When an insurance company gives you the runaround, you need an expert legal advocate on your side. The bad faith attorneys at PARRIS Law Firm will fight relentlessly for your recovery.
Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Policyholders pay premiums to protect against future accidents or incidents covered by their policies. When an accident or loss happens, insurance companies have a legal duty to uphold the terms of these policies and to pay valid claims.
However, it is in the insurance company’s best financial interests to limit the amount they pay out. And if an insurance company acts deceitfully to reduce the amount it compensates you for your claim, the company may be acting in bad faith.
Bad faith insurance tactics can be difficult to spot. However, a legal advocate who knows the ins and outs of the insurance industry can spot this deception and fight for the true value of your claim.
Each policy sold by an insurance company is a contract. In exchange for the policyholder’s monthly or annual premiums, insurance companies agree to provide financial compensation in the event of certain covered incidents.
All types of insurance companies, including auto, health, and homeowner’s insurance, have a duty to act reasonably and responsibly when a policyholder or third party requests payment of a claim.
However, an insurance company is ultimately a business. In order to make a profit, insurance companies must collect as many premiums from policyholders as they can while paying out the fewest claims possible. The less money the company spends on compensating victims of accidents, the better the company’s profit statement looks at the end of the year.
Unfortunately, this system incentivizes insurance adjusters to avoid paying out claims whenever possible. Some insurance representatives have even been known to use deceptive tactics to avoid paying valid claims to policyholders or victims—an insurance practice known as bad faith.
Types of Bad Faith Insurance Claims: First Party and Third Party
There are generally two types of insurance claims, and thus two types of insurance bad faith.
Where the insured asks the insurance company to pay for an injury to the insured’s own person or property, that is called a “first-party” claim. If an insurer acts unreasonably or deceitfully when their insured files a claim, the policyholder may have a first-party bad faith claim against their insurance company. The following are examples of situations where first-party bad faith claims may arise:
Your car is T-boned in a hit and run accident, and you file a claim under your collision insurance to cover your property damage costs. Your insurer denies your claim and gives no explicit reason why.
After a house fire, your homeowner’s insurance company offers you an unreasonably low settlement amount that is far under your policy limits.
Your long-term disability insurance obtained through your employer fails to investigate your claim in a timely manner, which unreasonably delays your much-needed disability payments.
Where an insured injures someone else, and the insured asks the insurance company to pay for the injury to this other person, that is called a “third-party” claim. That is because the insurance benefits are being paid to the injured third party, not to the insured. When an insurance company acts unreasonably or deceitfully while handling a third-party claim, that is called third-party bad faith.
Here is one example of a third-party bad faith claim. Say you were seriously injured in a rear-end accident, and you bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for your medical bills and property damage. The at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to settle your claim within the policy limits, and the case goes to trial. The resulting judgment in your favor far exceeds the at-fault driver’s liability policy limits, and the at-fault driver is now personally responsible for paying you the excess.
In this case, the at-fault driver (the insured) may have a bad faith claim against their insurer for failing to settle your claim within the policy limits. The insured can use the bad faith claim to compel the insurance company to pay your entire judgment, including the part that exceeds the policy limits.
Common Bad Faith Insurance Tactics
Some of the most common bad faith insurance tactics we’ve seen insurance companies use include:
Failing to properly investigate your claim, especially when a dispute is involved
Offering you misleading information regarding your coverage or the claims process
Utilizing unfair claims handling practices or procedures
Offering an unreasonably low settlement knowing you don’t have a lawyer
Terminating your coverage for no reason
Unreasonably delaying a decision for your claim
Denying your claim for no clear, expressed reason
Unreasonably delaying payment once your claim has been approved
Making threatening statements, such as “You need to settle today,” “You must give us a recorded statement,” or “You should avoid hiring a lawyer”
Refusing to provide documentation for their decisions
Refusing to provide coverage or properly defend a lawsuit on behalf of the policyholder
Developing a familiarity with these deceptive strategies can help you know when your insurance company may be acting in bad faith—and when you may need to call the PARRIS Law Firm.
