Many people have had bad experiences with car insurance companies. They may have had to wait an unreasonably long time for the insurance company to decide whether to pay out a claim or deny it. Sometimes insurance companies do not give specific reasons for denying a claim.
Some people assume these are the kinds of things insurance companies do. However, insurance companies are legally obligated to handle claims in good faith. Certain practices are illegal under state law.
Below, we discuss when car insurance companies may be breaking the law in their handling of a car accident claim. If your claim was denied or the insurance company is trying to underpay it, give us a call to discuss how we may be able to help you. There are no upfront fees for our services.
Louisiana’s Bad Faith Law
There may be a much better chance of the insurance company handling your claim in good faith if you hire an experienced Lafayette-based auto accident attorney. When you have an experienced attorney on your side, particularly one who is prepared to go to court, the insurance company will be more motivated to reach a settlement.
However, with or without an attorney, insurance companies may engage in bad faith tactics, even tactics that are illegal under state law.
Examples of bad faith tactics that are illegal in Louisiana include:
- Not investigating a claim within a reasonable amount of time
- Unreasonable delays in the payment of a claim (state law says claims must be paid within 30 days of reaching a settlement agreement in writing)
- Misrepresenting facts about the claim
- Failing to pay out a claim within 60 days after receiving proof of losses, if the insurance company’s decision is capricious, arbitrary or otherwise does not have probable cause
- Denying a claim based on changes to a policy that were made without the knowledge of the insured, or without notifying the insured
In short, car insurance companies need to make reasonable efforts to settle a claim and do so in a timely and efficient manner. They need to have a legitimate reason for denying a claim, and their reasoning must be communicated to the policyholder.
If you think the insurance company is lying to you about the terms of the policy and what is covered, you should strongly consider seeking out an attorney to help you with your claim. Without an attorney, the insurance company may continue delaying the process or misrepresenting the terms of the insurance policy.
At Galloway Jefcoat, we are well-versed in insurance company tactics. We know how to build strong cases and provide insurers with the documentation they need to process a claim. Insurance companies know we are always prepared to go to court to recover full compensation for our clients’ damages.
Contact us today to set up a free legal consultation and learn more about how we may be able to assist you with your claim. We do not charge upfront fees for our services, so there is no financial risk in working with our firm.
Why Do Car Insurance Companies Use Bad Faith Tactics?
Insurance companies think they can get away with unreasonable delays or denials of claims. If they did not think this, they would not engage in bad faith tactics. They are more likely to use these tactics if the victim is handling the claim on his or her own.
Insurers know that most victims do not know their rights or the value of their claims. Insurers think victims will just accept the denial of their claim or accept a lowball settlement offer. Victims need compensation and insurers often lead victims to believe the first offer is the only one that will get made.
Insurance companies like to delay the process in the hope that victims will get desperate and be more open to accepting any offer of compensation, no matter how small. Insurers know victims are vulnerable, as medical expenses are piling up and they may be unable to work because of their injuries.
What Are Valid Reasons for Denying an Accident Claim?
If you do not provide enough documentation of your damages, the insurance company could be within its rights to deny compensation for those damages. If you are at fault for the crash, the insurance company can reduce your compensation award in accordance with your percentage of fault. The insurance company could claim you failed to mitigate damages, which may allow them to deny compensation for part of your claim.
However, it is a bad idea to evaluate the reasons for the denial on your own. It is better to review the situation with an experienced attorney who deals with these types of claims on a regular basis. Not only do the attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat have detailed knowledge of these cases, but our interests are also aligned with yours. Unlike the insurance company, we want to recover full compensation to help you move forward.
Contact Galloway Jefcoat Today to Learn More
We are ready to help vehicle crash victims pursue full compensation for their damages. We have secured hundreds of millions on behalf of our clients.
We take cases on contingency, which means no upfront fees or legal obligations. We do not get paid for representing our clients unless our clients get paid.
Free legal consultations. Millions recovered. Call (337) 984-8020.