. And, many personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation so you can discuss the case with them and see whether they think it’s worth filing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, if you already agreed to a settlement amount with your insurance company, you usually can’t go back and request a higher amount once the case is closed. So, a lawsuit could be your only avenue for recovering compensation for your ongoing medical treatment. Best wishes. I hope you’re able to get the compensation you need for your medical treatment. If you need a lawyer, you can use the Enjuris law firm directory: https://www.enjuris.com/directory/.
Our son was killed as a passenger July/2021, we have multiple claims filed with 3 different insurance companies, we have already made policy limit demands, provided each company with everything they asked for, waited and waited some more for them to complete their Investigations. 2 of the insurance companies have already agreed to meet our demands but the other insurance company, although they have kept a line of communication with us has yet to respond to our policy limits demand….. This demand was made back in September….. Think it’s time to file suit??
Omer salih says
My agent had mislead me after I called for reinstate my policy and just 3 days later I had accident and I finally know my policy is canceled so I need a help to sue them I’m so tired and I’m so disappointed from my insurance company
United healthcare says
I’ve been complaining for four years it’s been I just been in a nursing home I went to this dentist here they treated me racially treated me wrong ended up with all my teeth out and I went there to get one too the lady was very ignorant to me and I complained to use people and trying to tell you what happened to me it’s on foul I complaint two times someone please can you help me this is mental I’m really losing my mind cuz I don’t have my teeth I never told these people to take my teeth out it’s on fire you can look at it but no one’s listening to me I guess because I’m just a poor black man here and that’s sad I hope someone in a heart can kindly help me with this cuz I have been fighting this for 4 years I even my case managers no my doctors know my therapist know everyone knows over a strong hospital with my mental stages can you please help me my name is Leroy Adams
I am a cancer patient and I have a year of strange workers.a nurse a case worker ect.ive tak I mg medication to keep me alive. ND EVERYTIME I TALK TO MY QORKERS SHE MAKES SEEM THAT SHE U S FOU G HER JOB. ITS BEEN FIVE TI.ES I MISSES MY IFUSIONS.SOMERHING 8 NEED XAUSE OF CHEMO IVE MISSED MY APPOINTMENTS CAUSE OF THERE NEGLEGENCE OF NOT SETTING IP MY MEDICAL RIDES THEM ALREADY KNOWING. I HAVE n appointments. I would talk to my case worker on the phone andet them know I have the appt.5 times I’ve missed and I’ve asked for transportation for the bus. So I cN take myself and don’t have a car..they failed on that also I’ve been having trouble with them for a year now. I feel they don’t care.
I had wreck been year and four months ago! I settled with state farm! There agreement was to pay my medical bill! Year and four months now! I go try rent a house! And because these collections are sitting on my credit brought my credit score down because they never payed them! I contacted state farm told them the situation! They made me miss out on a home .. me and my babies are about be homeless because.our land lady of 11 yrs wants her home back for damy.member and I don’t have 5 times rent money up front! Because of my credit from what state farm has cause me!! They told this never has happened that they see they are not payed! Should they have to pay me money for screwing up my credit!!