Idaho Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Car Insurance Claims Attorney Assisting Injury Victims Who Need Help with Bad Faith Practices in Idaho
When you file an insurance claim after a serious auto accident in Idaho, you deserve to be treated with respect by the insurance company. Under Idaho law (Idaho Code § 41-1329), unfair claim settlement practices are prohibited. This means that the insurance company cannot act in bad faith when it refuses to investigate your claim, makes you a low-ball settlement offer, or denies your auto insurance claim. The term “unfair claim settlement practices” is broadly defined, and it refers to many different unfair, fraudulent, and deceptive behaviors.
Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize that your insurance company may be acting in bad faith. Indeed, after years of being a customer with a particular auto insurance company, you might want to believe that the insurance company is going to take actions or make decisions that will ultimately help you. Yet insurance companies are businesses, and they will do what is best for the financial aspects of the business. In many situations, this means avoiding paying out auto insurance claims. Not all claims that are denied have been denied in bad faith, but it is important to learn more by speaking with an experienced Idaho bad faith insurance claims lawyer about your case. An advocate at Hansen Injury Law can discuss your options with you today.
What is Bad Faith Under Idaho Law?
What is bad faith? As we mentioned, this is a relatively broad term that refers to any acts or omissions—things done or intentionally not done—by an insurance company that constitutes “an unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance.” Under the statute, the following are listed as examples of unfair or deceptive insurance practices:
- Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions related to the policy under which the insured filed a claim;
- Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly when receiving communications about claims under an insurance policy;
- Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for promptly investigating insurance claims;
- Refusing to pay insurance claims without conducting a reasonable investigation;
- Failing to affirm or deny an insured’s coverage within a reasonable time after the completion of proof of loss statements;
- Failing to act in good faith to promptly, fairly, and equitable settle claims when it is clear that the party who filed the claim is not liable;
- Compelling an insured to file a lawsuit in order to obtain compensation by offering a very low and unfair settlement;
- Attempting to settle a claim for less than what a reasonable person would believe that she was entitled to receive, which is otherwise known as a low-ball settlement offer;
- Attempting to settle a claim based on fraudulent information;
- Compelling an insured to accept a settlement offer by reminding that individual about arbitration agreement clauses;
- Delaying an investigation by requiring an insured to submit multiple documents that contain the same or similar information; and/or
- Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation for denying a claim, specifically citing the insurance policy and relevant facts from the case.
As you can see, there are many different situations that may be considered bad faith under Idaho law. Since some of the language can seem broad and abstract, we want to provide you with some examples of insurance claim cases in Idaho that might be considered bad faith under the law.
Examples of Idaho Bad Faith Auto Insurance Claims
What are some examples of bad faith claim settlement practices or claim denials? In order to give you some real-life examples, we want to provide you with a scenario on which the examples will be based. Here it is:
An insured gets hurt in a car accident claim caused by another driver after the other driver ran a red light while speeding and crashed into the insured. That other driver is issued a citation at the scene of the collision by a law enforcement officer. The injured driver—the insured—files a claim for compensation after promptly reporting the accident to her insurance company, immediately visiting a healthcare provider, and taking all other necessary steps required by her insurance policy. We should mention that the insured in this scenario has also been paying her monthly premiums on time ever since she opened her policy with the insurance company.
The following are some hypothetical examples that might rise to the level of an unfair claim settlement practice in Idaho based on that hypothetical scenario:
- Insurance company receives the claim and fails to acknowledge that it has received the claim. The insured follows up, but she is unable to speak with anyone at the insurance company who can provide proof that it has received the claim and is investigating. The insured continues to try to make contact and is ignored by the insurance company. This scenario might be one in which the insurance company failed to acknowledge and act in a reasonable manner promptly upon communications with respect to claims, and thus may be prohibited under Idaho law.
- Insured submits her claim to the insurance company, and the insurance company promptly begins an investigation. It determines, based on police reports and other evidence, that the driver who was speeding and ran the red light—not the insured who filed the claim—was definitely at fault for the crash. However, the insurance company delays making a settlement offer or paying out the claim in hopes that the insurance company can save money because it is assuming the insured simply will forget about the claim. This looks like a scenario in which the insurance company is refusing in good faith to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim even though liability is reasonably clear.
- Insured’s losses totaled more than $100,000, and the insurance company offers a settlement of only $10,000 in hopes that the insured will accept. This may be a prohibited situation in which an insurance company attempts to settle a claim for less than a reasonable person would believe she was entitled to receive.
If the Insurance Company Acted in Bad Faith, What Are My Options?
When you believe an insurance company has acted in bad faith, you should discuss your case with a bad faith insurance claims attorney in Idaho as soon as possible. Contact Hansen Injury Law today for more information.