Being injured in a car accident in Missouri and Kansas can be a stressful experience due to the worries about your health and how to pay your bills. While you're off work trying to recover, it can be even more frustrating if an insurance company engages in bad faith negotiating tactics when you file your claim for compensation.
Unfortunately, the negligent driver’s insurance company may not be only party engaging in these unfair practices. If the negligent driver has no or little auto insurance, you may find it difficult to negotiate a fair settlement with your own insurance company if you must file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
It's important to understand the warning signs when an insurance carrier isn't treating you fairly so you're not taken advantage of during the claims process.
Watch Out for These Bad Faith Insurance Tactics
All insurance companies have a right and a duty to investigate and negotiate claims in good faith with policyholders and third-party accident victims. In all fairness, many insurance adjusters don't engage in bad faith tactics and try to act professionally.
However, here are some warning signs to keep in mind:
Denying Claims For No Reason.
The validity of your claim is black or white, so carriers must have reasons for denying it. If an adjuster refuses to give you a clear explanation of why the claim was denied, or if you suspect it's invalid, you may need to enlist the help of a lawyer.
Not Investigating A Claim.
Simply accepting the word of the insured that he or she wasn't negligent in causing your accident isn't a full investigation. The adjuster should obtain the police report, review accident scene photos, take statements from you and potential witnesses as to how the crash occurred, and other necessary steps before deciding on your claim.
Once you reach a claim settlement of your claim, you should receive payment within a reasonable period of time. If this doesn't happen, the insurance company may not be intending to pay you or at a minimum, isn't acting in good faith.
Making A Low Settlement Offer.
It's common for carriers to offer less of a settlement than you deserve. However, this may be a bad faith tactic if they refuse to be more reasonable as negotiations progress and you provided documents and other evidence that refute their disputes.
Ignoring Calls And Emails.
Part of treating you fairly is responding to calls and emails from you or your car accident attorney within a reasonable period of time.
Making Threatening Statements.
Some insurance adjusters make threatening statements to coerce a policyholder or third-party claimant into dropping the case. If this happens to you, retain an experienced car accident attorney immediately.
Making Burdensome Requests.
While the investigating adjuster has a right to ask you to provide documents and other accident evidence, this doesn't mean he has the right to make unreasonable requests for documentation. Doing so might be an attempt to delay settling your claim or to wear you down as a way to extend a lower offer.
If an adjuster intentionally misstates the law governing car accident claims, policy duties, or coverage, this can be a sign of bad faith tactics.
What to Do If This Happens to You
If any of these issues have come up during your claim process, contact a skilled car accident attorney immediately. You want the best resolution for your case, which includes fair treatment under the law and a proper settlement for your injury recovery.
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of car accident victims. Take advantage of our free initial consultation to get your questions answered and learn about your legal options. Contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your appointment.