Bad Faith Insurance Claims
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You depend on your insurance company to be there for you during an injury or accident. Your insurer should provide you and anyone else who is injured with the appropriate compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damages, mental anguish, and other losses specified in your policy. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes insurance companies wrongfully deny or under value claims.
The wrongful denial or under valuation of a claim is known as a bad faith insurance claim. Bad faith insurance claims are illegal and occur when an insurance company attempts to get away with unfair practices by taking advantage of people who are unfamiliar with the law. In an article entitled “An Excess Judgment Case: Tort Claims Against a Liability Insurer for Wrongfully Failing to Settle,” published in the Spring 2015 Journal of the Alabama Association for Justice, attorney Keith T. Belt, Jr. discussed bad faith insurance claims.
If you were injured and an insurance company is denying or delaying your claim, contact our experienced Birmingham personal injury lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. We understand that insurance companies try to get rid of claims in any way possible. Don’t let them take advantage of you. We will make sure they carefully evaluate your claim and pay a reasonable amount for your losses. Contact us today at .
Top Bad Faith Case Results
Good Faith Is Required of Insurance Companies
While you would like to obtain the maximum compensation for your case, your insurance company may want to keep its money by paying you less than you deserve or failing to pay you at all. They may do so by automatically denying your claim, lowballing a settlement, or delaying payments.
Under Alabama law, insurance companies are required to act in good faith. Whether you are making a first-party claim as the person who is insured or a third-party claim as someone who was injured by the person who is insured, the insurance company must carefully evaluate the claim and act in good faith. That requires the insurance company to:
- Adequately investigate the facts of the claim
- Consider the strengths and weaknesses of all evidence
- Honestly evaluate the claim
- Honestly interpret the insurance policy
- Consider the financial interests of the person insured
- Settle within policy limits, if possible
- Consider the likelihood that the claimant will sue and win
- Evaluate the possible range of a verdict if the claimant sues and wins
Identifying Bad Faith Tactics
You may be wondering what types of tactics insurance companies use in bad faith insurance claims. The attorneys at Belt & Bruner, P.C., have worked with a wide variety of cases related to bad faith insurance claims. Some of the most common bad faith tactics they see in bad faith insurance claims include:
- Denying coverage without a claim investigation
- Refusing to negotiate a fair settlement when the liability is obvious
- Delaying payments of valid claims
- Misinterpreting laws or language in an insurance policy
- Refusing documentation requests or a written explanation of the reasons a claim was denied
- Offering a substantially less settlement than the claim is worth
- Transferring a claim multiple times to a number of different claim adjuster
- Threatening the policyholder with disrespectful or inappropriate statements
Recovering Compensation for Bad Faith
A bad faith insurance claim must be proven through circumstances and facts that demonstrate that an insurance company has acted in bad faith. Since bad faith insurance claims can be difficult to prove, it’s essential to consult an experienced bad faith insurance attorney who can thoroughly investigate your claim and build a strong case.
Proving bad faith and making a recovery can be different for first- and third- party claims.
- First-Party Bad Faith Claims – If an insurance company delays or denies an insurance claim without debatable reason, it is acting in bad faith and may be liable for punitive damages in addition to the losses incurred by the claimant.
- Third-Party Bad Faith Claims – If an insurance company delays or denies an insurance claim unreasonably, after considering the totality of the circumstances, it may be liable for punitive damages in addition to the losses incurred by the claimant.
While insurance companies typically do not have to pay claims more than policy limits, in both first- and third-party cases, an insurance company may be liable for the full amount of a verdict that is recovered if it acts in bad faith.
Belt & Bruner, P.C Gets Results in Bad Faith Cases
Belt & Bruner, P.C. has extensive experience getting results for clients in bad faith cases. We will represent the person injured as well as the person insured who should have been protected by the insurance company in order to seek compensation in excess of policy limits from an insurance company that acted in bad faith in denying or delaying a claim. It’s important to note that the outcome of each case is dependent on its unique factors and case results do not guarantee or predict the same result in a similar or future case.
How Belt & Bruner, P.C Can Help
If you or a loved one has an underpaid, delayed or denied insurance claim that you believe should be covered, it is time to take legal action. By consulting a bad faith insurance attorney, you may obtain the compensation you deserve for the harm you’ve experienced.
Contact the highly skilled Alabama bad faith attorneys at Belt & Bruner, P.C. today by calling . We’ll be happy to provide you with a free, confidential case consultation. We accept bad faith insurance claim cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not owe us a penny unless we help recover payment on your claim.