Insurance companies are required by law to fulfill their contractual obligations to policyholders, which is referred to as acting in good faith. In other words, you buy an insurance policy and pay the premiums with the understanding that if you are owed a benefit under that policy, the insurance company will act responsibly to investigate your claim and pay you what you are owed.
Sometimes, though, insurance companies and their representatives intentionally deny or delay claims that they would otherwise be required to pay. They may also fail to affirm or deny coverage of your claims within a reasonable time frame or fail to promptly and properly investigate your claim to determine the amount owed.
Learn to spot these bad faith practices when they happen and what to do about it.
Intrusive or demeaning investigation methods
Insurance companies may exhibit bad faith when handling a legitimate claim by using intrusive or demeaning methods to investigate your claim. Insurance companies often instruct private investigators to carry out undercover surveillance of claimants to gather evidence that will undermine their credibility and, by extension, their insurance claim.
There are certain defenses to insurance claims that are often used by insurance adjusters and defense attorneys to avoid or minimize legitimate claims. In the case of an injury claim, one of the most common defenses is to allege that you are exaggerating your injuries or that you are not injured at all.
In the more serious insurance claims, photographic and video evidence is often sought to support this defense. For the most part, it is legal for someone to take photos of you or to videotape you whenever you are in public view, unless you are in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Moreover, it can be disturbing for a legitimate claimant to discover that someone is following them, especially when this was going on at night or while they were with their family. Not only is this unethical, but it is also intrusive and demeaning, a sign of insurance bad faith.
Under South Dakota law, an insurance company can be held legally liable for bad faith practices. An insurance company that is successfully sued for acting in bad faith may be forced to compensate you for your pecuniary losses, emotional distress, and your attorney’s fees. Moreover, the court may impose punitive damages on the insurance company to punish it for its bad conduct and discourage the company from behaving in a similar manner in the future.
Whether you have a valid bad faith claim or not will depend on the facts that can be proven in your particular case. Therefore, if you believe an insurance company has acted in bad faith by using intrusive or demeaning methods to investigate your claim, it is imperative that you seek out an experienced and trusted South Dakota insurance bad faith attorney to assist you.
For more information
Do not let unethical practices determine the outcome of your claim. For more information, contact Turbak Law Office today at 866-231-0914. We specialize in helping people who have legitimate insurance claims stand up to insurance companies that are treating them unfairly.