The number one thing you need to do after being in a
car accident is stay calm, collected, and focused on gathering evidence that helps
show you were not liable for the collision. This is certainly no easy
task, especially after a particularly violent crash, but it is possible.
If you are successful, your case should be much stronger and your chances
of securing compensation through your claim drastically increased. At
least, in theory.
If you have filed a car accident claim and an insurance provider, either
that of the negligent driver or your own, is not giving it the time of
day, you might be encountering insurance bad faith. As frustrating as
this obstacle between yourself and your recovery may be, there are ways
to overcome it.
What is Insurance Bad Faith?
Before we get into how you can deal with insurance bad faith from a car
insurance carrier, you need to first understand what it is. Make no mistake
– every insurance company has the right and the ability to deny
a claim or pay out a settlement amount less than requested or necessary.
Insurance bad faith, however, is when a claim or insurance policy is denied,
delayed, or altered without any valid or acceptable reasoning.
If several eyewitness testimonies said you were texting and driving at
the time of the crash, the insurance provider would have valid reasoning
to delay paying out your recovery amount; they would clearly have some
investigating to do to determine actual liability. But if they deny or
delay your claim and don’t tell you why, they are using insurance
As outrageous as an insurance company simply not providing information
about a car accident claim denial may sound, this is actually one of the
most common forms of insurance bad faith. Thousands of people will get
a letter or notification from an insurance company saying that their claim
has been denied or is pending investigation, but there will be no reason
why. The real harm occurs when people accept the decision as final, crumple
up the letter, and give up seeking any financial restitution.
What Can I Do About Insurance Bad Faith?
Without oversight or others around, people are more likely to make mistakes
or intentionally do something they know is “wrong.” The same
can be said about some car insurance companies. If you do not question
their decision to deny your claim or reduce its payout amount, you certainly
cannot expect them to change their minds and help you out. If anything,
that company will know that they can easily deny your claim the next time
you file one.
Instead of accepting defeat, take action. Doing this is easier than you
might think. Your first step should be to send a written statement to
the company explicitly stating that you believe they might be using insurance
bad faith when handling your claim. You don’t have to dance around
the subject. Come right out and say it so they know you are serious. If
your claim’s denial was accidental and if you are lucky, the letter
will be enough to catch their attention and fix the mistake. If they are
stubborn and know what they are doing, you might have to take things one
Litigation is Always an Option
Insurance bad faith is a serious issue in today’s marketplace. Consumers
all across the board, from those who purchase car insurance to people
holding homeowners’ insurance policies, all encounter insurance
bad faith on a daily basis. To keep insurance companies honest and protect
others who may soon fall into a similar situation, sometimes the threat
of a lawsuit is the only answer.
Insurance companies are ready for legal challenges, though. Many have in-house
attorneys or legal counsel “on-call” to react fast to any
lawsuit. If you want to go toe-to-toe with them, you are going to need
professional legal representation of your own. If you live in Kansas and
have encountered what you believe to be insurance bad faith after filing
a car accident claim, you can rely on Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, LLC
to help you set things right. Our Wichita car accident attorneys will
attempt to use negotiation to get you a fair settlement amount faster
but we also realize that any case can go to court, so we prepare accordingly.
Want to know more about
our award-winning team? Call 316.313.4137 today and be sure to ask about our contingency fee