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What to Know About Bad Faith Insurance Claims After Car Accidents

To legally drive in Oklahoma, you’re required to carry liability insurance in case you cause or contribute to a crash that injures another person or their property. Many drivers choose to increase their coverage to reduce their financial liability, and some also choose to add coverage such as Medical Payments (Med Pay) coverage to help pay for their own medical bills after crashes.

When drivers buy auto insurance, they expect it to be honored and paid out in a fair and timely manner when a crash occurs. However, this doesn’t always happen. It’s more common than you might think for insurance companies to give their customers a hard time by taking too long to respond to claims or by simply refusing to pay them.

When this happens, it’s called a bad faith insurance claim. Here’s what you need to know about this unfortunately common scenario.

What Are Signs of a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?

In the world of insurance claims, “bad faith” refers to an insurer’s attempt to unreasonably and unfairly get out of its obligations to its policyholders or claimants. This can include denying a claim without a valid reason, failing to conduct a proper investigation, delaying payment without a valid reason, or offering significantly less compensation than what is fair and contractually owed under the policy terms.

Examples of bad faith insurance claim tactics you may encounter after filing a car accident claim include:

  • Unreasonable Delays: This involves taking an excessive amount of time to investigate, process, or pay your claim without a legitimate reason.
  • Denial of Coverage: Some insurers refuse to acknowledge claims or provide coverage for accidents without specifying a valid reason.
  • Underpayment of Claims: This type of bad faith action involves offering settlements that are far below the fair value of your losses.
  • Lack of Communication: Insurers acting in bad faith may often fail to communicate promptly or adequately with you about the status of your claim.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Bad Faith by Your Insurance Provider

If you think your insurer is acting in bad faith, you don’t have to sit by and take it. You can take steps to call out their behavior and see that it’s rectified and that you’re awarded the money you deserve.

These steps include:

  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all interactions with your insurance company, including dates, times, names, and summaries of conversations. Save all correspondence and notices.
  • Review Your Insurance Policy: Familiarize yourself with the terms of your policy to understand what coverage you are entitled to receive.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If you suspect your insurance company is acting in bad faith, consult with a law firm that handles car accident claims and uncooperative insurers. An experienced Oklahoma City car accident lawyer can offer guidance on your case, help gather evidence, and represent you in negotiations or in court if necessary.
  • File a Complaint: You can file a complaint against your insurer with the Oklahoma Insurance Department, which regulates insurance practices within the state. This step can prompt an investigation into your claim.

How an Oklahoma City Personal Injury Law Firm Can Help

An experienced Oklahoma City car accident lawyer can be an important ally in your fight against bad faith insurance practices by offering the following help and services:

  • Provide Valuable Experience: A lawyer can offer deep knowledge of Oklahoma’s insurance laws and how they apply to your case. They can also determine exactly what you’re owed based on your policy type(s) and coverage amounts.
  • Negotiate with the Uncooperative Insurance Company: A lawyer can leverage their experience and skills to negotiate more effectively with insurance companies to get you maximum compensation.
  • Sue the Insurance Company if Necessary: A lawyer can take your case to court to fight for the compensation you deserve if negotiations with the insurance company fail.
  • Offer Peace of Mind: A lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of your case while you focus on recovery.

Why It’s Important to Fight Back Against Bad Faith Insurance Claims

Understanding your rights under Oklahoma law can empower you to stand up against unfair practices by insurance companies.

In Oklahoma, if an insurer is found to have acted in bad faith, you may be entitled to not only the original claim amount but also additional damages that can include emotional distress, attorney’s fees, and in some cases, punitive damages if your bad faith case goes to trial.

In addition, calling out an insurer for a bad faith claim can help shine a light on the insurer’s mistreatment of claimants and bring it to the attention of others. In many cases, bad faith claims are the work of single adjusters rather than company policy. Bringing bad faith claims to light may result in disciplinary measures or termination of these bad actors and help others avoid going through the same experience.

Contact Our Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers

Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident can be stressful and confusing. However, knowing your rights and when to seek professional help can make a significant difference in your case. If you believe you’re facing a bad faith insurance claim in Oklahoma City, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers.

We have the experience, dedication, and compassion you need during such a difficult time. Contact us anytime for a free case review and remember, there’s no fee unless we get money for you. That’s our No Fee Guarantee®.