“Bad faith” refers to an insurance company wrongfully denying coverage or benefits to a consumer when they are rightfully owed that insurance coverage.
An insurance policy is a contract between the insurance company and its insured and this contract must be honored in “good faith.” This obligation of good faith means an insurance company must take all necessary steps to fully investigate a claim and consider all the circumstances supporting it as well as respond to requests for information or communication in a timely matter.
There are statutes of limitations or certain time frames in which a person must file a lawsuit in a personal injury claim. Insurance companies stalling or delaying necessary responses close to or beyond this time limit are suspect to evaluation of an act of bad faith. An insurance company cannot just look for reasons not to pay the claim: they must fully investigate it to determine if there is coverage under the policy.
It is in the best interest of the insurance companies to limit the amount of compensation they pay out to their customers. Sometimes a company refuses to pay a claim that clearly should be paid with the hope that the consumer will not fight the decision. Most insurance policies are complex and confusing documents with many terms and conditions: it is common that a consumer will not know everything that is or is not covered by their policy.
If you think you have a bad faith claim, contact our attorneys to receive a free consultation to evaluate your policy and determine if the insurance company is acting in bad faith.
Learn more: What is Bad Faith?