Bad Faith Insurance Practices in Car Accident Claims
8th April 2022
The process of filing any sort of personal injury claim after a car accident can be stressful and frustrating. When your insurance company fails to come through, by either low-balling your claim or denying it entirely, you might feel hopeless. But you can fight, and a personal injury attorney can help you do just that.
Sand Law car accident attorneys know all of the tricks that insurance companies play. You would think they would do everything they can to make sure their clients are taken care of after being injured. But that’s not the way it works in far too many instances. If you have any reason to believe your insurance carrier is acting in bad faith, get in touch with us as soon as you can.
Please schedule a free consultation by using our online contact form, or by giving us a call at 701-609-1510.
What are Bad Faith Practices?
You might have been rear-ended by a drunk driver, and now you’re suffering from severe back and neck pain. It’s natural that you assume your insurance company is going to pay for the mounting medical bills and other expenses that you’ve incurred. Insurance companies are supposed to follow through on their obligations. They have to abide by the terms of the policies they issue their clients. In other words, they’re supposed to act in good faith.
But in far too many instances, insurers do the exact opposite. They act in bad faith. In the process of doing this, they make lives miserable for the people they’re supposed to help. What does it mean for an insurance company to act in bad faith? Here are just a few examples:
- Failing to conduct a timely, thorough investigation of the claim.
- Failing to pay a claim, even though the evidence of liability is clear.
- Not giving a reasonable explanation when denying a claim.
There are obviously many other ways an insurance company can act in bad faith. If your claim has been denied (or even if you have reason to believe it will be denied) and the insurer will not reconsider its position, then you could very well have grounds to file a bad faith lawsuit. An experienced attorney may be able to persuade the carrier to rethink its position.
North Dakota Bad Faith Law
When an insurance company acts in bad faith, this is also known as a breach of contract. The contract in this case is the car insurance policy. When a breach occurs, the victim may be able to sue for damages. The two main types of damages you may be able to obtain are known as economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include attorney fees and other costs associated with the lawsuit. Non-economic damages include issues such as mental anguish, worry and anxiety.
While both categories are important, it’s particularly important that you understand how non-economic damages could affect your case. When you pay your insurance premium each month, you do so with the expectation that the carrier will come through for you when you need to make a claim. When it fails to do so, that can lead to a great deal of mental anguish.
For example, you might constantly worry about if you’ll be able to afford the money it will take to get the treatment you need. You might be extremely angry that the insurer is basically calling you a liar. You also have to deal with the uncertainty of not knowing whether or not your finances will be ruined for years.
To make all of this worse, the accident wasn’t even your fault in the first place. You’re the victim, and now you’ve been victimized again by your insurance company.
These are some of the reasons why there’s a chance you may be able to obtain a significant amount of money by suing for bad faith. In some instances, juries will award punitive damages, which are meant to punish insurers for their behavior. If this happens in your case, you could potentially obtain even more compensation.
How to File a Bad Faith Lawsuit
You’ve done everything right after the accident. You obtained the medical attention you needed. And you didn’t talk about your case with anyone. You didn’t even post anything on social media associated with the wreck.
Yet, the insurance company still refuses to pay your claim. So, what do you do? You take action to protect your rights by filing a lawsuit for breach of contract. You will need to have evidence showing that the treatment you received – and will need in the future – is related to the accident. Your attorney will help you gather that evidence. In the meantime, try to keep the following in mind.
- Keep all records of any correspondence you have with any insurance company representative. This means taking notes of phone conversations, and keeping all texts and emails.
- Keep receipts of all medical bills, repair bills, and anything else that shows what you’ve had to pay.
- Maintain records of the wages you’ve lost due to the fact that you can’t work because of your injury.
Contact Your Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss a Bad Faith Lawsuit
If you think your insurer has acted in bad faith, get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can. You may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation. Sand Law has an extensive record of winning these types of cases, and we’re ready to put our skill and knowledge to work for you. Give us a call at 701-609-1510 or use our online form to schedule a free case review.