Insurance Bad Faith
You are involved in a car accident, but you have insurance, so there’s nothing to worry about, right? Unfortunately, that might not be true: you could become a victim of “bad faith” insurance and have your claim unreasonably denied, delayed, or reduced. Insurance companies are experts at finding loopholes in their own policies and discovering new ways to justify denying, delaying, or reducing your claim.
Insurance coverage protects individuals from losses that may result from accidents or medical problems. Insurance companies are obligated by Georgia state law to conduct business in a just manner, carrying out their service as promised to the consumer — or in “good faith” as the law states. However, as evidenced by many lawsuits, insurance businesses sometimes operate by “bad faith” practices instead.
While insurance bad faith lawsuits can arise in any insurance area, including car, home, and medical, the most common area for these situations is in motor vehicle crashes or incidents. Two typical ways in which an insurance company may act in bad faith include the following scenarios:
Insurance companies tend to hold one thing above all else: Profit. People buy insurance to financially protect themselves against injury, illness, loss or damaging events and they put their trust in the insurance company to provide fair compensation in the case of any of the aforementioned situations. Unfortunately, many insurance companies look for ways to deny claims, even if they are legitimate, in order to make more money. This has become known as insurance bad faith.
Insurance companies, under law, owe a duty of dealing in “good faith,” or dealing fairly, with their policy holders. If an insurance company violates that duty by denying a valid claim to avoid paying a policy holder the money owed to them, they are operating under “bad faith.” The majority of insurance bad faith cases in Georgia relate to motor-vehicle accidents. Most often, an insurance company acting in bad faith will deny your claim, however, in some cases, the insurance company will deny the full benefits of coverage. For example, if your medical costs after an Atlanta auto accident total $20,000 and your insurance company only allows you $5,000, despite the fact that your claim is justified and your full coverage amount is $40,000, the insurance company is acting in bad faith by not paying full benefits.
In an effort to protect themselves and their families from financial hardship in the event of disability, many Americans decide to obtain long-term disability insurance. The person who obtains the policy is referred to as the “insured” and the insurance company that issues the policy is referred to as the “insurer.” This type of insurance policy is designed to pay the insured the salary, or a portion of it, that the insured would have earned if the insured had not become disabled. Insurance Company’s have an incentive to deny the largest claims. Thus, physicians (including surgeons), business executives, and other individuals with high income are subjected to bad faith practices with some frequency.
Sometimes when the insured becomes disabled the insurance company will refuse to honor its obligations under the insurance contract. Generally, the insurance company will claim that the insured is not actually disabled. If the insured proves that the insurance company is wrong, the insurance company will be liable for breach of contract. What does this mean? It simply means that the insurance company will be obligated to pay the insured the benefits it promised under the long-term disability insurance contract.
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