If you file an auto insurance claim after a car accident and the insurance companies refuse to pay for your injuries, this could mean that you are not entitled to a financial recovery (most likely, because you were legally at fault in the accident). However, it could also mean that the insurance companies incorrectly interpreted the evidence, or that your claim was denied in bad faith.
What is Insurance Bad Faith?
Under Colorado law, insurance companies have a legal obligation to process all accident victims’ property damage, bodily injury liability (BIL) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) claims in good faith. This means that they must conduct an adequate investigation and determine coverage based upon a reasoned assessment of the circumstances involved in the accident. If an insurance company denies your claim in bad faith (either your own insurance company or the other driver’s), then you are entitled to compensation above and beyond the financial and non-financial costs of your injuries.
It is not always easy to tell whether an insurance company is engaging in bad faith. Determining liability in a car accident is complicated, and the insurance companies are well within their rights to dispute claims when liability is not clear. However, generally speaking, some of the telltale signs of bad-faith insurance practices include:
- Failing to conduct an investigation or appraise your vehicle’s damage
- Unreasonably delaying an appraisal
- Misrepresenting the terms of your insurance policy
- Denying or delaying payment without a reasonable basis
- Offering a settlement that is substantially lower than what the insurance company knows your claim is worth
- Refusing to recognize established facts during settlement negotiations
- Threatening legal action or an improper denial of coverage
This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a flavor for the types of insurance practices that are considered improper under Colorado law. If you have any concerns that you may be a victim of bad-faith insurance practices, it will be important for you to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Overcoming Bad-Faith Insurance Practices
In order to overcome a bad-faith denial of auto insurance coverage, you will need to gather adequate evidence in support of your claim for liability. This includes evidence of the cause of the accident and the extent of your injuries. Your attorney can present this evidence to the insurance company and demand a fair settlement; and, if necessary, your attorney can file a lawsuit in court.
The risk of bad-faith insurance practices is an unfortunate reality of attempting to protect your legal rights after suffering traumatic injuries in a vehicle collision. But, an experienced attorney can help you secure just compensation; and, eventually, you should be able to move on with your normal life.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today
If you believe that you may be a victim of bad-faith insurance practices, you can contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney, request an appointment online today.