Sue Insurance for Bad Faith

October 4, 2023

Sue Insurance for Bad Faith

Table of Contents

When you invest in an insurance policy, you’re not just buying a piece of paper with terms and conditions. You’re securing peace of mind, trusting that when the unexpected happens, your insurance company will stand by you.

But what if they don’t? What if, instead of support, you face unjust denials or delays? This is where the concept of “bad faith” comes into play.

Bad faith by an insurance company isn’t just disappointing—it’s a breach of trust and, in many cases, a violation of the law. This guide dives deep into the murky waters of insurance bad faith, shedding light on how to recognize it and, more importantly, how to fight back.  Let’s embark on this journey to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge to protect your rights.

Understanding Bad Faith in Insurance

Insurance is a promise—a commitment that when things go awry, your insurance company will be there to help. But when they act in “bad faith,” they’re breaking that promise. So, what exactly does bad faith mean in the insurance world?

At its core, bad faith is when an insurance company deliberately denies or delays a claim without a valid reason. It’s not just about a simple misunderstanding or an honest mistake. It’s a conscious decision to not uphold their end of the bargain.

For instance, imagine you’ve had a minor kitchen fire. You’ve been paying your homeowner’s insurance diligently for years, believing that if something like this ever happened, you’d be covered. But when you file your claim, the insurance company denies it without a clear reason.

That sinking feeling? That’s the realization that your insurance company might be acting in bad faith. But why would they do that? Often, it boils down to money.

Insurance companies, like all businesses, aim to maximize profits. Sometimes, this can lead to them acting in ways that aren’t in the best interest of their policyholders. They might think they can get away with it, but the law is clear: insurance companies have a duty to act honestly and fairly with their customers. When they don’t, they can be held accountable.

And here’s the kicker—the consequences of bad faith go beyond just the financial. It’s about trust. You trusted your insurance company to be there for you, and they let you down. It’s a betrayal that can leave you feeling vulnerable and frustrated.

Factoids about Bad Faith in Insurance

Factoid Description
Concept Origin The idea of penalizing insurers for unfair claim settlement practices in first-party insurance is a newer development.
State Laws Many states allow recovery of consequential damages, attorney’s fees, and prejudgment interest in bad faith cases.
Concerns There are concerns about the uniformity and desirability of the results from the development of the law of first-party bad faith.
Legal Complexity Variation in state legal regimes increases the uncertainty and complexity for insurance companies.
Paper’s Focus The paper traces the evolution of first-party insurance bad faith law and discusses various court and legislative approaches.
Empirical Evidence Bad faith remedies might not function optimally in practice.
Impact of Tort Liability Allowing tort liability for insurance bad faith can reduce insurer incentives to challenge disputable claims, leading to higher costs.
Legislative Changes Recent changes in some states may lead to greater uncertainty, higher costs for insurers, increased fraud, and higher premiums for consumers.

Signs of Bad Faith by an Insurance Company

Recognizing bad faith can be tricky. It’s not always as blatant as a denied claim without reason. Sometimes, it’s subtle actions—or inactions—that hint at a deeper problem. So, how can you tell if your insurance company is not playing fair?

  • Refusal Without Reason
  • Lowball Offers
  • Dragging Their Feet
  • Ghosting You
  • Twisting Words
  • Intimidation Games
  • Denying the Obvious
  • Paperwork Overload
  • Misleading Statements
  • Shifting Goalposts

Remember that just because you spot one or more of these signs doesn’t mean you should give up. On the contrary, it means it’s time to take action. Bear in mind that you have rights, and there are laws in place to protect you.

Steps to Sue for Bad Faith

Taking on an insurance company might seem daunting, but with the right steps and guidance, you can ensure your rights are protected. If you suspect your insurance company is acting in bad faith, here’s a roadmap to help you navigate this challenging terrain:

  1. Before anything else, get a hold of your insurance policy. This document is the foundation of your relationship with the insurance company. By reviewing it, you can determine if there’s been a breach. Ensure your claim aligns with the terms of your contract.
  2. In the world of insurance claims, documentation is king. Whether it’s photos of the damage, receipts, or correspondence with the insurance company—keep everything. And don’t just store them—create a detailed log. Who did you speak to? When? What was discussed? This log can be invaluable later on.
  3. If your claim is denied, don’t accept it at face value. Request a review from a higher-up at the insurance company. Sometimes, a second look can change the outcome. And if it doesn’t? It’s time to escalate.
  4. Before heading to court, show the insurance company you’re serious. Draft a detailed demand letter outlining your claim and the reasons you believe they’re acting in bad faith. This step is crucial—it demonstrates you’ve tried to resolve the issue amicably.
  5. Every state has a department dedicated to overseeing insurance companies. If you believe your claim has been mishandled, file a complaint. While this might not directly result in a payout, it adds another layer of pressure on the insurance company.
  6. If all else fails, it’s time to take legal action. This step is complex and requires a deep understanding of the law. You’ll need to decide where to file, gather evidence, and build a compelling case. But remember, even if the insurance company offers a settlement, you can still pursue your bad faith lawsuit.
  7. This journey isn’t one you should undertake alone. An experienced attorney can be your guiding light, helping you understand the intricacies of the law and ensuring your rights are protected.

