A person who is going through the hassle and inconvenience of a car accident may be comforted by the belief that his insurance company will pay the costs of the accident. However, even when a driver did not cause the accident, his insurance company may not always immediately pay on a car insurance claim.
Car insurance claim denials happen for a variety of reasons. In some cases, it is because a person waits too long after the accident, or does some other action to affect their chances of being covered. In other cases, the insurance company denies a legitimate claim in bad faith.
An insurance company can be found to have denied a claim in bad faith if it can be shown that there was no reasonable basis for denying the claim. There are some signs of a bad faith denial of an insurance claim. The following may be signs of a bad faith insurance claim denial by the insurance company: failure to give a reason for the denial of a claim; taking a long time to consider a claim before denying it without explanation; inadequate investigation of a claim; if the insurance company engages in intentional misrepresentation in order to deny a valid claim; or, attempts to settle a claim for less than the claim is worth.
Once a person’s claim is denied in bad faith, the person may resubmit the claim in the hopes that the insurance company will realize its mistake and approve the claim. If the claim was really denied in bad faith, this is not likely to change the result. The insurance company may be denying the claim in order to settle a claim. Therefore, before resubmitting the claim or negotiating directly with the insurance company it is wise to consult an attorney and have him or her deal with the insurance company.
A person whose claim is denied in bad faith can file a lawsuit against the insurance company. The specific theory under which the lawsuit would be filed can vary. If after the lawsuit is filed the court finds that the insurance company acted in bad faith, it can require the company to pay the cost of the claim under the policy. The court can also require the insurance company to pay for other expenses that the person filing the claim suffered as a result of the bad faith denial. In some cases, the court may also require the insurance company to pay punitive damages to deter it from making bad faith denials in the future and as a warning to other insurance companies to not engage in similar behavior.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
Making an insurance claim may not always be straightforward, and you need an experienced attorney to make sure that your claim is not denied in bad faith. If you were injured in a car accident or suffered property damage in a car accident in which you were not at fault, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida for a free consultation.