Insurance companies exist to provide peace of mind in the form of financial coverage for the unforeseen. Automobile insurance is meant to provide drivers with financial aid in case other drivers cause damages. Life insurance exists to help loved ones handle finances after the policy holder passes away. While insurance companies are in the business of providing peace of mind, they are also in business to make money. Thus, they try to avoid paying out on claims (or pay as little as possible) in some situations.
If an insurer doesn’t work with you honestly, this is known as insurance bad faith and requires the attention of a legal professional who will fight on your behalf.
Conversations With Adjusters
Your insurance policies are essentially paid promises that the insurance company will settle any future claims for covered events in good faith. In some instances, an insurance claim adjuster may disagree with you about how much a claim is actually worth and argue that paying out your full policy coverage amount isn’t justified. This isn’t necessarily acting in bad faith – insurance companies are businesses and they need to ensure that they aren’t paying out on policies frivolously. However, if the adjuster cannot or will not provide sound evidence or any specific reasons for a lower-than-expected offer, the adjuster may be acting in bad faith.
Extreme examples of insurance adjusters acting in bad faith could include tampering with witnesses, fraudulent paperwork submissions, withholding evidence, or outright lies. Behaviors like these would be somewhat difficult to hide, so if you suspect an adjuster has engaged in any such activity, it’s time to meet with an experienced attorney.
Starting Your Bad Faith Case
Your attorney will sit down with you and discuss your situation and your interactions with insurance adjusters. If your attorney believes that grounds for an insurance bad faith case exist, he or she will likely recommend sending a written letter to the insurance company, claiming bad faith.
In many cases, doing this is enough to get the attention of the insurance company. If there is any room to suspect bad faith dealings, the insurance company will more than likely spur their adjuster to offering a more acceptable payout on your policy. If an insurance company is found to have acted in bad faith, it stands to lose a great deal of money in damages – typically much more than it would have to pay out on your policy. If contention between you and the insurance company leads to a lawsuit, the insurance company will usually attempt to settle the matter quickly and quietly.
Obtaining Your Settlement
Winning an insurance bad faith case in court is generally very difficult. Laws that determine what constitutes bad faith vary from state to state, and insurance companies typically retain large legal teams. However, insurance companies will often decide that a settlement is more cost-effective in the long run than a prolonged court battle. When insurance companies agree to come to the settlement table to discuss terms, it means that they are ready to move past the situation and that a more attractive policy payout is more likely.
One of the best steps you can take after encountering anything resembling bad faith from an insurer is to speak with a competent and reliable personal injury attorney. Insurance likely plays a role in a bigger picture, and an attorney will help you navigate the legal entanglements of your situation. Attempting to take on insurance companies in court without a reliable attorney is not recommended.
If you’ve encountered any bad faith activity from an insurance adjuster in Philadelphia, you should know where to turn for legal help. At Anapol Weiss, our attorneys are dedicated to comprehensive and personalized legal representation for every client. Contact our team for more information about insurance bad faith cases in Pennsylvania or to schedule a consultation about your case.