Bad Faith Car Collision Insurance Claim
Victims of traffic collisions have the right to sue the negligent party for damages. These damages include medical bills, future medical costs from procedures or equipment, lost wages, lost earning capacity due to a disability, pain and suffering, loss of joy of life, emotional distress, property damage, permanent scarring and disfigurement, and more. However, in some cases a plaintiff can file an additional claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company when that company acts in bad faith.
What is Bad Faith?
Insurance companies have a number of obligations, both to the insured and to you, the plaintiff. For example, an insurance company has an obligation to do the following for the insured (the negligent driver who hit you):
- Defend the policy holder during a lawsuit;
- Reasonably protect the policy holder from being sued personally (this does not necessarily mean paying out above the policy holder’s policy limits, as determined by the California Court of Appeals, according to the American Bar Association; and
- Settle claims against the policy holder.
Moreover, the insurance company has the following obligations to you, the plaintiff:
- Pay out on claims that you are owed;
- Pay in a timely manner;
- Communicate with you in a timely manner;
- Explain why your claim is denied (if the insurer denies the claim);
- Tell you that a claim has been denied;
- Refrain from bombarding you with unnecessary or harassing paperwork; and
- Settle claims in a timely manner.
A common example of a bad faith act by an insurer is to cut off communication with you, the plaintiff, and your attorney. Weeks may go by without a response, which turn into months. This is a common, though unwise, tactic used to get plaintiffs to drop the claim, lose interest in it, or to pressure the plaintiff into taking a low ball offer. The settlement process is long and stressful enough as it is. You do not need an insurance company playing games with you on top of it. If this sounds familiar to you, you need to hire an attorney and file a bad faith lawsuit in addition to the lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Suing the Insurance Company in a Third Party Bad Faith Claim
Under California law, Insurance Litigation Series, you have the right to sue an insurance company for refusal to accept a reasonable settlement or for unreasonable failure to defend, for example. In third party bad faith claims, you can sue for compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.
Our San Jose Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys Can Help You Win Both Claims
We understand that the last thing a traffic victim wants at this point is even more legal hassle. However, if an insurer is acting in bad faith, the only option you have at being compensated fairly is to file a bad faith claim on top of the personal injury lawsuit. To settle this difficult matter, you need an experienced attorney. Contact our San Jose personal injury attorneys at the Solution Now Law Firm today at 408-256-2871 to schedule a free consultation.