How Do I File a Bad Faith Claim in Martinsburg?
February 28, 2020 | Personal Injury
When you buy insurance, whether you are required to have it or not, you should be able to count on the insurance company making good on their promise according to their policy. However, insurance carriers can be notoriously difficult to deal with when a legitimate claim is made. Under the law, insurance companies are required to maintain good faith practices when dealing with their policyholders. When an insurance company infringes on the terms agreed upon in their contract with the policyholder, they could be guilty of bad faith insurance practices.
Understanding the Elements of Bad Faith Insurance
There are various ways in which an insurance carrier could operate in bad faith. Some of the signs that you may be the victim of bad faith insurance practices can include the following:
- Failure of the insurance carrier to confirm or deny a claim after receiving the evidence necessary to make a determination.
- Failure of an insurance carrier to properly investigate the case to determine liability.
- Failure of the insurance carrier to respond promptly to a claim or acknowledge a statement of a covered claim.
- Attempts by the insurance carrier to settle a claim for far less than what you should receive and what is covered based on the policy limits.
- Failure of the insurance carrier to properly defend their policyholder for claims made against them.
- The insurance carrier using unlawful or deceitful tactics during their investigation.
- The insurance company misinterpreting the language of the policy.
How to File a Bad Faith Claim
These are only a few of many ways in which an insurance carrier could operate in bad faith. Some steps to take when filing a bad faith claim include:
- Review the contract. Thoroughly review your insurance contract to ensure there has been a violation. If you are unsure, speak to an insurance bad faith lawyer in Martinsburg. The language of these contracts can be confusing.
- Keep logs of all claims. It is important to keep all documentation related to your original claim. Keep any evidence, including photos, accident reports, receipts, and any correspondence with the insurance company.
- Document the denial. If a claim is denied by the insurance carrier, request that a supervisor with the carrier review the denial. You should begin the appeals process with the West Virginia insurance commissioner. Again, document every interaction you have with the insurance carrier.
- Make a final demand. Before a lawsuit is filed, you need to show that you attempted to settle your claim. Do this by sending a demand letter detailing your claim. Typically, insurance carriers have 15 to 60 days to respond to a demand letter. If the insurance carrier refuses to settle a claim within that period, move forward with a lawsuit and a complaint.
- File a complaint with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner. While taking steps to file a lawsuit, file a complaint with the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner’s This department will likely also attempt to secure a resolution to your claim.
- Speak to a lawyer. At any point during this process, you can choose to speak to a skilled attorney about your claim. Preferably, involve an attorney as soon as you suspect that your insurance carrier is operating in bad faith.
How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help with this Process
A skilled bad faith insurance claim attorney is usually required in order to file a claim. Insurance carriers have enormous amounts of money and legal teams they can turn to for defense against bad faith insurance claims. When you hire an attorney, you are essentially leveling the playing field. Your attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to properly pursue your bad faith claim. They will:
- Gather all evidence necessary to prove that your insurance carrier is operating in bad faith
- Thoroughly review your insurance policy to understand exactly what the insurance carrier is responsible for
- anegotiate with all parties involved in order to reach a resolution for your claim
- File a lawsuit against your insurance carrier and fully prepared the case for trial if necessary
While it is hoped that the insurance carrier will recognize their wrongdoing and make your claim right, that may not be the case. An experienced attorney will not be afraid to take on insurance carriers.