It is in your best interest to speak to a South Dakota insurance bad faith attorney to help you negotiate a settlement if you feel your insurance company has not treated you fairly.
Insurance companies sometimes count on the fact that you probably do not know or understand all the details of your policy. This does not necessarily mean you were intentionally mislead when you bought your policy. But when an event happens in your life that requires you to rely on your insurance company to provide coverage, your insurance company could delay or deny your claim due to some claimed loophole in the policy. Knowing how to negotiate an insurance settlement will help you understand the process if you need to seek legal recourse when you feel there has been a breach of good faith and fair dealing on the part of the insurance company.
What the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Means for You
An implied covenant is an obligation, that is not explicitly stated in a contract. In every insurance contract, there is an implied covenant that both parties will treat each other fairly and honestly in living up to their contractual obligations. The law calls that “the duty of good faith and fair dealing.”
You have certain expectations when you enter into a contract for a policy with an insurance company, and the most basic expectation is that your insurance company will treat you fairly. If your insurance company has breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing, that behavior can add to the pain and suffering you are already experiencing. If you are in a car wreck, the insurance company may try to pay you less than the value of your vehicle or it may try to claim you really don’t need the medical or chiropractic care you are receiving. In South Dakota, hail storms, tornadoes, and floods can damage or destroy your home, but your insurance company may deny your claim or offer you less than the real cost of your repairs.When that happens, the insurance company could be acting in bad faith. Pursuing legal action may be your only option to recoup your losses.
What Happens If I Refuse to Accept the Insurance Company’s Claim Denial?
If you refuse to go along with the insurance company’s claim denial or reduced payment, you may have grounds to sue for the insurance company’s bad faith. Specifically what can be considered a breach of good faith and fair dealing vary from state to state, but here are some common examples of what South Dakota recognizes:
- Failure to conduct a proper investigation of your claim before denying it.
- Ignoring your attempts to communicate with the company about your claim.
- Denying your claim in the early stages of negotiations without a legitimate reason.
- Refusing to let you file a claim on the grounds that too much time has passed, when the statute of limitations has not yet run out.
- Intentionally prolonging any negotiations of your settlement.
When you find someone to stand up for you and confidently convey to your insurance company that you will not allow them to take advantage of you, it can result in a renegotiation of your claim. If the company learns you are prepared to take legal action against them if necessary, it is more likely to pay you what you deserve under your policy. Companies know that if they are caught engaging in bad faith, they will end up paying a lot more than what it would have cost them to just treat you fairly in the first place.
The Importance of Standing Up for Your Rights
You may never have an issue with your insurance provider, but if you ever do, you will be one step ahead by understanding that a fundamental right you have under your insurance policy is to be treated fairly. Because the language of most policies is detailed and complicated, it could be in your interest to talk to an attorney who has proven experience working with insurance claims. A skilled insurance attorney can help explain important details that could either work in your favor when resisting an unfair claim denial.
At Turbak Law Office, P.C., we specialize in dealing with insurance companies. Unlike many other law firms, we NEVER represent the companies we fight. We only represent customers and policy holders.If you think your insurance company has acted in breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, contact Turbak Law Office at 866-231-0914 to speak to an experienced South Dakota insurance bad faith attorney.