If you believe the insurance company in your personal injury case is acting in bad faith, you must gather evidence to document your case. This may include the following:
- Paperwork showing the details of your claim
- Notes about your communication with the insurance carrier
- Documentation of your attempts to get the claim resolved
When an insurance company refuses to evaluate a claim honestly and fairly, the claimant or policyholder can pursue a bad faith claim against them. Calling in a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the process and prove bad faith could allow you to recover fair compensation for your initial claim and additional money due to the company’s bad behavior.
What Evidence do You Need to Prove Bad Faith?
Winning a bad faith case against an insurance carrier may require you to prove that your original claim was valid and that the insurer unfairly handled your claim. Your case should include strong evidence to show that your policy should provide coverage and that the policyholder is liable for denying you the money you deserve.
You likely already have strong evidence against the liable party. A compelling case is necessary before you file an insurance claim and demand fair compensation. This evidence should show:
- The accused party acted negligently
- They caused your accident and injuries
- The damages you suffered and their value
To prove bad faith, you will need documentation that the insurance carrier wrongfully denied or delayed your claim, or otherwise acted unreasonably. This could come from letters, emails, telephone transcripts, or other communication with the adjuster, copies of the policy you purchased, and other relevant paperwork.
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What Is Bad Faith?
According to the Legal Information Institute (LII), bad faith occurs when there is dishonesty or fraud in a transaction. Insurance companies have a duty to uphold the policies they sell and handle claims in an honest and forthright way. When they refuse to do so, it might be bad faith.
There are many ways an insurance carrier can act in bad faith. Some examples include:
- Denying a claim without a valid reason
- Refusing to give a reason for a claim denial
- Refusing to pay a reasonable amount based on claim facts
- Delaying a decision on the claim unreasonably
- Failing to investigate the incident
- Conducting a biased investigation
- Interpreting the policy in an unduly restrictive way
Do You Need a Lawyer If You Believe the Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith?
If you are handling your personal injury insurance claim on your own and the carrier is not cooperating, you may want to contact an attorney immediately. In many cases, insurance adjusters will reconsider denials or increase settlement offers as soon as they see an attorney working on a case. While this should not happen, it does. They know the lawyer has the knowledge, experience, and resources to hold them accountable.
If you struggle to get the insurance company to cooperate with you on your claim, hiring a personal injury law firm could fix the problem. Alternatively, the attorney will recognize if there are any examples of bad faith and can help you move forward with your claim against the insurer, as well.
Pursuing Damages in a Bad Faith Insurance Case
Most people want to recover fair compensation for their personal injuries and put the case behind them. Insurance carrier bad faith makes this more difficult. Unfortunately, dealing with bad faith accusations and navigating the process to hold them responsible takes time. However, additional damages are available when you win one of these cases. The three types of damages you may be able to recover in a bad faith case include:
Your Initial Recoverable Damages
The recoverable damages you were pursuing when you filed the initial claim with the insurer are usually available through your bad faith case. These are your expenses and losses from your accident and injuries. They vary from case to case but often include:
- Current and future medical treatment expenses
- Ongoing care and support necessary for lasting injuries
- Lost income to date
- Future lost income
- Property damages
Your attorney can listen to the details of your case to determine if any other damages are recoverable.
Extracontractual damages are the expenses and losses you incurred because of bad faith. This could include your out-of-pocket costs, attorney’s fees, and intangible damages such as emotional distress.
If you pursue a bad faith insurance case, you and your attorney should work together to document all related expenditures. This makes it easier to show your extracontractual damages when it comes time to calculate a court award.
Punitive damages are rare in most personal injury lawsuits but may be recoverable in many bad faith cases. Punitive damages do not reflect losses or expenses you endured. Instead, they stem from the insurer’s bad behavior.
The purpose of punitive damages is to penalize the defendant and teach others in the same position not to act in the same way. Some states limit punitive damages. Your attorney can explain how this could affect your payout in your case.
Talk to an Injury Lawyer from Our Team for Free Today
The Morris Bart law firm provides free initial case consultations for victims hurt by someone else’s negligence. This includes car accident victims and those hurt in other personal injury cases. Our team represents clients hurt across the Gulf South, serving Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
Contact us today for your free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. We can help you understand your options and may guide your next steps in pursuing a bad faith case against an insurer.
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