What Is Insurance Bad Faith?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2015 | Car Accidents

Which of these slogans sounds familiar?

  • “Like a good neighbor”
  • “In good hands”
  • “Doing the right thing”
  • “On your side”

…Probably all of them. The country’s major insurance companies are great at making names for themselves. Their television ads make us laugh and cry. Their jingles and slogans worm their way into our heads and hearts. There’s no doubt about — insurers know how to advertise.

But are they as good at following through on their promises? No!!!!!!!

Insurance companies are, after all, for profit corporations. They look after their own interests first, and those interests are often at odds with your own.

The law doesn’t allow your insurance company to simply toss your own cares aside, though. Every single insurance company has a legal obligation known as
“good faith.” The obligation of good faith exists under both state and federal law.

Essentially, it requires that insurance companies treat your claims honestly and fairly, and most importantly-to put your interest ahead of theirs.

Insurance Companies Often Act in Bad Faith

When insurance companies breach their obligation of good faith and treat you unfairly, we call that “bad faith.” And even though the law prohibits it, bad faith
happens surprisingly often — even at the world’s biggest insurance companies.

In fact, policy holders are often shocked by just how quickly their insurance companies dismiss a legitimate claim without an investigation or even a good explanation. Even when they don’t dismiss the claim, the insurers frequently offer a settlement amount so astoundingly low that it can’t begin to cover all of the victim’s losses.

Insurance companies know that they are acting in bad faith, but they also know that most people won’t fight it. After all, standing up to a major insurer feels a little
like tackling a giant. But with an experienced Miami attorney on your side, you can level the playing field.

Common Examples of Insurance Bad Faith

Any action (or lack of action) that results in unfair treatment or a violation of policy terms can constitute bad faith under Florida or federal law.
While it is impossible to create a comprehensive checklist of all the many ways in which insurance companies routinely commit bad faith, the following list includes
some of the more common scenarios:

  • Offering substantially less money than a claim is worth
  • Interpreting policy language in a wildly unreasonable manner
  • Dragging out an investigation on a claim (or refusing to investigate altogether)
  • Denying a claim based on a cursory, halfhearted, or biased investigation
  • Agreeing to make settlement payments and then failing to follow through
  • Accusing the policyholder of dishonest or criminal behavior without adequate support for those allegations
  • Tainting the victims’ good reputations in their communities
  • Assuming that they, the insurers, are as medically competent as a doctor and then making medical decisions on that basis
  • Refusing to indemnify their policyholders despite policy terms that require such indemnification
  • Refusing to settle a claim when the insurance company could have and should have if they were acting in the best interest of their insured
  • Any other conduct that is unreasonable, unfair, or in violation of policy terms and/or state or federal law

When insurance companies are found liable for bad faith, the victims are often entitled to substantial financial damages. Juries do not look kindly on a dishonest

How to Stand Up Against Insurance Bad Faith

Fighting back against insurance companies isn’t always easy. They have teams of attorneys and seemingly limitless resources. Meanwhile, you may be coping with an injury and just struggling to cope.

That’s why it’s so important that you hire an experienced Miami attorney. At Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, we have many years of experience in holding insurers accountable for their bad faith. We have a reputation for fighting for justice. Insurance companies know we mean business, and that usually means they’re eager to settle. If not, we’re fully prepared to take them to trial.

After all, you’ve done your part. You paid your premiums; you filed a claim. Now they need to hold up their end. Don’t let your insurance company stomp on your
rights. At Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, we can make sure they abide by both the policy and the law.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about securing legal representation with a contingency fee agreement so that you won’t have to pay a penny up front for our legal services. Call us today.

Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.