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Insurance Bad Faith

An insurance policy is a contract between the insurance company and its insured, the car owner or home owner. Every insurance policy contract contains what is called an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” which means neither party will do anything to injure the right of the other to receive the benefits of the agreement.

Insurance companies are required to willingly and fairly pay their insured’s claims properly and promptly in “good faith.” It is illegal to willingly not pay, discount or lowball, delay, or deny payment of legitimate claims in “bad faith.” When claims go unpaid in bad faith, you, the insured, is damaged and suffers economic harm and possible mental distress associated with the insurance company’s failure to act in good faith.

An insurance company has committed bad faith if it:

  • Unreasonably stalls on making a decision on a claim
  • Denies a claim that it knows is legitimate
  • Requires unreasonable actions or documentation by the insured
  • Fails to settle a claim within its policy limits when it should have done so had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured

Determining whether an insurance company has acted in bad faith is a complex matter. So before filing a claim, it is important that to contact an insurance bad faith lawyer at the Law Office of Paul W. VanDerwerken to make sure pursuing a case for bad faith is justified. There are a few basic rules that an insurance company should follow. If not, the insured can seek compensation.

  • A company should not undervalue a claim
  • A company should not delay the payment of benefits
  • A company should not avoid coverage and deny a claim for profit

If in a lawsuit bad faith is claimed and proved, then damages and attorney’s fees will be awarded to the plaintiff.

Not all disputes with your insurer fall into the category of “bad faith” and the insurer is allowed to question and investigate claims. However, the instance of “bad faith” with business insurers are rising, especially in the wake of the hurricanes and other market pressures on insurers. Each state sets its own particular penalties for a proven “bad faith” breach by an insurer. All allow for punitive damages to punish the company and its acts if the insurer did indeed act in bad faith. If you suspect that your dealings with your insurer have been less than fair or that the insurer is not following the terms of the policy, you will want to contact and discuss the matter with Mr. VanDerwerken.

The following are among the bad faith tactics insurance companies often use:

  • Failure to investigate your claim in a timely manner
  • Failure to investigate your claim thoroughly
  • Failure to offer a settlement within a reasonable amount of time when the investigation is complete
  • Failure to inform you of additional benefits
  • Altering the policy without your knowledge
  • Failure to follow claims’ manual procedures
  • Concealing facts about your claim
  • Delaying payment
  • Unreasonably denying benefits
  • Using any form of fraud or harassment during the claims investigation
  • Using unreasonable interpretations in translating policy language
  • Refusing to settle your case
  • Refusing to reimburse your loss in its entirety

If you think you may be a victim of insurance bad faith claims handling practices, your first step should be finding trusted legal advice. You need the bargaining power of an expert plaintiff’s insurance lawyer on your side. Paul W. VanDerwerken has over 25 years of experience in handling insurance bad faith cases. With an in-depth investigation of your case, our legal team can help you determine the approximate value of your claim. Those victimized by an insurance company acting in bad faith can recover all damages proven, including those in excess of the policy limits, any interest on unpaid benefits, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and possibly punitive damages. Contact our office today at 702-385-5050 for a free consultation. We are located in Las Vegas and serve clients throughout the state of Nevada.

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