Oklahoma Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
Auto insurance companies in Oklahoma have a duty to the people they insure to provide fair dealing and a duty of good faith. Sometimes, an insurance company will appear to value its own interests above those of its policyholders, and in doing so violates these duties. Whether due to negligence or done intentionally, this breach of trust is called bad faith insurance.
How to Identify Insurance Bad Faith
Whenever a claim is filed, insurance companies have an obligation to assist the policy holder with their claim, disclose the details of the insured’s coverage, and conduct full, fair and prompt investigation, evaluation, and adjustment of the claim at the company’s own expense. Further, claim amounts that are not in dispute are to be paid within 30 days of filing the claim. An insurance company may not deny a claim or any part of a claim due to insufficient information, speculation or upon biased information.
If an insurance company is not complying with these guidelines, they may be acting in bad faith. Insurance bad faith can come in many forms. Some of the more common examples include:
- Delayed or prolonging payment beyond a reasonable time period
- Unreasonably low settlement offer, or failure to pay at all
- Partial payment of the claim with no details or plans to disperse the remainder amount due based on the policy
- Delayed investigation or failure to conduct a fair and adequate investigation of the claim
- Illegitimate or unfounded denial of a claim, often without investigation
- Claims are delayed and/or policy legitimacy is questioned based on minor document errors
- Failure to communicate policy details, benefits, or policy limits in a clear manner to the insured
- Poor communication or complete lack of communication from claims adjuster
Protecting Against Insurance Company Disputes and Potential Bad Faith
There are many actions a policyholder can take to protect themselves if they become involved in a claims dispute.
Document every communication to and from the insurance company. Take notes during phone calls, keep all letters and mailings, and copies of all documents mailed to the company. Print out and keep a record of all email interactions.
Keep track of all damages and what is owed. Keep receipts and estimates of all repair costs, medical bills, and any loss of time due to injuries or not having a vehicle as a result of delayed payment.
Talk to an attorney immediately. Many insurance companies are well represented by teams of corporate defense lawyers, and can be very intimidating when a claim is disputed, and even more so when fighting a bad faith claim. Your legal representation must have the skills to professionally assist with defending the claim, and be able to level the playing field.
Managing a Bad Faith Claim
Once legal counsel is retained, the attorney will outline the options available to resolving the claims dispute. Often a trial can be avoided with clear communication in regards to the policy and the claimant’s position.
- Settlement negotiations: A proactive approach to discuss an equitable settlement.
- Mediation and arbitration: When negotiations stall, meetings can be held to discuss in front of a mediator move the process forward outside of court.
- Litigation: There are cases where going to court is the only option to get justice. Our legal team is committed to fighting to protect the rights of those we serve in insurance bad faith claims.
If you think you have been the victim of insurance bad faith, contact the Oklahoma car accident attorneys at Car Accident Help immediately at (405) 285-4357 for a consultation. Our team will stand by you and take legal action to pursue the settlement or jury award you deserve from the insurance company. Often the legal fees associated with the lawsuit will be paid by the insurance company upon losing the case.
- Insurance Bad Faith Blogs
- Fighting Insurance Bad Faith Claims
- Are You Being Cheated by your Insurance Company?
- Oklahoma Insurance Bad Faith Claims: What to Do if You’ve Got One
- Oklahoma Insurance Department - Auto
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