Normally, when you purchase an insurance policy, you are paying the insurer to provide protection in the event of certain types of catastrophes. The insurer is bound by Washington State law to hold up their end of the deal. However, insurers make more money when they deny claims, and they wield substantial authority in “investigating” claims and deciding whether they are valid or not. Unsurprisingly, insurers sometimes abuse that power and deny claims wrongly. That’s dishonest, which is basically what bad faith means.
And if you were the victim of a bad faith decision by an insurance company, you can file a bad faith claim to get the money you’re owed (and more times than not, for much more than you would have originally received).
The Two Bad Faith Claims
- First-party bad faith claims: In this instance someone has an insurance policy, and the insurance company wrongfully refuses to pay for a legitimate claim.
- Third-party bad faith claims: These claims occur where an insurer is supposed to step in and pay claims against their clients or their business if they arise and involve having liability insurance.
An example of this would be if you were at fault in a car accident, in which case your car insurance company is supposed to pay for the other driver’s damages. If you end up being responsible from them not paying, that is a third-party bad faith action on their part.
On the other hand, if you were in an accident and the other driver was at fault and uninsured, you would be counting on your own policy’s uninsured motorist coverage. However if your insurer denied your claim wrongfully, that would be a first party case.
What Are Your Rights Against Bad Faith Claims?
Unfortunately, because of the insurance companies conflicting motives, actions of bad faith are actually fairly common. Too many people tend to assume that the fine print in their insurance contract must be the final word and that there’s nothing they can do. But that’s not always the case.
If your insurance company isn’t processing your claim, or you believe they have denied your claim for a questionable reason… get help. At Premier Law Group, we would be happy to help you get answers and protect your rights. Call us at 206-285-1743 to get your FREE consultation today.