Callender Bowlin defends policyholders against unfair insurance practices and claim underpayments for both commercial and residential properties.

Proving Bad Faith in Your Insurance Claim

When you’re up against an insurance company, evidence is your strongest ally. Think of it this way: your claim is the entity, the actions of the insurance company are the attributes, and the evidence you gather is the value.

However, how do you know if they’re acting in bad faith? Well, did they take 60 days to respond when they usually take 15? Did they offer you $2,000 for damages that clearly cost $10,000 to repair? These discrepancies can be glaring signs.

And it’s not just about numbers—sometimes, it’s about behavior. If they’re constantly dodging your calls or giving you the runaround, you’ve got to ask: Why are they doing this? Is it because they don’t want to pay? These questions can guide your approach.

Now, consider John—a homeowner who faced a similar situation. His roof was damaged in a storm, and repair estimates came in at $5,000. But his insurance company offered a mere $1,000! It’s the most blatant example of bad faith. And it’s not just about the money. It’s the emotional toll, the sleepless nights, and the sheer frustration of being treated unfairly.

Here’s the silver lining: with the right evidence and approach, you can hold them accountable. Whether it’s showcasing their history of such practices or highlighting the financial impact on you, the goal is clear—justice.

When faced with bad faith from an insurance company, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. But the law is on your side, offering several avenues for recourse.

The first step is understanding your rights. Every policyholder has the right to fair treatment and timely claim processing. If an insurance company fails in this duty, they can be held accountable. But how do you go about it?

One of the most effective ways is through financial compensation. If you’ve suffered losses—be it from property damage that wasn’t adequately compensated or additional costs incurred due to delays—you deserve to be made whole.

For instance, if your property damage was valued at $20,000 and you were only offered $10,000, that’s a clear $10,000 discrepancy. And it’s not just about the tangible losses. The stress, the time spent, and the emotional turmoil—all have a price.

Beyond financial compensation, there’s the option of filing complaints with regulatory agencies. These bodies oversee insurance companies, ensuring they adhere to the law. If you’ve been wronged, they can step in, offering mediation or even sanctions against the insurance company.

What if these steps don’t yield results? That’s where legal action comes into play. Taking an insurance company to court might sound daunting, but it’s a powerful tool in ensuring justice.

Whether it’s through punitive damages in severe cases of bad faith or simply ensuring you get the compensation you deserve, the courts can be a game-changer.

One crucial aspect to remember is the importance of timely action. Legal proceedings have deadlines, known as statutes of limitations. Missing these can jeopardize your case. So, it’s essential to act swiftly.

And while the journey might be challenging, remember—you’re not alone. Callender Bowlin is here to guide and support. With the right approach and unwavering determination, bad faith doesn’t stand a chance.

The Impact of Bad Faith on Policyholders

Bad faith actions by insurance companies do more than just deny claims—they shatter trust. Many rely on insurance as a safety net, paying premiums with the belief that they’ll be supported during tough times.

But when insurers act unfairly, it’s not just about money. A denied $50,000 home repair claim can lead to financial stress, forcing some to dip into savings or even forgo repairs. Beyond finances, the emotional strain is immense. Battling an insurer, coupled with feelings of betrayal, can weigh heavily on one’s mental health.

This distrust can spread, making people wary of the entire insurance industry. They might hesitate to file genuine claims, fearing unjust treatment. But there’s hope. Legal pathways can hold these companies accountable.

With the support of advocates like Callender Bowlin, policyholders can stand up against bad faith, ensuring they get the justice they deserve and restoring faith in the insurance system.

Need Help with Bad Faith Insurance Claims? Call Callender Bowlin!

If you’re facing challenges with an insurance company acting in bad faith, don’t navigate this journey alone. Reach out to Callender Bowlin at (713) 955-9719.

As dedicated insurance bad faith attorneys, they’re committed to ensuring you get the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve.