June 8, 2022 | Bad Faith Insurance
When you are injured in an accident in Oklahoma, you might rely on your insurance company to help you get everything back to normal. At the very least, you probably expect your insurance company to work on your behalf because you pay them.
However, insurance companies are just like every other business, and they want to maximize their profits. So, what happens if your insurance company doesn’t seem to be putting your best interests over their own? What can you do, if anything?
What Is Bad Faith?
If your insurance company is not working in your best interest, it is possible that they are committing bad faith. Bad faith in the context of insurance means that your insurance company:
- misrepresented the terms of your insurance policy;
- is refusing to honor its obligations to pay your legitimate claim; or
- is not processing your claim in a timely manner.
However, a disagreement between you and the insurance company’s adjuster regarding the appropriate amount of a claim is not usually seen as bad faith, for instance. Insurance bad faith can occur in all types of insurance, like life insurance, health insurance, or auto insurance.
When Does A Delay In Processing Your Insurance Claim Become Bad Faith?
It is important to remember that even when your insurance company appropriately processes your insurance claim, it can take some time. Unfortunately, insurance companies must go through paperwork and verification to process a claim, and there is no specific amount of time that it should take for an insurance claim to be processed.
For example, it may take a long time for your insurance company to:
- identify, locate, and interview witnesses;
- examine and verify the extent of the damages you suffered;
- gather all of the necessary documents to process your claim; and,
- determine who was at fault for the accident and/or to what extent each party was at fault.
However, at some point, the delay becomes unreasonable. For example, insurance companies may unreasonably delay processing your claim by:
- ignoring your claim for a long time after being notified of your losses;
- requesting unnecessary documents that will not help them in processing your claim;
- making redundant requests for documents, even after they have received the documents; and,
- denying legitimate claims in an effort to delay processing your claim.
These are just a few instances in which the insurance company might be acting in bad faith.
Why Would Your Insurance Company Delay Processing Your Claim?
The main reason that your insurance company would delay processing your claim is to avoid paying out your total claim. By delaying the claim process and the payout of your claim, the insurance company is assuming that you may get more desperate for any payout and accept a lower amount.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident or motorcycle accident and your medical bills are piling up, you might be willing to accept a lesser amount. Or, if your home is damaged and your homeowner’s insurance company is delaying your claim, you may just accept a smaller amount in order to repair your home.
What Can You Do If Your Insurance Company Committed Bad Faith?
In Oklahoma, you can sue your insurance company if they have committed bad faith. If you win your lawsuit, you could be entitled to the amount owed to you by the insurance company for your claim and, in limited cases, punitive damages.
Punitive damages are awarded to “punish” the at-fault party and to deter other similarly situated parties from acting in that same way. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the process and can make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.
Contact the Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
For more information, please contact the Oklahoma City personal injury law firm of McGuire Law Firm at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve throughout Oklahoma and its surrounding areas:
McGuire Law Firm – Oklahoma City
14 NE 13th St, Suite 113
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
McGuire Law Firm – Edmond
200 E 10th Street Plaza
Edmond, OK 73034