If a negligent driver caused you to suffer injuries in a car accident in Henderson, you expect his insurance company to treat you fairly and settle your claim promptly. Unfortunately, they may do the opposite and engage in bad faith tactics to try to deny or reduce your claim—even if your right to compensation is clear-cut.
The insurance company for the at-fault motorist may not be the only one treating you unfairly. If the driver had insufficient or no insurance to pay your claim, you might need to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. Although you may have paid your auto insurance premiums faithfully for years, this may not protect you from poor treatment by your insurance company when you need them the most.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance companies must act in good faith when dealing with their policyholders and victims filing claims following a car accident. They have these obligations when investigating, negotiating, and settling claims. When an insurance company breaches this duty and engages in bad faith tactics, the insured may be able to take legal action. If his own insurance company acted in bad faith, he would have a breach of contract action. If it was the insurance company for a negligent driver, he would have a bad faith insurance claim. Either way, he may be entitled to damages from the insurance company.
Signs That an Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith
Some insurance adjusters take their duties to act in good faith seriously. However, other insurance adjusters will engage in whatever tactics they can to not pay a claim or to settle it for far less than the victim deserves. Here are some signs that the insurance company may not be treating you fairly:
Not giving you any reason for denying your claim.
The insurance company should give a clear reason for denying a claim. If your claim is denied for no reason, you should ask the insurance adjuster to explain why he made this decision. If he refuses to explain this to you, he is not acting in good faith.
Not investigating your claim.
When the insurance company is notified of a car accident claim, they have a duty to conduct a thorough investigation promptly. It is not sufficient to just take a statement from their insured driver and accept his version of what happened. If they are delaying investigating your claim or doing a poor investigation, you may have a bad faith claim against them.
Not paying your claim promptly.
Once your claim is settled, the insurance company must pay your settlement proceeds promptly. Delaying payment for a lengthy period is a breach of their duty to you.
The insurance adjuster should return your telephone calls and emails within a reasonable time. If he ignores your calls or emails or waits a long time to respond, he may be doing so to wear you down and get you to accept less than you are entitled to in your settlement.
Offering you less than what you deserve in a settlement.
Part of the negotiation process may be to start with a low offer. However, it is bad faith for an insurance company to “low-ball” an offer and then refuse to budge from this amount in settlement negotiations.
The insurance company cannot threaten their policyholders or victims who file a claim after a car accident. However, some adjusters will make threatening statements, such as that they are going to take harsh legal action or file criminal charges, in an attempt to scare someone from filing a claim. If the insurance adjuster treats you this way, you should immediately contact an experienced car accident attorney who can take over communications with the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement for you.
Making misrepresentations about the insurance policy or law.
Some insurance adjusters will misstate what the coverage is under the insurance policy or misstate the laws, such as claiming the statute of limitations to sue has expired when it has not, in an effort to deny or reduce your claim. If the insurance company is telling you that your claim is not covered under the policy or that you are not entitled to the compensation you are seeking, you should not take their statements at face value. Instead, you should consult with a lawyer who can tell you whether or not what you are being told is true.
Have You Been Injured In A Henderson Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Henderson office directly at 702.405.600 to schedule your free consultation.