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 bad faith.
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 step further.
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) 688-1166 today and be sure to ask about our contingency fee agreements.