As a policyholder, you have the right to expect that your insurance company will treat you fairly. That means getting prompt and respectful attention when you submit a claim.
You have given your insurer real money in the form of premiums over the course of months or even years. If they fail to uphold their responsibilities, it can be a sign of bad faith. Here is what you should do if your insurance claim is denied or if your insurance company acts in bad faith.
What is Bad Faith?
An insurance policy is a contract. In theory, it is an agreement between equals. You owe the company premium payments and documents that show you suffered losses relevant to your claim. In turn, your insurer should not use tactics that amount to you getting less money than what you are entitled to in a settlement. If they delay, harass, or act unreasonably towards you, it may be a case of bad faith.
What Are Some Examples of Bad Faith?
Sometimes, it’s not apparent that your insurer is acting in bad faith. It may seem like they are simply doing their part to investigate their claim but may have the intent to deny you the necessary benefits. In one case, a man was denied workers’ compensation benefits after the insurance company hired its own expert who contradicted the evidence of the man’s treating doctors. A court ruled that it was in bad faith to accept without question, the company’s doctor testimony who performed the “independent” exam’s without closer consideration as to why the medical opinions varied. In another case, a homeowner disagreed with the insurance company’s assessment of roof damage after a storm. The claimant sought the advice of a third party who recommended a complete roof repair. Although the claim was eventually paid, the delay in reassessing the damage was considered bad faith on the part of the insurer.
How Can I Protect Myself?
If your insurance company acts in bad faith, you can get compensation on top of the amount of the original claim. You can sue on the basis of bad faith itself. Unfortunately, it is not easy to do this without the assistance of a lawyer, not just because of the intricacies of the law. If you are vulnerable after an accident or tragedy that gave rise to a claim, you may not have the time or resources to fight a big insurance company and its legal team. You need an attorney in your corner to take on the insurance company and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Meet with a South Dakota Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
If you want to know what to do if your insurance claim is denied, a lawyer can help. Turbak Law is a practice that includes South Dakota insurance bad faith attorneys dedicated to ensuring that injured people are treated fairly. To learn how Turbak Law can help, contact us today at (866) 231-0914.