If you get injured in an accident, there are multiple issues to consider. First, you need to figure out who is at fault. Then you need to determine how much compensation you are entitled to receive. Finally, you need to navigate the process for actually getting your claim paid. In most accident cases, someone’s insurance company pays the claim – the at-fault person doesn’t often pay for your injuries out of his or her pocket.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the claims process can get pretty complicated once insurance companies get involved. Even if liability or the value of your claim is not in dispute, the insurance company may delay or even refuse to pay the claim. This can create tremendous hardship for the victim. You should be focused on putting your life back together rather than worrying about whether you can pay your bills.
Bad Faith Defined
We’ve written about bad faith before, but insurance company acts in bad faith when it refuses to honor the obligations to provide coverage as required by the insurance policy. This can include refusal to pay a legitimate claim as well as unreasonable delays in processing the claim.
It’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company may dispute liability or the value of your claim, so long as their position isn’t frivolous. It’s also important to realize that they protect their profits and their shareholders by making sure they don’t pay any more on claims than they absolutely have to. Finally, they employ in-house attorneys and outside counsel to protect them against claims. The point here is that a claim for bad faith can be difficult to prove, especially if you don’t have an attorney. If you feel that the insurance company is being unreasonable, we strongly recommend that you consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience with bad faith litigation.
Examples of Bad Faith
Again, bad faith is when an insurance company fails to meet its contractual obligations under the insurance policy. Here are some examples of when an insurance company is acting in bad faith:
- The insurance company takes too long to send out an adjuster or otherwise investigate your claim.
- After submitting all of the requested paperwork, the insurance company takes an unreasonable amount of time to accept or deny your claim.
- Despite careful documentation supporting your claim, the insurance company denies the claim.
- The insurance company refuses to pay anything more than a fraction of what your claim is worth.
- The insurance company refuses to or unreasonably delays paying an agreed settlement amount or judgment.
What You Should Do if You Suspect Bad Faith
As mentioned above, we strongly recommend that you contact a bad faith insurance litigation attorney if you suspect that the insurance company has wrongly denied or delayed your claim. There are specific statutes in the state of Georgia that determine what constitutes bad faith and govern how you must proceed with a claim for bad faith. It is extremely difficult for non-lawyers to navigate this process.
Slappey & Sadd – Atlanta Bad Faith Litigation Attorneys
The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd help accident victims across the state of Georgia. One of the ways that we do this is by holding insurance companies accountable so that our clients get the compensation they deserve. If you’d like a free consultation, call us at 404-255-6677 or email us today.