Procedure in a Bad Faith Insurance Case
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 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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We are a litigation firm. We prepare every case for trial and we have the resources and experience to handle the most complex insurance bad faith claims. We are not afraid to take on big insurance companies and hold them accountable for their failure to fulfill their duties in full. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation, and we can start preparing your claim.
If you are not getting the protection you deserve from your insurance company, you may feel like you have no way to hold them responsible. By filing an insurance bad faith claim, you may be able to increase the value of your claim and recover additional compensation for attorneys’ fees. No one should have to fight to get insurance protection, but when you do, we will be there to help. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
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. If you suspect that the insurance company acted in bad faith in processing or denying your claim, talk to an experienced lawyer at The LePley Law Firm in Bellevue, Washington, about your situation.
Initial stages — document denial of the claim
Keep notes of every conversation you have with the individual who reviewed your claim, including the person’s name and dates and times of all conversations. In addition, keep copies of all written correspondence with the insurance company regarding your claim. If your claim is denied, request that a supervisor review the claim and denial.
If the insurer does not reverse its denial at that point, consider appealing the denial to your state’s insurance regulatory agency, which is a state office charged with reviewing contested insurance claims. It is possible that, during the course of this review process, your insurer will reconsider the denial of coverage.
Contact an attorney
If your regulatory appeal is unsuccessful and you believe your claim was unfairly denied, discuss your case with an attorney. The attorney can review your policy and other documentation and correspondence regarding the claim. As a first step, your attorney can write a letter to the claims adjuster and other key personnel that sets forth the applicable provisions of your policy, the facts of your case, why you are entitled to coverage, and formally demand payment of the claim. This may trigger closer scrutiny of the claim and could itself result in payment. If, however, the insurer still refuses to pay, the attorney can initiate a lawsuit.
Initiating a lawsuit
When drafting the complaint, the insured will need to decide whether it should be filed in state or federal court. Furthermore, care must be taken to select a forum that will have jurisdiction over the defendant insurance company. The complaint will likely include claims for breach of contract, bad faith, fraud, and negligence. If there is an unfair settlement practices statute in the jurisdiction, a claim for violation of that statute could be added as well. The complaint should seek payment under the policy and damages for the defendant’s bad faith. Even if the insurance company later pays the claim, the plaintiff can still proceed with the bad faith lawsuit.
During the discovery process, your attorney can request that the insurer produce certain documents relevant to the case and answer written questions called interrogatories. Your attorney will also be able to depose (question under oath) the claims adjuster, supervisor, and other representatives of the insurer. Probably the most important piece of evidence your attorney will request is the claim file itself. The claim file contains the insurance adjuster’s notes about your claim and may contain evidence that the insurer was neglectful or fraudulently handled your claim.
In addition, your attorney will likely request the insurer’s claim manual, which sets forth the insurer’s procedures for processing claims. A claim manual can be invaluable in establishing bad faith and can help provide evidence that an insurer’s claims investigation and handling process was not properly followed.
Trial or settlement
It is possible that your case could be settled before trial. Typically, parties will continue to negotiate and discuss settlement throughout the course of bad faith insurance claims lawsuits. If your case proceeds to trial, the parties will present evidence and arguments and question witnesses. A judge or jury will decide the issues once both sides have argued their cases.
Talk to an insurance lawyer
If you believe you were wrongfully denied payment on a covered insurance loss, there are certain steps you can take to seek a reversal of that denial before initiating a lawsuit. An experienced insurance lawyer at The LePley Law Firm in Bellevue, Washington, will review your case and take the steps necessary to protect your rights.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.