When you are injured in a car accident, you expect the insurance company for the other driver to treat you with respect and settle your injury claim fairly and timely. That is the main purpose of the state requiring insurance coverage for drivers, so that injured victims have a means of seeking and receiving compensation when they are injured in a crash. Problems arise when insurance companies act in bad faith.
However, some insurance providers do not act in good faith when they handle an injury claim. They attempt to deny or undervalue the claim to save money, even though they know that their insured driver was responsible for causing your injuries, financial losses, pain, and suffering. If you are having trouble with an insurance claim, contact our Sacramento personal injury attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your claim and how we can help.
What is Bad Faith?
It is common and legal for an insurance company to investigate an injury claim fully to ensure that it is not paying more than a claim is worth. The insurance company also has the right to ensure that it is not paying for a claim that is not its liability to pay. However, the law obligates insurance providers to handle all claims with good faith.
By law, insurance companies must take certain steps to process an injury claim when the insurance company receives a claim. For example, the insurance company must adequately investigate your claim, provide certain information to you regarding your claim, and provide an explanation for a denial of a claim within a reasonable time. If the claim is approved, the company has an obligation to negotiate a fair settlement of your claim.
If the insurance company fails to take reasonable, necessary steps to investigate, process, and settle a valid claim, it could be found to have been acting in bad faith.
Five Top Signs of Bad Faith Insurance
There are many signs that an insurance provider is acting in bad faith. The top five signs to watch for when filing an insurance claim for a car accident include:
- There are unreasonable delays in accepting your claim and confirming that your claim has been filed. You should receive a claim number immediately or within a day after filing your claim.
- The insurance company refuses to communicate with you by failing to respond to telephone messages or other forms of communication.
- The insurance company denies your claim without providing an explanation. A denial of claim should be in writing with detailed reasons for denying the claim.
- Requests for unreasonable documentation are another sign of bad faith. Remember, insurance companies like to ask for written and recorded statements as well as signed medical authorization forms. See an attorney before agreeing to provide statements or sign a medical authorization form.
- Very low offers to settle the case quickly. If a company suspects that your claim may be worth a lot of money, it may try to get rid of the claim by “lowballing” a quick offer to entice you to sign a full release of all claims.
Other signs of bad faith by an insurance company also include:
- Denying a claim without any investigation of your insurance claim.
- Failing to make timely payment after settlement.
- Unreasonably blaming you for the cause of the accident.
- Bullying, pressuring, or threatening you to accept a low settlement offer.
- Repeatedly telling you that hiring a personal injury lawyer will hurt your chances of receiving top dollars for your claim.
- Using improper investigation techniques.
- Canceling or changing an insurance policy without justification.
- Dragging out a claim to exceed the statutes of limitations.
There could be other instances of bad faith. If you suspect bad faith by an insurance provider, contact an attorney immediately. You may be entitled to additional compensation for the acts of bad faith on top of the compensation you deserve for your personal injury claim.
Contact Our Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for a Free Case Review
Discuss your car accident and issues of bad faith insurance tactics with a personal injury lawyer at The Tiemann Law Firm. Call (916) 999-9000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our California car accident settlement attorneys.