How do I know if my insurance company is lowballing me?
An insurance company “lowballs” you when they attempt to settle your case by offering you far less money than what your case is worth.
At the core, this is a bargaining tactic, much like how used car dealers will lead with a deliberately low price while haggling with you over a vehicle.
But your rightful compensation after an accident isn’t a used car. Not all victims will recognize the lowball offer as a bargaining tactic. Some may assume they have no choice but to accept it. Plus, many accident victims are in dire financial straits and are willing to accept any offer—even a bad one—to pay off mounting medical bills and property damage costs.
The telltale signs that a settlement offer is too low include:
The offer came too soon after an accident. We have seen insurance adjusters offer quick, low settlements to avoid paying the victim the claim’s true value.
The company is not transparent about how they calculated your settlement amount.
The adjuster is abnormally insistent that you accept the offer and discourages you from consulting an attorney.
The adjuster questions your honesty or unfairly blames you for any portion of the incident.
Lowball offers, however appealing they may seem at the time, may rob you of your rightful recovery following an accident. Unfortunately, these low offers from insurance companies may be accompanied by other bad faith insurance practices, such as poor communication, a refusal to be transparent about the settlement calculation, or threatening statements.
After an accident, you deserve to have an advocate who—unlike the insurance company—will fight for your interests alone. Having a legal professional in your corner from the start may result in an easier process and a more substantial recovery for you and your family.
Since we first opened our doors in 1985, thousands of clients have trusted PARRIS Law Firm to secure their victory against insurance companies. Here’s why.
Decades of Fighting Insurance Companies
When it comes to choosing an attorney to protect your rights, experience matters. At PARRIS, our attorneys have spent nearly four decades restoring the lives of car accident victims.
Since our founding, the PARRIS team has developed a 99% success rate and secured over $1.9 billion for our clients.
Bad faith insurance practices do not discourage our team from securing results for our clients.
One of our clients, a 27-year-old man from Palmdale, suffered life-changing injuries when a distracted driver T-boned his car during the holiday shopping season. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limit was only $25,000—not enough for our client’s recovery. After fighting the insurance company over their bad faith practices, PARRIS secured a $41.6 million jury verdict for our client.
PARRIS attorneys also fought for a motorcyclist who suffered a life-altering traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident on Highway 138. The insurance company in this case failed to properly protect their insured, whose policy limits were a mere $15,000. PARRIS continued to fight for our client, eventually securing a $15 million settlement from the insurance company. Our client received an additional $31.5 million in a jury verdict against Caltrans, who was also found at fault for the accident.
Another PARRIS client—a family—was tragically injured when a drunk driver struck three family members. The at-fault driver’s insurance company failed to offer the $30,000 policy limit to the plaintiffs in time, and failed to offer a more substantial settlement until after the trial. Despite the low policy limit, PARRIS secured a $20.9 million jury verdict for the injured family.
Our team has the experience, expertise, and history of success needed to secure the victory you need after an accident.
We Expertly Investigate Your Case
Insurance policies are complex contracts, and PARRIS lawyers deal with them frequently. Not only will our team be able to tell you what is really covered under your policy, but we will be able to thoroughly investigate your accident and make sure that your coverage is applied correctly.
When you hire PARRIS, our firm will secure expert witnesses to examine the scene and photographs, gather evidence, and reconstruct the accident. Our investigation prevents insurance companies from misrepresenting your accident, injuries, or character to reduce your recovery amount.
Committed to Caring for Clients
Most importantly, we know how difficult the period after an accident can be. Our firm is committed to putting clients’ interests first—we inform you of your options, carefully prepare your case for trial, and keep you updated at every step of the process.
In addition, we don’t charge any up-front fees for our services. Our attorneys work on contingency, meaning that we only get paid if we recover the compensation you need. With PARRIS, you pay no fees until you win.
Contact PARRIS Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
After your accident, don’t let insurance companies give you the runaround. Call PARRIS Law Firm and secure the representation you need to restore your life.