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Insurance Bad Faith: How Companies Deny or Downplay Claims

| Feb 14, 2019 | Personal Injury |

In the aftermath of an accidental injury, you may be entitled to compensation through an insurance claim. Whether it involves holding the person responsible for your accident accountable through their coverage or relying on a personal injury policy you have in place, an insurance settlement can help offset the medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs you incur when motor vehicle crashes, slips and falls, and other common types of accidents happen. Unfortunately, while these companies promote themselves as being ‘on your side’ when you need them, the fact is that even the biggest names in the business can engage in bad faith insurance practices as a way of avoiding paying on your claim.

Turning Premiums into Profits

You pay monthly or yearly insurance premiums with the idea that if you get into an accident or cause another person injuries, you will be covered. Insurers portray themselves as ‘good neighbors’ and there to help when you need them, but the fact is that they are for-profit businesses whose bottom line is protecting their own assets.

The American Association of Justice has conducted extensive studies on some of the largest, most well known and trusted insurers in the U.S. and the practices they often employ. Taking in more than $1 trillion each year in premiums, they turn these into profits by disputing, downplaying, and denying claims. Common ways they do this include:

  • Disputing the terms of your insurance policy, what it covers, and when it was in effect;
  • Claiming you did something to violate the terms of your coverage agreement;
  • Disputing the circumstances surrounding an accident or injury;
  • Downplaying the degree of injuries and damages suffered;
  • Downplaying the medical costs and lost wages you are likely to occur;
  • Offering an immediate settlement that is far less than you deserve; and
  • Delaying a settlement indefinitely and not returning your calls.

Dealing with Insurers in the Aftermath of Injuries

The California Department of Insurance does monitor allegations of bad faith insurance practices and there are state laws in place that can help you hold insurers accountable. To protect yourself when filing a personal injury claim, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Locate your original policy documents, which detail the terms of coverage;
  • Keep a record of all your medical statements, pay stubs, out of pocket costs, and other receipts;
  • Keep a record of all correspondence between you and the insurer; and
  • Obey all your doctor’s instructions regarding treatments, follow up care, and activity restrictions.

Avoid making any statements to an insurance representative or signing any documents until speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney first.

Contact Our San Jose Injury Attorneys Today

You only have one chance to get what you are entitled to in a claim. At the Jachimowicz Law Group, we defend your rights so that any settlement received is for the maximum amount. Call us at 408-246-5500 or contact our skilled San Jose personal injury attorneys online today and request a consultation to see how we can help you.

Sources:

http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/130-laws-regs-hearings/05-CCR/fair-claims-regs.cfm

https://www.justice.org/sites/default/files/file-uploads/AAJ_Report_TenWorstInsuranceCompanies_FINAL.pdf