Insurance Bad Faith
Oklahoma Insurance Attorney
Denied insurance claims
Low insurance claims
When you pay for insurance, your insurance company has the legal and ethical obligation to act in good faith when the insured party files a claim. When you file a claim on an underinsured/uninsured auto collision insurance, life insurance, or homeowner’s insurance policy and your insurance company denies a legitimate claim or fails to investigate or process your claim in a timely manner, this is acting in bad faith. If you’ve suffered damages as a result, you may need a bad faith insurance attorney. Get a free evaluation of your bad faith insurance claim by calling Tim Gilpin of Gilpin Law Office today at 918.583.8900.
Bad Faith Under Oklahoma Law
Under Oklahoma law, your insurer owes you a duty to act promptly, conduct a thorough investigation of the claim, arrive at a fair valuation, and pay what is owed up to the limit of your coverage. When a prompt, independent investigation doesn’t occur, an unfair evaluation is often the result and payment is not made on what is owed.
Evaluating Your Bad Faith Insurance Claim
When insurance bad faith happens, it is critical that you contact an experienced local bad-faith attorney quickly. Your insurance policy language and facts need to be gathered and examined in a timely way to get what is owed under the policy you paid for.
An insurance contract is an exchange of promises. You promise to pay in exchange for the insurer paying in accordance with the policy language and under the applicable law.
The insurer’s obligation typically includes:
A fair assessment of your claim
In evaluating your claim, your own insurer must make all claims decisions based on available, relevant evidence. The adjuster cannot speculate. This should include information that supports the claim payment and, may include any information that does not support payment.
Trouble arises when your insurance company ignores information that favors payment and instead focuses on that which denies payment. One example occurs when an insurance company uses biased experts (medical, fire, etc.,), instead of independent experts, to arrive at its desired result of no payment.
An insurance adjuster may not speculate or guess. Once all the evidence is gathered, the insurer must fairly evaluate the evidence by weighing all the information as per promises made in its policy and the law.
A duty to make you whole
Your insurer has an obligation to make you “whole” (up to the policy monetary limits) in accordance with the policy terms when an injury occurs. Your insurer must determine how much money will restore you to pre-accident condition. In order to do that the insurer has to thoroughly understand all the harms suffered by the insured person and investigate to arrive at a complete understanding.
If questions exist about the insured person’s harm, then the insurance company must find the answers. This likely includes discussions with the insured, family, friends, and treating medical professionals. If legitimate questions remain, the insurer may hire an independent medical, or other, specialist to help answer questions.
A fair and non-adversarial claims process
An insurance company must treat its insured’s interests as equal to its own. The claims process should not be adversarial. An insurer must advise its insured of his or her benefits or coverage that is applicable or potentially applicable to the claim.
No unreasonable impediments
An insurer must assist its insured with the claim and not place unreasonable impediments in the path of the insured person getting that which he or she is entitled to. To this end, your insurance company must hire, train and supervise qualified personnel to handle its claims.
Prompt handling of your claim
The insurance company must accomplish a proactive investigation and make a prompt decision and payment if it is due. This means prompt handling in all aspects of handling your claim. The law provides for some deadlines, but also allows for exceptions when the insurer legitimately needs more information. If there is a delay in your claim handling, it should be reasonable.
When Insurers Deny Claims
An insurer has an obligation to communicate to the insured person, giving his or her interests equal weight to its own and not to speculate on the claim. Your insurance company may not rely on the liability insurer’s evaluation and decisions in regard to your first-party claim.
But unfortunately, some insurance companies ignore their own policy language and deny legitimate claims hoping you will just go away. Sometimes insurers will purposely delay payment on a legitimate claim by requesting unnecessary and burdensome information. The bottom line is that your insurer must promptly pay what it promised it would pay in its policy language and under the law.
When determining the payout on a physical injury, the insurance company should consider all of the following:
- The age of the injured person
- Past physical and mental pain and suffering
- Physical condition before the accident
- Nature of the injuries
- Permanency of the injuries
- Reasonable expenses of the necessary past medical care
- Future physical and mental pain and suffering
- Physical and mental condition after the accident
- The extent of the injuries
- Loss of earnings and earning impairment
- Reasonable future medical expenses
Call an Oklahoma Insurance Attorney
You bought and paid for your home, fire, auto, or life insurance policy so it’s there when you need it. When your insurance company treats you unfairly, you need a nearby bad-faith lawyer who has the experience to help you.
Tim has more than 35 years of experience making insurance companies pay legitimate claims. He can recover what is owed under your policy plus damages for money losses suffered as a result of the bad faith, emotional distress, and punitive damages to set an example for other insurers.
Tim has successfully helped people when their own insurance companies won’t and won millions of dollars for his clients in settlements, court, and mediation. Give Tim Gilpin a call today at 918.583.8900 and schedule your free bad-faith legal evaluation.