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Bad Faith Insurance Claims

By Heidi Culbertson

December 5, 2018   Arizona Blog, Blog

Did you know that Arizona insurance companies owe a duty of good faith and fair dealings to those they insure? This is an important fact for you to remember as you navigate treatment options and explore potential benefits. It is not unusual for insurance companies to deny coverage, in fact, they do it all the time. So it is important that you know that you have a guaranteed right to question any decision made by your insurance provider.

The idea of going up against your insurance company may seem daunting, especially when you are dealing with the aftermath of traumatic injury. But the decisions you make now are important, and it is imperative for you to make sure that the insurance company is acting in good faith, fulfilling its legal and contractual obligations, and not violating the basic standards of honesty.  If you have health Insurance, the insurer must treat you with good faith and fair dealings. This is also true for other types of insurance. They all owe you an obligation of good faith and fair dealings.

If you believe you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company, you should contact an experienced bad faith attorney to help guide you through the process and advise you of your legal rights. In Arizona, Revised Statutes section 20-461 lays out specific conduct that could be considered to be bad faith. These often include:

  • Misrepresenting pertinent facts about the insurance policy.
  • Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably, and promptly upon communications with respect to claims.
  • Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information.
  • Not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear.
  • Forcing an insured to institute litigation to recover amounts due.

TOP 10 WARNING SIGNS OF INSURANCE BAD FAITH

The insurance company is:

  1. Not responding to your communications in a timely manner;
  2. Not providing you with accurate information about your policy or obligations in relation to that policy;
  3. Using multiple adjusters on a single claim;
  4. Making promises that they refuse to put in writing;
  5. Asking you to sign any documents;
  6. Telling you that you do not need a lawyer;
  7. Delaying any investigation into your claim for benefits;
  8. Not looking into all the facts of your claim;
  9. Inquiring into unrelated health conditions;
  10. Trying to pressure you into an early settlement.

If you are frustrated by the way your insurance company is treating you, and think that your case is not being handled properly after you have filed a claim, you should consider contacting an experienced attorney who specializes in insurance bad faith cases. Bad faith lawsuits can be exceedingly complex and it is important to work with a lawyer who has the experience and the resources to negotiate and secure the benefits to which you are entitled. Your lawyer will go over the facts of your case with you to determine if you have a solid case. After his or her review, you may find that you are entitled to bad faith damages, punitive damages, and potentially attorney’s fees as well.

If you have a bad faith claim against an insurance company, you have every right to fight for what you are owed.

Stephen J. Burg is a shareholder at Burg Simpson, a national law firm known for fighting for victims of negligence, personal injury, bad faith and abuse.

Burg Simpson has offices in Phoenix, Denver, Cincinnati, Albuquerque, Sarasota FL, and Steamboat Springs CO.

 

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