Dealing with an insurance company can be a nightmare. The process might feel like it’s taking forever, and reading your policy may be like deciphering some sort of code, making it difficult to figure out the extent of your coverage.
Unfortunately, a lot of people chalk these issues up to the process itself, thinking that it’s completely normal. Well, it shouldn’t be. The truth of the matter is that far too many Floridians are subjected to bad faith when dealing with an insurance company, which is unfair and illegal.
What is bad faith?
To understand bad faith in the insurance context, you first have to understand good faith. Under Florida law, insurance companies are supposed to negotiate in fairness with honesty and reasonableness. Bad faith, then, often entails some sort of fraudulent practice or unreasonableness that causes you to face hardship.
How do insurance companies engage in bad faith?
Bad faith can take many forms. However, here are some of the most common ways that insurance companies act in bad faith are:
- Failing to provide important information to the claimant, especially when that information is pertinent to resolution of the claim.
- Denying a claim that should be paid out.
- Unjustifiably and unreasonably delaying a claim payment.
- Refusing to settle a claim when the evidence is clear as to who is at fault for the accident in question.
- Refusing to pay a claim without engaging in an appropriately thorough investigation of the circumstances.
- Failing to respond to a payment demand made by a claimant within a specified period of time.
- Failing to adequately communicate with you throughout the claims process.
- Intentionally misrepresenting portions of the policy.
- Failing to specify the reason for a claim denial.
There may be other actions that constitute bad faith in your case. Just keep your eyes and ears open. If you feel like an insurance company is treating you unfairly, then make note of the circumstances so that you can discuss them with your attorney.
Proving your bad faith claim
Before proceeding with a bad faith claim, which will be separate from any other legal action that you take, you should make sure that you have adequate evidence to support your position. This evidence certainly might include communications that you’ve had with the insurance company, so make sure that you’re keeping a written record of all phone and email conversations that you’ve had with them.
Also, you may want to try to gather evidence of the insurance company’s corporate policies and practices to see if there was an environment that encouraged adjusters to act in bad faith. You’ll probably also want to access the insurance company’s claim file so that you have a clear understanding of how your claim was assessed and the process through which a final determination was made.
Are you ready to seek accountability?
We know that you’ve been through a lot as you’ve tried to navigate your claim. It’s been stressful, frustrating, and downright infuriating at times. But now is your time for payback.
If you’ve been unfairly treated by an insurance company, then now is the time to consider legal action. If you’re successful on your claim, then you may be able to secure accountability to such an extent that it changes the way that the insurance company operates, thereby protecting future claimants from similar mistreatment. A successful claim can also lead to the recovery of compensation, which you may need to offset your damages, your wasted time, and your stress and anxiety.