Signs Your Insurance Company is Acting in Bad Faith
Your insurance carrier owes you a duty. When you have a policy, the insurance company is required to stick with the terms of that policy. Unfortunately, there are times when insurance carriers act in bad faith. That means that the carrier, in one way or another, is not sticking to their part of the agreement. However, it can be difficult to understand whether an insurance company is acting in bad faith or if they are just being difficult to deal with. Here, we discuss the signs their insurance carrier may be acting in bad faith.
Recognizing bad faith insurance
Even when people understand that insurance carriers must work with them, they also know it is not uncommon to run into red tape when trying to process a claim. Insurance carriers are, after all, “for-profit” entities. They are also made up of people who can make mistakes that can lead to a claim being delayed. However, bad faith conduct is illegal.
There are various signs that insurance policyholders need to be aware of so they can recognize bad faith. Consider if you have experienced any of the following:
- Your insurer not investigating the claim right away
- Your insurer not thoroughly investigating your claim
- Harassment or insults during the investigation or during conversations with insurer
- The insurance carrier not responding to calls, emails, or letters
- The insurance carrier not answering questions about your policy
- The ensure demanding unnecessary documentation or paperwork
- Your paperwork being lost or misplaced for significant periods of time
- Your claim experiencing an unreasonable delay
- Any threats from the insurer
- Extremely low estimates of your loss or lowball settlement offers
- The insurer denying your claim with no explanation
Breach of contract
If you have a valid claim under your insurance policy, but the insurer refuses to make a fair settlement offer, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against the insurance carrier for breach of contract. You will have this right whether the insurance carrier in question is your own insurer or if you are a third party claimant. Under this type of claim, you will be seeking damages that are controlled under the insurance policy, essentially asking the court to give you what the insurance carrier should have provided.
Lawsuits for bad faith or unfair and deceptive acts
Aside from filing a lawsuit against an insurer for breach of contract, you may be entitled to additional compensation if the insurance carrier his found guilty of acting in bad faith. This would be considered extra-contractual damages. Not only would you be seeking coverage for the claim that has been denied or delayed, but you would be seeking additional damages on top of that amount. This additional compensation could include the following:
- Liability for judgments in excess of the policy limits
- Statutory penalties and interest
- Emotional stress damages
- Damages for other consequential economic losses sustained by the plaintiff
- Court costs and legal fees
- Possible punitive damages against the insurance carrier
For these cases, it is vital that victims of bad faith insurance seek assistance from an attorney. Insurance carriers are notoriously difficult to deal with and will have their own legal team to defend any allegations against them. A San Diego bad faith insurance attorney will level the playing field and give you the best opportunity to secure maximum compensation for your claim.