What Do Bad Faith Attorneys Do?
Just about everyone has some form of insurance. Most of us actually have a few forms for our health, our vehicle and our home, but there are others you may retain as well. In any case, we all understand the basic concept behind insurance and the duties insurers are supposed to carry out on behalf of their clients. Unfortunately, some customers have had to learn the hard way that insurers don’t always hold up their end of the bargain. That’s when bad faith attorneys come into play.
What Is Bad Faith?
Bad faith attorneys deal with a very specific type of law. Here, “bad faith” refers to an insurance company operating in an unethical manner. This can happen one of many ways, but it’s often easier to look at how they are supposed to perform their duties or, in other words, how they’re expected to act in good faith.
First and foremost, they need to adjust your claim in a timely manner, meaning they either pay or deny it. They also have to cooperate with you in regards to the claim. If you have questions, for example, the insurer has to answer them promptly and in a reasonable manner.
If your claim gets denied, insurers have to tell you why, specifically, in writing. They must point out which term or provision in their contract is the one in question.
Lastly, insurers are expected to look out for their customers, first and foremost. Bad faith attorneys are often called because the insurance company went out of their way to find reasons not to pay out a claim. Instead, insurers must look for a reason they can pay out a claim. Of course, if one doesn’t exist, there is no obligation on their part to pay any way.
Keep in mind, too, that no bad faith attorneys are going to have a case if you don’t hold up your side of the relationship. This means that, as the customer, you have to do certain things as well.
For example, you have to pay your premiums on time. You must also be prompt with submitting your claim. It must be accompanied by all supporting documents required by the insurance company and under the law. As mandated, you have to give a statement under oath regarding the claim too.
Basically, you’re expected to cooperate with the insurance agency, just as they are with you. If they can prove that you were making things unnecessarily difficult, you’ll likely have no case.
What Do I Do if an Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith?
If you suspect your insurance company is acting in bad faith, it’s important you react immediately. Your best course of action would be to find bad faith attorneys who have experience in these matters. Under no circumstances should you attempt to file a lawsuit against an insurance company on your own. They will definitely have an experienced legal team ready to respond. It’s also likely that they won’t be forthcoming or particularly generous with a settlement offer if they see you don’t have a lawyer representing you.
Another thing you should do right away is put your complaint in writing and then send it to the insurance company (keep a copy). If you can work with the claims adjuster who handled your case, you may be able to resolve the matter without ever having to go to court.
When insurance companies let their customers down, bad faith attorneys are a necessary element of fighting back. They understand how insurance companies work, what they’re expected to do and how to get them to hold up their end of the bargain.