What are Bad Faith Insurance Claims?

Montana Car Crash

Were you injured in an incident where someone else was at fault? If so, you probably had to work with that person’s insurance company to get the compensation you needed to pay medical bills, replace your property, and make up for lost wages. Unfortunately, this process is usually more frustrating than most people expect, sometimes due to bad faith insurance practices.

Does any of the following sound familiar?

  • Did the insurance company start off by being easy to deal with and pleasant to you?
  • Did they tell you not to worry about getting a lawyer?
  • Did the insurance company’s tone start to change?
  • Did the insurance company start to not return your calls and deny paying bills on your behalf that they should be paying?
  • Did they try to get you to settle for some money before they knew what your injuries were or how much your medical bills were?

These are all examples of techniques and tactics insurance companies use that are blatant attempts to get people to accept less money than they deserve for an injury claim.

Insurance companies know that the more frustrating and confusing they are to deal with, the greater the number of people who will just “give up” and settle for less than they’re due or just abandon their claim altogether. This means the insurance company makes more money. Unfortunately for them, these “bad faith insurance claims” practices are illegal in Montana.

You may be eligible for additional compensation, even if you’ve already settled your claim.

How Montana Protects Its Citizens

Montana Capital Building

The state of Montana has done a fantastic job of attempting to protect its citizens from bad faith and unfair insurance claims practices. Montana is one of the few states that allow a person to sue an insurance company for not treating them fairly or for preying upon the frustration and inexperience of people who have never dealt with insurance companies before.

Montana’s laws prohibit unfair claims settlement practices, including:

  • Misrepresenting important pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue.
  • Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies.
  • Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies.
  • Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information.
  • Neglecting in good faith to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear.
  • Failing to provide a reasonable explanation of the basis in the insurance policy in relation to the facts or applicable law in denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement.

As you can see, the law can be dense and full of legal jargon, but the bottom line is pretty simple:

Montana law provides protection for its citizens against insurance companies that try to get people to settle for less money than the deserve.

But how can you know if you settled for too little due to these unfair, bad faith insurance practices? If you suspect this might be the case, it’s worth talking to a lawyer to discuss your case. Most Montana law firms, including the Judnich Law Office, offer a free consultation where you learn more about your options and whether your rights were violated.

How Are You Protected?

Under laws prohibiting bad faith insurance practices, you’re able to seek punitive damages against an insurance company. Punitive damages are those that go beyond compensating you for damages. Punitive damages are used to “punish” a defendant (in this case the insurance company) for their wrongdoings.

The threat of punitive damages are an excellent way to encourage insurance companies to comply with the law and play fair.

In addition to punitive damages, you may be eligible for other damages, including:

  • Interest, calculated from the day when the insurance company should have paid your claim
  • Emotional and mental distress caused by an insurer who refused to pay a claim in a reasonable and timely manner

The Judnich Law Office Can Help

Judnich Law Office

Unfortunately, not everyone is treated fairly, and often claimants are not aware of these laws. And of course insurance companies aren’t going to tell you!

If you believe you were not treated fairly by an insurance company or that the insurance company did not fully and fairly compensate you for an injury that was not your fault, call the Judnich Law Office at (855) 853-1482 for a free consultation and to learn more about bad faith insurance claims.

You may be entitled to additional compensation even if you’ve already settled your case. There is no obligation and no harm in just talking about your case. You’ll never know your options until you call to discuss the facts of your case.

Call (855) 853-1482, toll-free today for a free consultation.

Photo Credits: Mark Holloway, Mark Holloway