Although every single car accident and the effects of such an accident are unique, there is often one common factor seen in the details of a claim for damages following an accident: an injured party often has to deal with an insurance company. Unfortunately, dealing with insurance companies after these accidents can be a frustrating, drawn-out, and sometimes unfair process.
There is a high standard of conduct mandated for insurance companies by both state and federal laws. While it can be difficult to evaluate whether your insurer is acting in bad faith, there are a number of telltale signs that may indicate unfair treatment. Ensuring that you are treated fairly by an insurance company after an accident is one of several reasons why you need an attorney in your corner advocating for your interests.
Common ways that your insurer may act inappropriately include the following:
Claims are denied unreasonably or with no process for appeal short of hiring an attorney: An insurance company may deny your claim based on an interpretation of the policy language that was unclear at the outset, or is unreasonable on the terms of the policy itself. Do not be fooled if an insurance company attempts to discourage you from contacting an attorney to review the terms of your policy and the company's reason for denial. An insurance company cannot hold it against you in their review of your claim if you have hired an attorney.
Claims are left pending for an unreasonable amount of time: This may include stall tactics by an insurance company to create the appearance of movement on a claim, but with no substantive progress to either approve or deny the claim. Insurance companies have a responsibility to promptly investigate a pending claim; if these investigations are drawn out unnecessarily, however, it may be that the “investigation” is being used as a stall tactic by the insurer to avoid payment. There is a clear line between due diligence and unnecessary delay. For this reason, it is important to always keep track of your correspondences with your insurance company in writing to document potential bad faith delay.
Claims are not reimbursed in full, even with clear liability: Insurers will often try to undervalue claims to avoid payment, even if your claim seems substantively valid under a policy. However, insurance companies have a duty to pay out the benefits under the terms of a policy once there is adequate proof that the terms of the policy have been met. Always make a record of the proof you provide your insurance company, so that if you should bring a claim for bad faith denial you can show on what basis your claim was incorrectly denied.
Claims are approved, but for significantly less than warranted: Undervaluing payment under the policy can lead to litigation in order for a consumer to receive the full value of his or her claims. Insurance companies may use this tool to discourage consumers from following through on contacting an attorney, in the hope that they will simply accept the payment amount that is offered. Litigation can be more stressful and time-consuming than accepting a low-ball offer from your insurance company, but it may be the only option for recourse if you seek the full payment amount under your policy.
Reach Out to Our Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident, be sure that you have an advocate on your side when dealing with an insurance company. Please contact one of our experienced Appleton personal injury attorneys or Green Bay personal injury attorneys for help negotiating a claim or initiating a lawsuit. We can help you recover compensation for your injuries, bills, property damage, and other expenses. With offices located in Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh, we are prepared to assist you immediately.