Bad Faith Practice Center
When you are faced with a bad faith denial of an insurance claim, working closely with an attorney who will explain clearly all rights, options and consequences can help to ensure that you make decisions that are in your best interests. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and case evaluation with an experienced attorney.
Answers to Your Bad Faith Questions
Do you think that you may have an insurance bad faith claim? If your insurance company is not providing you with the protection you deserve, it is time to talk to an experienced lawyer. At the LePley Law Firm, our attorneys protect the rights of insurance bad faith victims across Washington. We can answer your questions and help you evaluate your options today.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Q: What does bad faith mean in the insurance context?
A: There is really no standard definition of bad faith, but most states define it as unreasonable or unfair conduct by an insurance company. There are a number of actions by an insurer that are considered bad faith by the courts.
Q: Can an insurer wait until litigation begins to defend its insured?
A: No. An insurer’s duty to defend is assessed at the outset of a case. If it is subsequently determined that there was no coverage at the time of the incident giving rise to the claim, an insurer may withdraw from representation.
Bad Faith Insurance Claims – An Overview
There is an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in every insurance contract. This covenant requires an insurance company to act fairly and in good faith when evaluating a claim. When an insured’s (the person covered by the insurance policy) claim is wrongfully denied by an insurer (the entity issuing the insurance), it is considered bad faith.
Examples of bad faith include the failure to promptly or thoroughly investigate a claim, inadequate or untimely claims processing, unreasonable denial of payment, delay in payment, failure to settle an underlying suit against the insured, and failure to defend a suit against the insured. All types of insurance policies (including disability, life, homeowner, automobile, and accidental death) require that the insurer act in good faith. If you believe that your insurance company has acted in bad faith in handling your claim, talk to an experienced attorney at LePley Law Firm in Bellevue, Washington, about your situation.
Defining Bad Faith
There are a number of actions and omissions that amount to bad faith on the part of the insurance company. One example of bad faith is an insurer’s unreasonable denial of an insurance claim. Another example is an insurer’s wrongful failure to defend the insured in a suit by an injured third party. This section briefly explains the differences between first-party and third-party bad faith and sets forth several examples of conduct that courts have held constituted bad faith.
Types of Bad Faith Insurance Claims
A bad faith denial of an insurance claim is a breach of the insurer’s duty to exercise good faith and fair dealing, which is an implied covenant assumed to be part of every insurance contract. There are a number of ways an insurance company may act in bad faith.
Defenses to Bad Faith Insurance Claims
There are several defenses that an insurance company sued for bad faith may raise. Some of the more common defenses are discussed below. In addition to the defenses set forth below, some states have statutes governing bad faith actions that provide for specific defenses in certain circumstances.
Procedure in a Bad Faith Insurance Claim Case
If your insurance company denies your claim for benefits, you may wonder what your options are. You do not have to accept an initial denial as the final answer. As a first step, you may ask a supervisor at the insurance company to review the claim and denial. You can also contact your state’s insurance regulatory agency about the claim, and finally, you can speak to an attorney.
Bad Faith Insurance Claims Resource Links
Coalition Against Insurance Fraud
Information on a variety of insurance fraud topics for both consumers and regulators.
National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA)
NAPIA provides certification and training services for adjusters.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
The NAIC is an organization of insurance regulators from the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The NAIC’s mission is to help state insurance regulators in serving the public interest, promoting competitive markets, facilitating fair treatment of consumers, promoting the reliability and financial solidity of insurance institutions, and supporting and improving state regulation of insurance.