Can you file a lawsuit against your auto insurance company? Can your insurance company be held responsible for bad faith actions? Most people feel that their insurance company will always work in their best interests. This is often true, but it's an overgeneralization to say that it is always true. When an insurance company fails to adhere to the terms of their contracts as well as state and federal regulations regarding insurance coverage, they are guilty of acting in bad faith. When this happens, individuals have the right to pursue damages from their insurance provider for those actions that cause them financial harm and emotional distress. In Kansas bad faith is called violation of the duty or covenant of good faith.
Auto insurance companies have a duty of care to their customers that includes the responsibility of representing their best interests when an automobile accident occurs. This implied covenant of good faith means that the insurance company must thoroughly investigate an accident, process all the information related to an accident, respond to claims in a timely manner, and fairly evaluate any property damages or personal injuries. Finally, it also means that insurance providers are required to pay claims in a timely manner. In Kansas, insurance carriers are subject to the Kansas Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act.
There are many examples of bad faith actions. These include failing to properly investigate a claim, fraudulently representing facts to clients, failing to notify policyholders that claims against them have been settled, and making false accusations against the claimant in the hopes that they will drop the claim out of fear of being sued or imprisoned.
Insurance providers who fail to adhere to these principles are acting in bad faith. One common example of a bad faith action is when an insurance company denies a claim for injuries and damage that is clearly covered in the policy. Bad faith also occurs when an insurance provider fails to affirm/deny coverage in a timely manner. In such instances, the insurance company's actions are intended to cause the claimant to tire of the process and drop the claim.
In some cases, the bad faith action involves discounting the claim or settling it for far less than is reasonable. For example, offering $100,000 to cover personal injuries of $1 million even when an individual has policy coverage up to that amount. Clients who accept such settlements may jeopardize their financial future as the expenses for long-term care and the management of personal injuries can add up quickly. Moreover, when a client accepts a settlement and signs the release waiver, they surrender their right to pursue further compensation for their claim. It is for this reason that everyone should consult with an auto accident attorney prior to accepting a settlement and agreeing to release the insurance company from liability.
Insurance companies who act in bad faith often have established patterns of similar behaviors and it is rarely a one-off event. A review of state and federal records can establish similar lawsuits filed against the auto insurance company as well as any complaints, fines, or sanctions the company has received from the Kansas Insurance Department. This information can be used by an individual's automobile accident attorney to establish a pattern of abuse.
Brad Pistotnik Law is an attorney in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and Illinois that represents clients as they pursue fair and just compensation for their property damage, personal injuries, and the wrongful deaths of loved ones in Kansas City, Topeka, Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City, Olathe, Manhattan, Lawrence, Emporia, Independence, Satanta, Colby, Kinsley, Ness City, Colby, Hays, Wellington, Arkansas City, Winfield, Coffeyville, Hutchinson, Salina, Wichita, Goodland, and other cities throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Illinois. Whether it is the individual's insurance company, or the other party's, our firm ensures our clients receive the representation they require to pursue the compensation they need.
We are Brad Pistotnik Law. ® We are Abogado El Toro. ® Hire the real Brad. ® Call in the Bull. ® We are the Bull Attorneys! ™ Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL. Our main office location is at 10111 E. 21st St. N., Suite 204, Wichita Kansas 67206.