When you present a personal injury claim to a defendant’s insurance company, you expect them to handle your claim with professionalism and try to resolve it within a reasonable amount of time.
In other situations, you may encounter delays from your own insurance company.
When an insurance company delays resolving a claim, it may be guilty of acting in bad faith.
If you suspect the insurance company is dragging its feet, speak with the experienced Birmingham personal injury lawyers at the Fob James Law Firm.
Types of Bad Faith Claims
There are two main types of bad faith claims.
These are first-party and third-party bad faith.
First-party bad-faith claims involve your own insurance company, while third-party bad faith claims involve another party’s insurance company.
Examples of Bad Faith Actions by Insurance Companies
Every bad faith claim is different, but there are certain actions we see more commonly than others.
Settling an insurance claim can sometimes be a lengthy process.
Some delays and waiting are to be expected.
However, when the insurance company takes an unreasonably long time to respond to you and has not provided any reason for the delay, it could be bad faith.
When an insurance company intentionally undervalues your claim to reduce their own payout, you have the right to counter them with a reasonable demand.
If your case is clearly worth more and they refuse to entertain reasonable settlement discussions, they may be acting in bad faith.
Insurance companies have a duty to investigate your claim. Sometimes they may deny at the onset due to a coverage issue, which should be explained.
If there is coverage and they conduct an investigation, they cannot deny your claim with no explanation.
If the insurance company unfairly denies your claim or refuses to offer any reason why they denied it, this can also be bad faith.
Using Illegal Tactics
While less common, some insurance companies engage in illegal behaviors to avoid paying out a claim.
They may withhold a witness, alter evidence, or partake in other deceitful activity to undermine your claim.
Steps to Take When the Insurance Company Is Dragging Their Feet
When you think an insurance company is intentionally delaying settling your insurance claim, you should be persistent. Continue to contact the assigned adjuster.
Don’t just leave voicemails but send emails as well to create a paper trail.
Ask for specific details. For example, if they say a supervisor is reviewing the case, ask when you will receive an update or when the review will be done.
Try asking to speak with the adjuster’s supervisor.
If the adjuster will not put you through, call back on the general number and ask for the supervisor on your claim.
Consider sending a formal demand letter in writing.
This step shows the insurance company you are serious, and they must address and respond to your demand letter.
Your next step is to contact an Alabama bad faith insurance lawyer who can help.
At the Fob James Law Firm, we deal with insurance companies on a daily basis and know how to recognize these bad faith tactics.
If you suspect bad faith claims handling in your own case, please contact our office right away.
Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
We will review your case, confirm whether you have a viable bad faith claim, and let you know how to proceed.