When you pay these premiums, you do so with the belief that when and if your time of need comes, your insurer will pay you fairly and will provide you with the benefits promised under the policy.
Unfortunately, sometimes an insurance company does not live up to its end of the bargain.
When this occurs, it is time to call an insurance attorney for legal help.
Bad Faith Insurance Claims Insurance policies are actually contracts with your insurance company in which you agree to pay premiums and the insurance company promises that they will cover you for certain events in exchange for the payment of those premiums.
The contract of insurance outlines when an insurer will pay and what your obligations are.
However, the law also imposes another contractual requirement that is not specifically outlined in your insurance policy: the obligation of good faith and fair dealing.
The obligation of good faith is referred to as the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
It essentially indicates that the insurance company promises to act fairly in paying claims.
When the insurance company does not act in a fair and reasonable manner, they are considered to be engaged in bad faith (BF).
When this occurs, you can bring a BF lawsuit.
What is a Bad Faith Lawsuit? A bad faith lawsuit is a tort or personal injury action.
It is very different in some key ways from a breach of contract claim which would be your only recourse against your insurer if the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing did not exist.
While a breach of contract case limits your damages to actual provable financial loss, a tort claim for BF provides much broader compensation.
In fact, when you bring a BF cause of action against an insurance company, you may even be entitled to collect punitive damages (compensation intended not to make you whole for actual loss but instead to punish the defendant for willful or egregious wrongdoing).
A bad faith lawsuit, therefore, can result in a significant amount of compensation being awarded to a plaintiff.
When Can You Claim Bad Faith? Of course, you cannot claim your insurance company is acting in BF every single time they do not do what you want.
In order for you to make a bad faith claim, the insurance company must act without reasonable justification in denying claims, failing to pay claims, or failing to pay the amounts provided for in the insurance policy.
In other words, the insurer must somehow unreasonably deny you the insurance coverage you paid for.
An experienced insurance attorney can help you to understand when an insurer acts unfairly or in bad faith.
They can also help you to gather the evidence you need to prove BF so you can recover the compensation you deserve.
Have more questions not covered in this article? Find an attorney specializing in BF claims and contact them for a free consultation.