Being involved in an accident of any kind can certainly have a devastating impact on a person’s life and getting financial assistance to recover is imperative, particularly from an insurance company. However, when an insurance company fails to fulfill their obligation and does not act in such a way that is required in a contract, it can be considered “bad faith,” which is legally defined as an intentional dishonest act that does not fulfill legal or contractual obligations, misleads another, and violates basic standards of honesty in dealing with others. Bad faith insurance law is a patchwork of federal and state laws and case decisions that pertain to the practices and conduct of insurance companies.
Examples of bad faith practices can come from insurers of all types, including auto, business, and property insurance. Here are a few common scenarios which may represent bad faith:
- Company does not thoroughly, or promptly, investigate a claim;
- Wrongfully denies a claim;
- Shortchanges a person’s benefits;
- Unreasonable delays occur with the payment of benefits;
- Refusal by the insurer to settle a claim; or
- Insurer uses an unreasonable interpretation of the policy’s terms.
Not all disputes with a person’s insurance company are considered bad faith, and the insurer has the right to question and investigate any bad faith claims made against them. Every state sets its own particular penalties for a proven “bad faith” claim, but all do allow for punitive damages to punish the insurance company and its acts.
Insurance bad faith is illegal, but it can often be difficult to prove or document. Tad Thomas is a skilled Louisville bad faith insurance lawyer with years of legal experience and is committed to protecting the rights of accident victims and those who have been wronged by others.