Most car accident victims are not terribly surprised when the other guy’s insurance starts giving them a hard time.
We have come to expect that insurance companies no longer try to ensure that people are fairly and promptly paid for their damages. However, the shock often comes when you have been paying precious to an insurance company for the past 15 years and suddenly they start treating you like public enemy number 1.
Most insurance companies handle their uninsured/underinsured motorist claims like any other type of claim. They immediately begin the process of working to re-victimize the victim. This is a dangerous game for your own insurance company to play and may give rise to claims for damages arising from BAD FAITH.
What type of conduct is bad faith? There are not always hard and fast rules for detecting it. It’s origins often seem innocent enough and the insurance industry relays on this to give itself plausible deniability.
Delay In Payment – Insurance companies often employ delay tactics as their most effective tool in avoiding paying a fair amount on claims and putting off the payment of legitimate claims.
Bullying their own Insured – The insurance company will use high-pressure negotiations with their own insured and constantly haggle with him to dumb down the value of the claim. This can be with aggressive bullying and browbeating (they even do this to attorneys) and intimidation.
Lying to their own Insured – Do not doubt that adjusters lie to their insureds. They will hide benefit which is lying by omission. Sometimes they will tell an injury victim that they will only pay for limited types of treatment like just 8 chiropractic visits.
Paying Most of a Claim – The most egregious form of insurance bad faith is to pay most of a claim. For example, USAA likes to pay only part of the medical payments submitted and Allstate looks for the cheapest aftermarket parts.
When you make a claim with your own insurance company, that claim is governed by special rules. Your own insurance company has a fiduciary duty of fair dealing and honesty to you. This means they have to place your interests equal to their insured’s interest. They never ever do this. There is not a single insurance carrier who will pay the maximum amount of the assessed value of a claim. Instead, every adjuster seeks to haggle with its own insured in order to trick him into taking the least amount of money. It is hard to see how this is placing its interest equal with that of its insured.
Insurance bad faith is a very serious issue that is getting worse. Insurance companies flaunt their responsibilities to their policyholders and injury victims to boost their bottom line.
Make sure you protect yourself from your own insurance company. They ignore state laws and regulations, use unlicensed adjusters and secretly calculate how much they will have to pay out in bad faith claims versus what they will save by committing bad faith.
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, call Whitener Law Firm to find out what we can do to get you the money you deserve. For a free consultation regarding a personal injury claim, contact us at 505-883-7877.
There is NO FEE unless we win your case.