What is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance bad faith refers to any instance in which an insurance company fails to honor a legitimate claim filed by an insured party. Insurance companies enter into contracts that establish a legal relationship between the insurer and insured. When an insurance company wrongfully fails to pay out on a covered claim, the company is acting in bad faith.
Insurance bad faith law seeks to protect people who are insured from having their claims rejected unfairly. The law requires that insurance companies honor their contracts and pay the correct amount for covered claims. If an insurance company denies a claim simply for its own economic benefit, it is guilty of bad faith.
Examples of insurance bad faith include:
· Denying a legitimate claim
· Unnecessarily postponing payment of a claim
· Manipulating the language of a contract in order to avoid paying out on a claim
· Paying out for only part of a covered claim
· Neglecting to process or investigate a claim
· Routinely denying claims when they are first filed
Rights of the Insured in Cases of Insurance Bad Faith
Laws exist that are intended to protect the rights of the insured when an insurance company commits an act of bad faith. A qualified insurance bad faith attorney can help victims of bad faith receive compensation. Insurance companies found to have committed acts of bad faith may be required to pay benefits that were originally denied as well as legal costs incurred by the insured party. The court may also award damages for any harm that resulted from having the claim denied, including emotional trauma. In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded.
If you have been the victim of insurance bad faith, you may want to contact an experienced insurance attorney and/or an experienced bad faith insurance expert witness to learn more about your legal rights.