If you’ve been injured, odds are the party responsible for compensating you for the damages and losses you have suffered will likely be an insurance company. Whether it’s an auto insurance company, homeowner’s insurance, business insurance, workers’ compensation, or any other type if insurance, you depend on them to act quickly and in good faith to make sure you get the treatment you need for the losses you have sustained.
So naturally it can be frustrating when the insurance company doesn’t seem to have any interest in being there for you. When you need to speak to a claims adjustor, they never seem to be around the office. When you have questions about how your claim is being handled, nobody seems to want to return your call. And when you do finally hear something, it’s not good news and you feel like you’re just getting the short end of the stick.
What you may not realize is that the issues you’re experiencing are not necessarily just a part of the insurance claim process—they could be a sign of insurance bad faith from the provider. Insurance companies are bound by law to act in good faith, even if it means potentially heavy expenses on their part. But companies are businesses which exist to make money, and the more they have to pay out the smaller their bottom line becomes.
While companies are encouraged to do their own investigations to determine their actual liability, that doesn’t stop them from sometimes using underhanded tactics to try and dodge some of their liability or delay the process in hopes of getting you to give up. And that only comes back to hurt you, who is depending on that provider to be there for you.
Here are four insurance bad faith actions that could indicate your insurance company is not handling your claim with honest intentions.
Does it seem like you’ve already filled out this particular form before? Twice? Three times or more? Requiring excessive or unnecessary paperwork may not be a sign that the company you’re dealing with isn’t just disorganized—they could be using this as a delay tactic to avoid having to pay your claim.
Failure to Respond
You’ve followed the claims process correctly, and now you’re stuck playing the waiting game while trying to continue to recover and get treatment. Yet the adjustor at the insurance company may as well have just disappeared off the planet. Avoiding your calls or failing to get back to you isn’t always a sign that the adjustor is busy: it’s a bad faith tactic to try and draw the claim out in hopes of getting the claimant to accept a smaller settlement.
You’ve waited and finally you’ve received an offer for a settlement which should help you continue to get the treatment you need and deserve after your accident. However, the offer comes in and it’s lower than you thought it might be—a lot lower. This is also not an uncommon bad faith tactic—by opening negotiations with an extremely low number, this causes people to doubt their claim was worth as much as they thought and thus be willing to take a much lower settlement amount. This isn’t necessarily true, just an unethical strategy from an insurance company acting in bad faith.
Failure to Pay
You’ve finally come to an agreement on a reasonable settlement amount, but you wait and wait and the money never seems to come in. Insurance companies will often do this as well: hold out on paying even further as an attempt to get claimants to be willing to take a smaller amount even after reaching an agreement.
Holding Bad Faith Insurers Accountable
Unfortunately, insurance bad faith has been known to put a number of people into financial dire straits as they continue to try to fund their own treatment while waiting for their settlement. If you think you might be dealing with an unethical insurer acting in bad faith, you need to move quickly to hold them accountable. Having a qualified Martin County personal injury attorney on your side can keep insurance companies in check and protect your rights. That way you can be sure your insurance company isn’t abusing your rights or giving you the runaround while looking to protect their bottom line.If you think you may be the victim of insurance bad faith actions, call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC at (866) 675-4427 to request a case evaluation now!