What Evidence Do You Need to Prove a Bad Faith Insurance Claim? Dealing with an insurance company can be stressful, frustrating, and even overwhelming. Oklahoma law requires insurers to use good faith settlement practice when dealing with policyholders and other claimants. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. An insurance company can be held liable for bad faith—but you will need strong and compelling supporting evidence to do so. Within this blog post, our Oklahoma City bad faith insurance litigation attorney provides a comprehensive overview of the evidence that you need to prove liability in a bad faith case in Oklahoma.

The Definition of Bad Faith

Bad faith insurance happens when an insurance company does not deal with policyholders in a fair and proper manner. In the context of insurance claims, the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) defines bad faith as “blatantly unfair conduct that exceeds mere negligence by an insurance company.” In practice, bad faith insurance can come in many forms, including:

  • Failure to properly investigate insurance claim;
  • Unreasonable delay of an insurance claim; and
  • Refuse to pay a valid insurance claim.

What to Know About the Bad Faith Insurance Laws in Oklahoma

Bad faith insurance claims arise at the state level. Unlike many other jurisdictions, Oklahoma does not have a specific statutory law that defines bad-faith insurance practices. Instead, bad faith claims in Oklahoma are established and governed by common law—which is law created by court decisions rather than statutes. There are two broad categories of bad faith claims in our state:

  • First-party bad faith claims (a claim against your own insurance company); and
  • Third-party excess bad faith claims (a claim against another party’s insurance provider).

An Overview of the Evidence You Can Use in a Bad Faith Insurance Faith Claim in Oklahoma

Bad faith insurance litigation is notoriously complicated. In order to bring a successful claim against an insurer, it is imperative that you have strong, compelling evidence. Some notable examples of common evidence that is used to support bad-faith insurance claims in Oklahoma include:

  • Correspondence With Insurance Adjusters: Along with other things, the correspondence with insurers can include all emails, letters, and phone call records you have with the insurance adjusters. What the insurance company—and its representatives—said to you throughout the claims process matters.
  • The Language of Your Policy: Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. The insurance policy itself can also be used to support a bad-faith insurance claim. If the insurance company did not follow the terms in the policy when they handled your claim, it could be a sign of bad faith.
  • The Claim File (Held By Insurer): The insurance company keeps a file on your claim. The file has important information, like how they processed your claim and any decisions they made about it. Getting access to this file can be tough—but it can be very valuable evidence in bad-faith litigation. An experienced Oklahoma attorney can help.
  • Witness Testimony: In some cases, other people can provide useful information for your bad faith insurance case. For example, it could be someone who saw the damage happen or someone who can confirm the representations that insurance company representatives made during the claims process.
  • Expert Testimony: Finally, in some cases, expert witnesses may be called upon to testify as to the bad faith practices of the insurance company. They can look at how the insurance company handled your claim and say whether it was fair and proper, given industry standards and the specific circumstances of the case.

What evidence should you use to build your specific bad-faith claim? The answer depends on many case-specific factors. Ultimately, all relevant pieces of evidence can work together to build your case. The fundamental goal is to prove that the insurance company treated you unfairly in a manner that violated Oklahoma state law. An experienced attorney can help you build your bad-faith case.

Get Help From a Bad Faith Insurance Claims Attorney in Oklahoma

At McGuire Law Firm, our Oklahoma City bad faith insurance litigation lawyers have the specialized skills and proven legal expertise that you can rely on. If you have any questions about the evidence that you need to establish liability in a bad-faith insurance claim, we are here to help. Call us now or contact us online now for your free, completely confidential initial consultation. From our Oklahoma City office and our Edmond office, we handle bad faith insurance claims throughout Oklahoma.