People pay insurance premiums with the faith their insurance company will provide the duty of care that comes with the agreement. However, many individuals are met with a claim denial, undervalued claims, or a misinterpretation of their policy, leading to financial loss after an accident or devastating event. Giving up in pursuing a claim is costly but an often chosen route when the claims process continually leads to dead ends.
There are actions you can take against an insurance company for bad faith practices. Working with a Ponca City insurance claims lawyer provides the avenue to pursue a lawsuit when your insurance provider fails to negotiate or pay a fair settlement. BDIW Law stands against bad faith insurance practices, supporting clients in their fight for fair compensation.
Insurance Policies Are Legal Contracts
Insurance companies and the individuals they cover enter a binding contract when an insurance policy is implemented. In return for timely premium payments, an insurance company is legally bound to adequately review claims and process them under the insurance contract terms. Policies cover your greatest assets, such as:
- A home or real estate
These policies cover individuals in the event of a home disaster, car accident, or health concern. A company should provide for their clients when insurance is needed the most. However, paying out insurance claims is not beneficial to insurance business profits.
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Filing a Lawsuit for Insurance Bad Faith
After reviewing an insurance policy to determine if an insurance company failed to meet its contractual obligations, it will be up to you to provide essential information to prove bad faith. Offering this legal proof can be challenging. It will be up to you to demonstrate the following elements.
The insurance company owed you a duty of care. The policy must demonstrate that it covered the item that was damaged, meaning the insurance provider was required to appropriately resolve the claim. Evidence must then be offered that the insurance company denied or delayed payment unreasonably, did not investigate the claim thoroughly, or had no reason for a refusal of the claim.
The insurance company failed to act in good faith, and evidence supports they knew or should have known no reasons existed for this denial. The breach of duty by the insurance company led to the damages you suffered. The time limits for filing (§12-95 p.50) a lawsuit for insurance bad faith has not passed.
Bad Faith Insurance Practices
An insurance company’s goal is never to maximize payments for claims. However, every denial of an insurance claim is not bad faith. Examples of bad faith practices include:
- Purposefully undervaluing a claim
- Using coercive tactics to push the acceptance of unreasonable offers
- Intentionally failing to disclose policy benefits
- Requiring overwhelming documentation that is unnecessary to process a claim, creating a deterrent to the claim’s resolution
- Failing to investigate and process a claim appropriately
- Failing to provide a written reason for a denial of a claim
- Refusing to pay
- Misrepresenting policy deadlines
- Changing or canceling a plan
Reviewing a claim is imperative to ensure it adequately reflects your coverage and loss. This list is not exhaustive of bad faith practices an insurance company will use to avoid a claim. Let a bad faith lawyer in Oklahoma mediate for you when working with an insurance company to settle a claim feels like a full-time job.
Document Interactions with the Insurance Company
Documentation is critical to any lawsuit. When pursuing an insurance claim, it is recommended to document any interaction, calls, and correspondence with the insurance company. Write down the date of contact, time, and who you spoke with or left a message for to prove your initiative to establish communications. Documentation creates a timeline as evidence when a lawsuit is necessary.
Never give a recorded statement to an insurance representative. Your statement can be misconstrued and used against you as a reason to deny your claim. You are only required to supply the pertinent information to assist in the processing of a claim.
You are not required to accept the offer of an insurance company. These offers are generally the lowest amounts they hope to pay. Seek legal advice immediately if there is any concern about how a claim is processed.
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Compensation You May Recover in an Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit
If it is proven that an insurance provider knowingly denied or undervalued a claim without cause, you are entitled to compensation for your damages. By this point, most people are overwhelmed and exhausted. BDIW Law never backs down from the insurance industry to ensure your maximum compensation for the following damages:
- The value of your claim within policy limits
- Lost wages
- Court fees
- Travel expenses
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
Punitive damages may be awarded when the insurer’s actions are considered a reckless disregard (§12-9.1) for good faith practices. Caps do apply but are extended to higher amounts up to $500,000 when it is proven that an insurer’s actions had malicious intent. Insurance companies have thorough legal representation, so working with dedicated legal representation who will fight for you is imperative.
The Goal of Insurance Bad Faith Practices
The ultimate goal of insurance companies practicing bad faith is to deprive the customers who depend on them of acceptable compensation. More egregious acts strip customers of any coverage, leaving individuals to tackle their losses on their own. These tactics are disheartening for those committed to paying insurance dues on time and working within the contract’s parameters.
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Fight Back Against Oklahoma Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance companies owe a duty of care to those with whom they enter into coverage contract agreements. If you have had a claim denied or undervalued, contact BDIW Law to discuss an insurance bad faith lawsuit. Oklahomans pay millions annually to ensure coverage in the event of a loss.
Let us take on the insurance industry for you. Schedule a free consultation now. Our clients do not pay until we are successful in recovering compensation.
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