We like to think having insurance is like a safety net, but what happens when your net fails? Who catches you and protects you from financial burdens after an injury or accident? It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to act in bad faith — to look after their own pockets and best interests over yours. We always recommend contacting an attorney so that you are similarly situated when dealing with an insurance company. But if you are unrepresented, pay special attention to the signs of bad faith.
Your insurance company, regardless of your coverage level, should communicate routinely and actively after an incident. If you find it’s tough to get anyone on the phone, or days for someone to respond to a simple email, you’re getting the runaround.
When faced with little communication, injured persons tend to get frustrated and fail to pursue the insurance company for full coverage of all their harms and losses. That is why it is crucial that before even speaking with the insurance company that you consult with a personal injury attorney.
Too Much Communication
On the other hand, be wary of promises to pay some of your medical bills and receipt of a quick settlement offer from an eager adjuster trying to close your claim. You are generally entitled compensation for all your reasonable medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. That means, it is impossible to settle your case for “just compensation” at the onset of your injuries because you don’t know what your bills will ultimately exceed, how much work you will miss, or what your recovery will ultimately take.
Don’t let an insurance company close or settle your case early on, which will prevent you from getting the full compensation for your injuries you are entitled to.
When you file an insurance claim, an essential step is to send in the accident’s documentation — medical records, photographs, police reports, etc. These items are standard. But suppose your insurance company is unreasonably demanding more from you. They may ask for hard-to-find unrelated documentation or ask that you provide them with a signed medical release that gives them access to your entire medical history unrelated to your present injuries. In that case, they are likely trying to look for evidence to discount your claim. Do not give them ammunition to do so. Do not agree to provide a recorded statement without seeking representation first, your social security number, or any medical releases.
Denial or Delayed Payment
Insurance companies are in the business of making and keeping money in their corporate accounts — not pay you. Unfortunately, it’s far too common for insurance companies to deny a claim without any reason. Or, perhaps just as bad, they delay the necessary claim payment, thereby putting you in a tight spot with the auto repair shop or hospital where you owe money. They hope that you don’t pursue a claim further or get so fed up with the process that you give up. However, when you hire a personal injury attorney, they can advocate on your behalf. The insurance company can’t succeed giving an experienced attorney the run-around.
Lowball Settlement Offers
If your injury or accident results in a settlement you will need to know what your case is worth to determine if it is a good deal. Hire a personal injury attorney early on. If you find the settlement offer from the insurance company is insulting, then they’re lowballing you. Do not accept it. If you accept, you’re backed into a corner with nowhere left to go. Do not accept a lowball offer.
If you’re concerned about how your insurance company responds to your case, please do not hesitate to call Lehr Law at (858) 240-9993 or request free a consultation online. We specialize in insurance bad faith cases.