Common Bad Faith Practices
When it comes to bad behavior, insurance companies have multiple avenues from which to choose. This page is not meant to be a complete breakdown of insurance malpractice in Washington– that can be found here. Rather, these examples are meant to help potential claimants in determining whether or not the insurer in question has actually acted dubiously.
It is common for insurance companies to delay processing your claim for as long as possible, in the hope that policyholders will grow tired of waiting and just pay their expenses themselves. Per state law, every insurer must conduct and complete the investigation of a claim within 30 days of receiving said claim, barring unforeseen circumstances. If your claim has been sitting for more than 30 days, that may be seen as an act of bad faith.
Untenable delays can be seriously detrimental to claimants’ health, as any illness or injury will worsen if treatment is prevented. If your insurer’s delays have caused your conditions to worsen, they may be liable.
Every denied claim must be accompanied by valid reasoning. If you never received any justification from your insurer after your claim was denied, a bad faith claim may be possible.
Every case is supposed to be investigated swiftly and thoroughly. In the event that an investigation did not happen or was incomplete, a bad faith case may be an effective remedy.
Not Settling Eligible Claims
Whenever your insurer denies compensating you for an otherwise eligible claim, the most effective course of action may be through a bad faith claim.
Low Settlement Offers
Insurance companies and their adjusters work hard every day to avoid paying proper compensation– in a perfect world, they’d rather not pay at all. One tactic they have adopted is to come right out of the gate with a settlement offer. A lot of people are drawn to the quick money, even though their injuries are much more severe than the offer warrants. This is one of the biggest reasons why you should hire an attorney to handle your case, so that you don’t leave any money on the table.
Helping to Prove a Bad Faith Claim
You should always consider the following actions when dealing with your insurer, especially when you are considering filing a bad faith claim:
- Keep copies of all communications between you and the insurance company, and that includes emails and digital messages
- Keep copies of your personal records, such as medical records and bills, or any photos of accidents and injuries
- Be sure to take note of any activity regarding your claim (when/if they received it, investigation documents, etc.)
Remember any conversations that may be influential to your case, including telephone and face-to-face conversations. NOTE: This does NOT entail recording a person without their knowledge. If you so wish to record correspondence, be sure to ALWAYS receive permission. Otherwise, simply take note of what the conversation was about and when.
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