Insurance companies have a legal duty to act fairly when dealing with compensation claims. As an equal party in an insurance contract, your provider has an obligation to fulfill their promise of protecting you from losses that result from personal injury or property damage.
Unfortunately, some insurers may try to engage in techniques designed to subvert justice, giving rise to bad faith insurance. And although it’s illegal, bad faith insurance occurs when your provider knowingly tries to deny you what is rightfully yours.
Here are 4 signs of bad faith insurance to look out for when following up on your claim.
1. Unnecessary delays
Often, insurance companies will use all sorts of tricks to delay making payment even when your compensation has been approved. When using the delay technique, your insurer may hope to keep your money for as long as possible. Your insurance provider is a for-profit entity. This means that they’ll hold on to your money to continue accruing interests from your reinvested premiums.
As such, your insurer may send you running in circles. They’ll hope that by the time they finally have to pay, they would have earned as much interest as possible from your premiums. One strategy used to delay payments is requests for unnecessary documentation. If you were injured in a car accident, it’s only reasonable that your insurer asks for documents supporting your medical treatments. However, if your insurer keeps making unreasonable or duplicate document requests, they may be involved in bad faith insurance.
In such a case, you may be better offer talking to your South Dakota bad faith insurance attorney for guidance on what’s necessary and reasonable and what is not. Your attorney can help you navigate any unnecessary delays to get the compensation that you deserve.
2. Low compensation offers
Aside from delaying your claim, your insurer may wait longer in hopes that you accept a lowball offer. And unfortunately, losses often result in huge financial burdens. These burdens could eventually make you desperate enough to collect what you can as soon as possible.
If you’re receiving medical attention or if your house was damaged by floods, you may want them to pay soon so that you can alleviate some of the burden. Your insurer knows this, and they may resort to taking you in circles. When they finally make an offer, they’ll be hoping that you’re desperate enough to settle for less.
Other times, your insurer may make a quick settlement offer soon after you file the claim. Before you rush to cash in your check, a second opinion may be necessary. Contact an attorney to better understand what your compensation should be in light of your injuries or property damage. When you have an attorney, your insurer knows that attempting to pay less may mean filing a claim with the South Dakota Division of Insurance. It could also result in you taking them to court.
3. Failure to conduct a thorough investigation promptly
After you report an accident, your provider is obligated to conduct thorough investigations to determine the legitimacy of the claim. If they determine that the accident warrants compensation, your insurer has a duty to pay the agreed-upon amount.
Unfortunately, some rogue insurers will delay the investigation process, or fail to conduct a full investigation in an effort to pay less than you’re owed or deny the claim altogether. Timing is crucial. When an insurer takes too long to start investigations, uses intrusive and demeaning investigation techniques, fails to communicate properly by contacting all the parties, or doesn’t investigate all pertinent issues, bad faith insurance may be in play.
4. Denying a claim without investigation and without giving good reason
It’s important to remember that not all insurance claims will result in compensation. Before closing your insurance contract, it’s important to go through the policy carefully and to make sure you’re fully aware of what’s covered, what’s excluded, and what your obligations will be. Know what you’re buying so that when your insurer attempts to deny a claim that is covered, you can use the law to get justice.
That said, dishonest insurers will still attempt to deny a legitimate claim. They’ll hope that you’ll give up, and let them eat your money in peace. Sometimes your insurance adjuster will outright deny the claim without giving good reason despite the liability being so obvious. Outright denials may also follow an unreasonable documentation request, and when you fail to deliver, your claim is rejected.
Your insurer may also deny a claim without a full investigation. Other times, they may try to use complicated and confusing policy language. Your insurer may try to misrepresent facts, use vague language, or try to apply aspects from your insurance policy that don’t apply in the specific case. For example, following a car accident in which there were no obvious damages and injuries, your insurer may use this to their advantage.
All of these are signs of bad faith insurance. Without full knowledge of the law, you may not get what rightfully belongs to you. Here you need to bring in your South Dakota bad faith attorney to decode any legalese that so many insurers are known for. Your attorney can force them back to negotiations with the good faith to which you’re entitled.
For more information
If you suspect that your provider is engaging in bad faith insurance, it may be time to get an attorney. It’s bad enough that you have had to go through losses, and you shouldn’t have to go in circles with a dishonest insurance provider. Contact Turbak Law Office today at (866) 348-4598, and or submit this form, and we’ll help you get the compensation that you deserve.