Insurance policies are a way of managing risks. They allow you to do things like own homes and drive cars without worrying about affording repairs, medical expenses, or other costs associated with accidents. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always follow through like they’re supposed to. If you’ve experienced complications with your insurance company, our Jackson bad faith insurance lawyers can investigate your case and provide you with the legal representation you deserve.
Insurance companies are legally required to abide by the agreements that are made with policyholders. When this expectation is met, an insurance company is considered to be acting in good faith because they are only needed when an accident happens. When an insurer breaches an agreement with a policyholder, they may be acting in bad faith. When that happens, our attorneys are prepared to step in and ensure our clients receive what they are owed.
Understanding Bad Faith Disputes
After an accident, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to the victim’s case. They are trained to investigate catastrophes and evaluate the damage that was incurred. Based on that evaluation, a settlement offer can be made to the person who filed the claim. The settlement often pays for accident-related expenses like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
Based on how insurance companies make money, they’re often looking to give out the smallest settlements possible to personal injury victims. So, while adjusters have a responsibility to honor their obligations to insurance holders, they also have an interest in saving their company money. As a result, they may look for ways to deny personal injury claims.
When an insurance company wrongfully or unreasonably denies or withholds a settlement offer, they are acting in bad faith and can be held accountable for their actions.
Types of Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Bad faith practices arise when an insurer violates their duty of good faith. This can be done through a number of bad faith practices. Adjusters handle many cases and generally know more about policies and insurance laws than the average policyholder. Because of this, it can be easy for adjusters to act negligently. The following are the most common illegal practices insurance companies engage in:
- Intentionally withholding policy information
- Misrepresenting policy benefits
- Delaying or failing to investigate a claim
- Unreasonably delaying paying a claim
- Denying coverage where coverage is due
- Canceling a policy for no reason
- Changing a policy without notice or consent
- Undervaluing a settlement by less than what is required under the official policy
- Ignoring facts and evidence about the claim event
- Calls are not returned in a reasonable amount of time
- The adjuster fails to provide adequate reasoning as to why the settlement offer is low
These practices can occur with all types of policies, like ones for homeowners, cars, medical and life insurance, damage claims, and more. When a policyholder experiences any of the above practices and feels as though their insurance company is acting illegally, our insurance bad faith attorneys in Jackson have the skills needed to ensure justice is sought.
Filing a Bad Faith Insurance Claim in Mississippi
According to Mississippi law, punitive damages can be awarded, in addition to the amount of the claim, when an insurance company wrongfully refuses to pay a claim or commits other acts of bad faith. In order for those additional damages to be awarded, it has to be proven that the insurer acted with malice, gross negligence, or reckless disregard for the rights of others.
While there aren’t any surefire ways to ensure you won’t be taken advantage of by an insurance company, the following steps can help a legal team prove the adjuster or company acted in bad faith:
- File your claim in writing
- Keep records of all communication exchanges with your insurance company
- Review your policy so you know what is and isn’t covered
- Take pictures of the property or physical damages that resulted from the accident
- Provide adjusters with as much information as possible, but be sure to stick to the facts
- Be mindful of your insurance deadlines
- Consider speaking with a Jackson lawyer before giving your statement to an adjuster
If you’ve suffered from a recent loss, the precautions above may also help you to avoid being a victim of bad faith insurance.
Hire an Experienced Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
Insurance policies are complex and can be difficult to understand, especially while trying to process and recover from an accident. When insurance companies take advantage of the complexities in an attempt to swindle victims out of their compensation, legal action can be taken. If you believe, as a policyholder, you are owed unreasonably withheld benefits, we can help.
At Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, we understand how overwhelming dealing with an insurance company can be. When that insurance company denies a policyholder’s claim without a reasonable basis, our Jackson bad faith insurance lawyers are here for you. We will fight to ensure the insurance company provides you with the compensation you deserve and is held accountable for their unreasonable actions. For more information on your legal rights and options, get in touch with us today.