When you file a claim for compensation after suffering injuries in a car accident, a claims adjuster will be assigned to investigate your collision and negotiate your settlement. If the negligent driver had insufficient insurance to fully compensate you, you may also file a claim with your own insurance company under underinsured motorist and other insurance coverage if you purchased them. While some insurance adjusters will treat you fairly, others for both the negligent driver’s and your own insurance company will act in bad faith in negotiating your settlement.
What Are Bad Faith Tactics in Car Accident Claims?
All insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith in investigating and negotiating settlements of claims. Good faith is engaging in honest and fair dealings with a person making a claim. When an insurance company acts in bad faith, you are not being treated fairly or receiving what you are entitled to in your settlement. If the adjuster works for your own insurance company, you may have a separate bad faith claim against the company.
There are many different ways that insurance companies can act in bad faith that you need to be aware of when settling a car accident claim. Some examples include:
- Denying a claim for no reason. An insurance company has a duty to give a reason for a denial of a claim. If yours is denied for no reason or an obviously invalid one, the company may be acting in bad faith.
- Not investigating a claim. If the insurance company refuses to investigate your claim, delays unreasonably long in doing so, or only conducts a poor investigation, this may be a sign of bad faith tactics.
- Delaying paying a claim. When the insurance company delays paying a valid claim without reasonable justification, this may be grounds for a bad faith claim.
- Making a low settlement offer. Some insurance companies will offer to settle a claim, but for an amount that is far less than the value of the claim. This is not acting in good faith. You should never accept a settlement offer without first consulting with an experienced car accident attorney to be certain that you receive what you deserve.
- Mistaking the law or contract terms. Insurance companies have a duty to be honest in their statements of the law and policy terms. This duty can be breached if the adjuster mistakes the law, such as the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit, or coverage under an insurance policy.
Are you worried that the insurance company is acting in bad faith in settling your claim? Our experienced car accident attorneys can take over negotiations with the insurance company so that your rights are protected and you receive a fair settlement. To get started, fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.