Seattle Personal Injury Attorney | Russell & Hill, PLLC Seattle Law Firm
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Insurance companies doing business in the state of Washington are required under the law to operate under certain conditions that are laid out by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Chief among them are insurance bad faith provisions that prevent insurance companies from acting dishonorably in their dealings with customers, claimants and others. For example, they can’t delay payments on claims or discount payments on claims without a valid reason. They can’t deny valid claims, and they can’t make unreasonably low settlement offers to claimants without justifiable basis.

When insurance companies and their representatives fall outside the industry’s best practices, they can be held accountable for ensuing damages. Russell and Hill has helped myriad clients in the past face down these big insurers and hold them to task for their actions. If you believe that an insurance company has been less than honest in its dealings with you, it is possible that you have grounds for an insurance bad faith claim and should contact us immediately to discuss your situation.

What is an Insurance Bad Faith Claim?

Insurance companies are legally required – both at the state and federal level – to operate in good faith when investigate, negotiate, and settle claims. Every single insurance contract requires the insurer to operate in good faith and fair dealings. Violating this contractual duty is considered operating in bad faith, and can make the insurers liable in court; a claim can be brought directly against the insurance company with the insured requesting compensation for damages.

Some insurance companies have a reputation of trying to skirt around the laws and operating just outside the boundaries. This is still considered bad faith, and is illegal.

Scenarios of Tactics Considered “Bad Faith”

Some examples of bad faith tactics include:

  • Deliberately misinterpreting a policy’s language to get out of paying on coverage
  • Using deceptive practices or deliberate misrepresentations to avoid paying a claim
  • Engaging in litigious behavior for no reason
  • Failing to investigate a claim or delaying the resolve of a claim
  • Settling the claim via the use of coercive or abusive tactics
  • Employing improper standards to deny a claim for the person insured
  • Coercing the insured to contribute a portion of the settlement that should be fully covered by insurance
  • Using abusive tactics to settle a claim
  • Failing to investigate a claim according to the insurance policy’s procedures
  • Refusing to maintain legally required investigatory procedures
  • Failing to disclose policy limitations
  • Denying a claim without cause
  • Purposely delaying payment of a claim for no justifiable reason
  • Refusal to pay a valid claim or trying to get away with paying a significant reduction in settlement than what the claim is worth

What Should You Do Next?

Insurance companies—including their salesmen, adjusters, and others who deal with customers on a daily basis—have a legal duty to be fair and honest when conducting business with you. When they misrepresent the law, make false claims, conduct improper investigations and otherwise act outside industry standards, you can hold them to account. Contact our Kirkland insurance bad faith attorney now for a no-cost case evaluation to determine your next best steps.

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