Examples of Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Insurance companies have numerous ways in which they can violate the obligations they have to their policyholders. This is by no means a comprehensive list of Washington insurance malpractice, which can be found here. However, these scenarios may be helpful for potential claimants to better identify whether or not their insurer has acted in bad faith.
Denials for invalid reasons or unreasonable justification
- As you would expect, insurers must provide reasoning for any claim that is denied. If your claim was denied and you never received any explanation, or the explanation was not valid, you may be eligible for a bad faith claim.
- A common tactic for insurance companies is to delay the processing of your claim. They hope that claimants will eventually back down and pay their own costs out of pocket. Under Washington law, each insurer must complete the claim investigation within 30 days after being notified of the claim, unless there are unforeseen complications. Failure to do may be considered an act of bad faith.
- Unnecessary delays can have a huge impact, especially with regards to medical care and treatment. An injury or illness will only get worse the longer it is left untreated, and if you sustain injuries because of these delays, your insurer may be held responsible.
Incomplete or inaccurate investigations
- Each claim is expected to receive a swift and exhaustive investigation or review. If this has not happened or never happened, a bad faith claim is possible.
Offering low settlements
- The job of insurance adjusters is to pay the least amount possible, and ideally nothing at all for your claim. One strategy they use often is to jump in very early with an offer in hopes that you will be attracted by the quick cash, when in reality your injuries are worth much more. Situations like these are one of the biggest reasons why it is important to speak with a bad faith insurance attorney before signing anything, as you are probably relinquishing a lot of money by doing so.
Refusing to settle eligible claims
- When your insurance company refuses to compensate you for a valid claim that is covered by your policy, a bad faith suit may be the most efficient solution.
Actions to Take In Proving Bad Faith
You can assist us in proving your insurer acted in bad faith by taking the following actions:
- Document and keep all correspondence between you and the insurer, including any digital communication
- Save any records that may be beneficial to your case, such as medical bills or photos of any damage or injuries
- Document any activity regarding the processing your claim
- Keep note of any telephone calls and in-person interactions (NOTE: this does NOT mean recording calls or conversations surreptitiously, simply to note that they happened and when)
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