Kennewick Bad Faith Insurance Claim Lawyers
Holding insurance companies liable when they fail to bargain in good faith
You pay good money for your car insurance and health insurance premiums. When you have an accident or a health problem, you have the right to expect your insurance company will pay you the fair amount to which you are entitled. When your insurance company delays talking to you, makes low offers, or denies payment on grounds it knows aren’t true; they should be held accountable for their bad faith response.
Accountability means more than just paying you what they should have paid in the first place. At Telaré Law, our Kennewick bad faith insurance lawyers demand compensation for your lawyer’s fees to force the insurance company to pay you. We may seek triple damages and other remedies. Our personal injury lawyers have negotiated with numerous insurance carriers. We understand when insurance companies are complying with the law, insurance industry standards, and your contract. We’ll help you obtain the compensation you truly deserve.
How can we help?
- What types of insurance claims may be subject to bad faith?
- Does Washington have laws on insurance bad faith?
- What is bad faith conduct by insurance companies?
- What defenses to bad faith claims do insurance companies assert?
- What remedies do you use when insurance companies in Kennewick act in bad faith?
- Do you have an insurance bad faith lawyer near me?
In Kennewick, car, truck, and motorcycle owners can buy several types of insurance to pay for their medical bills, lost income, and other damages in the event they have an accident. These insurance policies are filed by the injured victim (or someone covered by the insurance policy, such as a child who drives your car) against their own insurance company.
Claims by a policyholder against their own insurance company are called first-party claims. They’re different from the liability claims (third-party claims) our personal injury lawyers file when a negligent driver causes harm.
Examples of first-party claims include:
- Uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance claims. The owners of vehicles and anyone else covered under the policy (such as household members who have permission to use the owner’s car) can file a UM/UIM claim if the liable defendants don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance to pay the full claim.
- Collision insurance. Owners can file for the cost to fix or replace their car – even if the owner caused the accident – if the owner has collision insurance.
- Healthcare insurance. Anyone who has a healthcare insurance policy should be able to use this policy to pay for their health expenses if there is an accident in the Kennewick region until there is a settlement or a verdict of the liability claim.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. While not required in Washington, many car owners buy this insurance which pays the healthcare expenses of an owner, or anyone else entitled to a claim, through the PIP policy. PIP insurance should also cover lost wages, loss of services, and funeral benefits, up to the policy limits.
Normally, the first-party insurance company has the right to subrogation (reimbursement) for a liability insurance carrier if fault can be shown.
Our Kennewick personal injury lawyers help accident victims obtain their first-party benefits until their case is resolved.
Does Washington have laws on insurance bad faith?
Yes. Washington has a law that covers bad faith claims that governs the unreasonable denial of a claim for coverage or payment of benefits. The law (known as the Insurance Fair Conduct Act) provides as follows:
When a first-party insurance carried unreasonably denies a claim, the insurance can recover:
- The actual damages sustained
- The costs of the action, including reasonable attorneys' fees and litigation costs. This amount also includes actual and statutory litigation costs, including expert witness fees.
- The Washington Superior Court may “increase the total award of damages to an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages.”
What is bad faith conduct by insurance companies?
The statute further provides that unreasonable denials (bad faith) include the following (which are defined in other state laws):
- Specific unfair claims settlement practices
- Misrepresentation of policy provisions
- Failure to acknowledge pertinent communications
- Violations of the standards for prompt investigation of claims
- Violations of the standards for prompt, fair and equitable settlements applicable to all insurers
- “An unfair claims settlement practice rule adopted under RCW 48.30.010 by the insurance commissioner intending to implement this section.”
- Other determinations of bad faith as determined by the court
Examples of unfair claims settlement practices are defined by Washington law as:
- Misrepresenting the facts or terms of the insurance policy.
- Failing to respond to and acknowledge communications such as phone calls, letters, and emails promptly.
- Failing to “implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims.”
- “Failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after fully completed proof of loss documentation has been submitted.”
- Not trying to fairly and promptly settle a claim when liability is reasonably clear. When multiple insurance companies may share liability, they should arrange to pay the insured and then argue about how to apportion the responsibility between themselves.
- Forcing the insured to start litigation or arbitration proceedings unnecessarily.
- Trying to pay “less than the amount to which a reasonable person would have believed he or she was entitled by reference to written or printed advertising material accompanying or made part of an application.”
- “Delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring a first party claimant or his or her physician to submit a preliminary claim report and then requiring subsequent submissions which contain substantially the same information.”
There are many other ways of showing bad faith, which our skilled Kennewick bad faith lawyers are ready to assert.
At Telaré Law, we know what steps by insurance companies are reasonable and which ones cross the line of fair resolution of your claim. In addition to the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, we also review whether the insurance company violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
What defenses to bad faith claims do insurance companies assert?
Some acts by the insurance company are reasonable, even if we don’t always like them. Insurance companies do have the right to review whether you are covered by the insurance policy. They also have a right to investigate your claim. Insurance companies can make offers based on settlements and verdicts in similar cases.
Insurance companies are only required to pay the amount of your insurance coverage, at most. If your car accident claim is worth $150,000, but the driver who hit you is uninsured and your UM/UIM policy only provides for $100,000 in coverage, then the insurance company only has to pay the $100,000 if the other driver negligently caused the accident.
What remedies do you use when insurance companies in Kennewick act in bad faith?
As part of our representation in personal injury cases, we’re ready to take fast action if an insurance company is uncooperative. We question the adjuster, seek discovery of all relevant records, and work step-by-step to show the insurance company and the adjuster weren’t proceeding according to state laws and insurance company standards. We may also file a claim with the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Telaré Law represents clients injured in car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other types of personal injury cases. We meet clients at our Kennewick office located at 819 South Auburn St. We also see clients at our office in Richland. We do meet clients at their homes, hospitals, and by video when they’re too ill to come to our office.
Most accident cases do settle. When insurance companies act in bad faith, we file civil actions directly against the insurance companies. When their offers are less than you deserve, we’re ready to try your liability claim in court.
Speak with our respected Kennewick insurance bad faith lawyers now. Call Team Telaré.
Insurance premiums for accident-related expenses aren’t cheap. You pay good money for those policies. Insurance companies who are all too happy to take your premium payments must honor their contracts and treat you fairly. When insurance companies try to pressure you into a bad settlement or deny legitimate claims altogether, our Kennewick bad faith insurance lawyers are ready to hold them accountable.
We represent bad faith insurance accident victims in Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, Walla Walla, Pullman, Othello, Moses Lake, Ritzville, and all of Southeast Washington. Call our Kennewick personal injury lawyers or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation.