Many people deal with the insurance claims process for the first time after a car accident or other motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always act in good faith.
If you think you’re dealing with an insurance company that is engaging in bad faith practices, contact William G. Kolodner, P.A., for help. We have over 100 years of combined experience representing injury victims against big insurance companies. Contact our Baltimore office to schedule a free consultation, you can give us a call at (410) 837-2144 to speak with an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer at William G. Kolodner P.A.
We understand that insurance companies are not on your side. At the end of the day, they are businesses interested in making money off of you.
Why Do You Need to Hire Our Baltimore Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers?
The goal of the insurance company in your case is to pay as little to settle your insurance claim as possible.
Whether you are filing a claim for an auto accident, fall, underinsured motorist claim, or dog attack, insurance companies view all the claims as losses. The money they pay reduces their profits.
Bad faith insurance practices are against the law in all states, including the State of Maryland. Insurance companies must make a reasonable and good faith effort to investigate and settle claims. When insurance companies do not act in good faith, the person filing the claim may have an additional cause of action to recover compensation.
Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers have extensive experiencing handling bad faith claims. We provide the legal advice and guidance you need to hold the insurance company liable for damages. Our law firm conducts an extensive investigation into the circumstances of your case to determine whether you may have a claim for breach of contract or violation of insurance laws.
The lawsuit against the insurance company for bad faith insurance practices is a separate lawsuit from your personal injury lawsuit. The bad faith lawsuit is against the insurance company directly. A personal injury lawsuit is filed against the person or party who caused your injury.
If the statute of limitations is about to expire, you may need to file both lawsuits very close together. Because you have two legal matters pending, you need a Baltimore Maryland law firm with the skills, resources, and experience to handle complex legal cases simultaneously.
Our lawyers protect your legal rights and best interests. We can handle both cases to seek maximum compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages caused by an accident and by the bad faith practices of the insurance companies.
Do I Have a Bad Faith Claim?
Maryland law protects consumers from unfair and illegal acts by insurance companies. Insurance companies must treat consumers fairly. However, that does not mean that the insurance company cannot deny a claim or pay less for a claim than you believe your claim is worth.
There could be valid reasons why the insurance company denied your claim. Reasons that an insurance company may have for denying a claim include, but are not limited to:
- The insurance coverage had expired;
- The policy did not cover the accident;
- The person who caused the accident was not insured;
- The company’s insured did not cause the accident;
- You share in the responsibility for the cause of the accident;
- The accident did not cause your injuries; and,
- There is insufficient evidence to prove damages and losses.
If the insurance company denies your claim, ask for an explanation of the denial in writing. Carefully review your options for appealing the decision. Make sure to note any deadlines so that you do not lose any of your legal rights by missing a deadline.
You may want to contact our Baltimore bad faith insurance lawyers to discuss the case. Our lawyers may be able to resolve the matter by discussing your case with the insurance company. If not, we can discuss filing a personal injury case against the person who caused your injury.
What is Considered Bad Faith Insurance Practices?
An insurance company may deny a claim without cause. It may use unfair or illegal tactics to avoid paying a valid insurance claim.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot instances of bad faith. Insurance adjusters are highly trained and skilled professionals who are talented at hiding the company’s actions. Consumers may not understand their legal rights, so they do not realize they are being treated unfairly.
Many actions can rise to the level of bad faith. Examples of bad faith insurance practices include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to conduct a reasonable, timely investigation into the claim.
- Taking an unreasonably long time to pay a claim.
- Intentionally misrepresenting the terms of the policy.
- Telling a consumer that hiring an experienced attorney would slow the process down and may result in less money.
- Refusing to provide a reason for denying an injury claim.
- Intentionally misrepresenting the law.
- Making threatening statements.
- Offering a settlement amount that is much lower than what the claim is worth.
- Requiring the consumer to complete burdensome and complicated forms not required by law or the policy.
- Requiring documents and information that is not necessary to process the claim.
- Using illegal and fraudulent investigative tactics.
- Refusing to communicate with the claimant.
- Unjustified delays in investigations, processing, negotiations, or other phases of the claims process.
- Changing the terms of the policy without legal justification.
- Aggressive acts or pressure to accept a settlement offer.
- Canceling a policy without cause.
- Raising insurance rates unreasonably or in violation of the contract terms after a claim.
There are many ways that an insurance company may act in bad faith. Identifying acts of bad faith can be tricky.
Let our Baltimore bad faith insurance lawyers investigate your case. You could be entitled to substantial compensation for a bad faith claim.
First-Party vs. Third-Party Bad Faith Claims
First-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Maryland’s bad faith statute only applies to first-party claims related to automobile insurance policies sold or delivered in Maryland. The statute does not apply to other-of-state insurance policies.
First-party claims are actions brought by the policyholder or other parties insured under the policy. In most cases, these actions involve issues related to coverage.
For example, did the policyholder have underinsured motorist coverage or towing coverage? A first-party bad faith insurance claim may involve raising insurance rates or canceling a policy after receiving a claim without a legal or contractual reason. First party claims may also involve the coverage amounts available to pay claims.
Third-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Individuals other than the policy owner file third party claims. These individuals are often victims of accidents caused by someone covered by the insurance policy. Third-party claims typically involve allegations that the insurance company did not use reasonable care in handling the claim.
Even though Maryland’s statute does not apply to third-party bad faith insurance claims, a victim of an accident may have claims against the insurance company under other laws. Also, the first party may assign its rights to sue the insurance company to a third party in some cases.
What Should You Do if You Suspect Insurance Bad Faith?
If you suspect that an insurance company is acting in bad faith, you need to take steps to protect your legal rights and your options. Some of the steps you should take include:
- Double-check deadlines to ensure that you have filed any claims that may have a deadline approaching. Failing to file your insurance claim before the deadline or a notice of appeal for the deadline could restrict your options.
- Gather documentation related to the claim, including correspondence, copies of insurance policies, and other information.
- Write down as many details as you can remember. Include a timeline of significant events, notes about conversations with the insurance company, and other facts relevant to the accident and the claim.
- Contact an attorney immediately to discuss your case. Do not wait to contact an attorney. It is best to meet with an attorney now even if you do not have copies of all documents or a written timeline of events.
Bad faith insurance claims are incredibly complex actions in Maryland. The laws governing these claims are difficult to understand. A simple mistake could result in you losing your right to pursue legal action against the insurance company.
Contact Our Baltimore Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
If you have questions about a bad faith insurance claim, contact our Baltimore office now to speak with an attorney. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the better. Having an experienced lawyer review your case as early in the process as possible gives you a better chance of success.