If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may take comfort in knowing that the at-fault party has insurance that will cover your medical expenses or other damages. While waiting for reimbursement for expenses you incur, you may be relieved that your own auto insurance policy is available to cover bills you accrue in real time so that you can avoid delays in treatment. However, all too often, injured parties can run into problems when seeking coverage despite the fact an insurance policy is in place.
Consumers pay for insurance such as auto insurance or health insurance in order to receive financial compensation in case of an accident and deserve full payment up to the limits of their policy. Unfortunately, insurance companies may not live up to their end of the bargain. It may be that an insurance company does not interpret their own policies correctly or fail to investigate the facts of a case. It may also be that an insurer is purposely denying a claim or undervaluing it to save money – a case of bad faith insurance.
Is the Insurance Company Acting in Bad Faith?
Typically, immediately following an accident, injured parties and their families often receive assurances that the insurer will cover their expenses – no problem. Claims filed with their own auto insurance company may be paid promptly early on, but policy holders may meet resistance as care continues. When they submit a claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company seeking reimbursement, they may hit a brick wall, which may signal the insurer is acting in bad faith.
An insurer may be acting in bad faith when they:
- Delay payment of a valid claims – perhaps stating they need to open an investigation
- Refuse to pay a valid claim – perhaps stating that there was a gap in treatment for an injury or that some procedural requirement was missed
- Deny claims without giving any reason
- Offer less money than a claim is worth
- Fail to conduct a prompt and complete investigation – not bothering to obtain police reports, gather pertinent records, or acknowledge receipt of documents sent by the injured party to substantiate their claim
- Refuse reasonable requests for documentation – not responding to emails, calls or other correspondence
- Misrepresent the law or policy language
Again, it may very well be that an insurance company is not interpreting their own policies correctly or they may not have put forth the effort to investigate the facts of a case. It may also be that the insurance company and their representatives are simply putting company profits over a policy holder’s claim, leaving injured parties and their families in a lurch. The best defense against lackadaisical, misinformed, or unscrupulous practices is to secure the help of an experienced insurance bad faith car accident attorney. Working with a knowledgeable attorney, injured parties can hold insurance companies accountable enabling them to get the complete compensation they deserve. Many are able to secure a far better settlement working with an experienced personal injury attorney simply because insurers realize they have met their match. If you or a family member have been injured in a motor vehicle accident or you have any bad faith insurance matter, contact the experienced insurance negotiation personal injury attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC at 515-244-1473.