Personal Injury Lawyer Charlottesville, VA
If you are involved in a personal injury case, you expect to be treated fairly. Most of the time your claim will be handled well, you will be compensated, and you can focus on recovering from your injury. Sometimes you may feel like your claim is not being handled correctly by either your insurance company or the insurance company of the other person involved in your claim. It could mean your claim is being handled in “bad faith”. This post will discuss what bad faith means and what you can do about it.
What is bad faith?
Insurance companies work on the premise that you, the individual, pay a monthly or yearly premium, and in return, you expect the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If an insurance company breaks that bond, then it is considered “bad faith”.
Bad faith can be seen in a number of ways.
- They can deny paying a claim without giving a valid reason.
- They can give you a claim that is lower than the amount you were expecting or have to right to receive.
- Insurance companies can delay the payment of your settlement with no valid explanation.
- They can ignore your communications – phone calls, emails, letters – to intentionally prevent you from knowing the status of your claim.
- The insurance agent can verbally threaten or intimidate you.
- They can overly complicate your claim – making you jump through hoops by filling out excess paperwork before your claim is filed.
Bad faith can occur through your own insurance company or through a third-party insurance company. A third-party insurance company can be the insurance company of the person who injured you or was “at fault” and is legally required to pay your claim. These insurance companies are still required by law to treat your claim in good faith. However, if you ever experience the insurance company intentionally withholding evidence or losing critical documentation, then they are acting in bad faith.
What can you do to fight against bad faith?
First, you need to let the claims adjuster know that you believe they are acting in bad faith when it comes to your claim. Sometimes claims adjusters don’t realize they are acting in bad faith. They could be extremely busy and not paying close enough attention to your case. Just hearing the words “bad faith” could get them to apologize and pay closer attention to your claim.
If that does not work, you need to put your complaint in writing and mail it to your insurance company. Insurance companies generally take bad faith claims seriously because they know it will be faster and cheaper for them to deal with the issue themselves rather than get attorneys involved.
Finally, if both your verbal and written complaint are being ignored, you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer Charlottesville, VA offers at MartinWren, PC. They can file a complaint on your behalf – which could be taken more seriously because it is coming from a legal representative. When you are dealing with a personal injury claim, you shouldn’t have to worry about your claim being handled in bad faith. You should be focused on relaxing and recovering from your injuries, not dealing with frustrating insurance companies.