Were you recently injured in an accident? Did you have insurance and assume that your insurance company would cover the costs of your injuries? Are you frustrated by your insurance company’s refusal to fairly compensate you for your injuries? Are you wondering if you can do anything to make your insurance company hold up their end of the bargain?
If these questions are on your mind, you may have an Oregon bad faith insurance claim. At the D’Amore Law Group, P.C., we represent injury victims whose claims were wrongfully denied by their insurance company. For more than 25 years, the D’Amore Law Group has helped injured workers and their families hold insurance companies accountable under the terms of their policies. We can help you get the insurance benefits you are entitled to.
What Is an Oregon Bad Faith Insurance Claim?
A bad faith insurance claim is a type of claim filed against an injured party’s insurance company. When a party brings a bad faith claim, they argue that the insurance company breached its contractual duty to the policyholder.
In essence, an insurance policy is a contract. As the policyholder, you agree to pay the insurance company a monthly premium. In exchange, the insurance company agrees to compensate you for certain covered losses. However, insurance companies are for-profit corporations that exist to make a profit. Thus, an insurance company is motivated to reduce the value—or even deny—requests for injury claim settlements.
When you file a claim with your insurance company, the company may offer less than you hoped for. This alone does not give rise to a bad faith claim, as insurance companies are allowed to negotiate injury settlement claims. However, in some cases, an insurance company drops the ball or engages in conduct that violates the insurance policy’s terms. For example, the following may be the basis for an Oregon bad faith insurance claim:
- Attempting to coerce an injury victim to accept an injury claim settlement;
- Changing the terms of an insurance policy without providing notice to the policyholder;
- Denying a claim without a valid basis;
- Failing to adequately investigate a policyholder’s claim;
- Failing to clearly explain the insurance policy, and its exclusions;
- Failing to reply to a policyholder’s claim;
- Misrepresenting facts to avoid an injury claim settlement;
- Placing unreasonable demands on the policyholder to prove their losses;
- Using delay tactics to avoid settling a claim in a timely manner; and
- Using intimidation to avoid paying out on a claim.
Bad faith insurance claims often arise in the context of an Oregon auto vehicle accident. If you were recently injured and your insurance company denied your request for an injury claim settlement, your insurance company may have engaged in bad faith. However, Oregon insurance laws are exceedingly complex, and insurance companies take advantage of this by hiding behind a team of lawyers.
How Does an Oregon Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit Work?
In most cases against an insurance company, a policyholder’s claim is based in contract law. Damages in a case involving a breach of contract typically allow the accident victim to recover for their losses. However, while governed by the terms of the insurance policy, insurance bad faith claims are actually a type of tort claim—a claim for a wrong done to you. Tort claims allow accident victims to pursue a wider range of damages. The practical importance of this is that a policyholder may obtain greater compensation through a bad faith claim than they would through a breach-of-contract claim. Of course, a bad faith claim is brought along with the underlying claim, meaning a policyholder who successfully brings a bad faith claim may recover for the injuries they suffered in the accident, as well as any additional injuries caused by the insurance company’s bad-faith conduct.
For example, assume an insurance company denies a claim for a necessary medical procedure following an accident. The cost of the procedure was $25,000. If the court found that the insurance company breached its contractual duties under the insurance policy, the insurance company would be on the hook for the $25,000 amount. Now assume that, because the insurance company denied benefits, the policyholder did not obtain the necessary treatment. As a result, the policyholder’s injury worsened, and they suffered additional injuries. In this situation, the policyholder may be able to pursue a bad faith insurance claim which, if successful, would entitle them to the cost of the procedure as well as any other damages they incurred due to the delayed treatment. In this way, an insurance company may end up on the hook for far more than the insurance policy’s coverage limit.
What Types of Bad Faith Damages Are Available?
If you succeed in an Oregon bad faith insurance claim, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- The cost of the denied treatment;
- Lost wages resulting from your worsening health; and
- Attorney fees related to the bad-faith claim.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering resulting from the insurance company’s denial of coverage; and
- Emotional distress you endured due to the bad faith.
And remember, a bad faith insurance claim is brought in conjunction with the underlying claim, meaning you may also recover for any damages related to the accident itself. However, insurance law is very complex, and these large companies employ teams of highly skilled lawyers to defend their interests. To ensure that your rights are protected, you should enlist the assistance of an experienced Oregon personal injury legal practitioner.
Are You Tired of Dealing with a Difficult Insurance Company?
If you were recently injured in an accident and are frustrated by your insurance company’s unwillingness to take your claim seriously, give the dedicated Oregon bad faith insurance legal team at the D’Amore Law Group a call. For more than 25 years, we’ve helped clients navigate the complex personal injury recovery process when dealing with difficult insurance companies. We understand insurance companies’ duties to you, as the policyholder, and know-how to pursue the compensation you deserve. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with one of our insurance bad faith accident legal practitioners, give us a call or reach out through our online form.