If you have ever filed a claim with an insurance company for an auto claim, personal injury claim, or other loss, you may have been transferred from department to department before hearing nothing from your insurer for months on end.
You may have even had your claim denied without explanation, or you were offered pennies on the dollar for your loss.
If any of these have happened to you, you may have been the victim of an insurance company’s “bad faith” settlement tactics.
If you believe you have been victimized by an insurance company’s bad faith tactics, contact D’Amore Law Group.
With decades of experience under our belts, we know how to stand up to the bad faith tactics of the insurance companies in the Portland area and across the U.S.
Examples of Bad Faith Tactics
Bad faith insurance practice broadly refers to tactics an insurance company might employ to avoid dealing with you fairly and according to the terms of the contract, they entered with you when you agreed to pay them to insure you.
Some insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid paying out claims. However, recognizing insurance companies’ bad faith tactics is the best way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of them.
Some examples of bad faith tactics include:
- Failing to acknowledge your claim,
- Refusing to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation,
- Offering you less than a reasonable person would consider fair for your claim,
- Requiring duplicative or unnecessary documentation,
- Misrepresenting policy language or promises made by agents,
- Treating you in an adversarial manner,
- Declining to answer simple questions or provide basic information, and
- Attempting to get you to admit fault.
While this is not an exhaustive list of the bad faith tactics insurance companies use, it provides a glimpse into the way some companies operate.
It is important to know that insurance companies have a duty of good faith. Oregon law makes it illegal for insurance companies to mistreat clients who file claims.
Oregon Law on Insurance Company Claim Processing
Oregon’s unfair claim settlement practices law sets the ground rules for how insurance companies should deal with their clients who file claims. The law sets time limits for when the insurer has to acknowledge a claim and by when the claim needs to be investigated.
The law also defines certain bad faith tactics, which include, among other provisions:
- Misrepresenting facts or policy provisions in settling claims;
- Failing to acknowledge and act promptly upon communications relating to claims;
- Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based on all available information;
- Not attempting, in good faith, to promptly and equitably settle claims in which liability has become reasonably clear; and
- Compelling claimants to initiate litigation to recover amounts due by offering substantially less than amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by such claimants.
Where an insurance company engages in these types of bad faith tactics or others as identified in Oregon law, policyholders have a right to file a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, Oregon law does not provide for separate civil and criminal penalties against repeat violators of the law.
If you think you have been the victim of insurance company bad faith, contact the D’Amore Law Group today.
Our team has extensive experience defending against insurance company tactics, and we are prepared to go to court to fight for your rights.
Bad Faith Lawsuit Damages
Bringing Your Case to Court
To file a lawsuit against your insurer for acting in bad faith, your claim will need to include:
- Proof that the insurer violated the Oregon unfair claim settlement practices law,
- A demonstration that you were damaged as a result of that violation,
- A showing that you are in the group of people that the statute was meant to protect, and
- Information indicating that the damages you suffered are of a type that the statute was designed to protect.
In general, if your insurer has used bad faith tactics to deny or give you the runaround on your claim, you can file a bad faith lawsuit.
If you prove that the insurer acted unreasonably and in bad faith, your recovery could include:
- Compensation for your actual losses,
- Court costs,
- Reasonable attorneys fees, and
- Any other relief awarded by the court.
Talk to an attorney about how you can recover damages if you have been harmed by an insurance company’s bad faith tactics.
The D’Amore Law Group’s team of knowledgeable personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the challenges of a lawsuit against your insurance company.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
Oregon has a statute of limitations or a certain time frame in which a person needs to file a personal injury claim.
When an insurance company delays and puts your ability to file a lawsuit or have your claim fully resolved in jeopardy, they are automatically suspected of acting in bad faith. An attorney can help you understand the time limits for your claim.
How an Attorney Can Help
In any matter involving insurance claims, the best option is to involve an experienced attorney from the outset. This is particularly true if the issue is more serious than a simple fender-bender or minor property damage.
An attorney can prevent the adjuster from delaying action and requesting further documentation. Having an attorney engaged from the start also signals to the insurance company that you have no intention of just giving up on your claim.
If you have already begun the claims process and are seeking legal representation at a later stage, do not worry.
It is never too late to hire an experienced attorney to help you handle your claims against stubborn or difficult insurance companies.
The D’Amore Law Group Difference
If you think you have a bad faith claim, contact our Portland bad faith insurance attorneys to receive a free consultation to evaluate your policy and determine if the insurance company is acting in bad faith.
D’Amore Law Group attorneys are leaders in the legal community at the state and national level. We are skilled negotiators as well as sharp litigators and will take your claim to court if needed. Contact us today.