Understanding the Bad Faith
Tactics of Insurance Companies
May 6, 2022
Under Missouri and Kansas laws, insurance providers are expected to treat all injury claims filed by claimants in good faith. Unfortunately, some non-compliant insurance carriers employ various bad faith practices when dealing with claims, including offering low settlements, denying valid claims, making threatening statements, or causing unnecessary delays.
If the insurance company has denied your claims or is negotiating your injury claim using bad faith tactics, you need to retain a highly-skilled Missouri personal injury attorney to help protect your rights. At Denning Law Firm, LLC, we're committed to offering experienced legal counsel and advocating for the best interests of injury victims and their loved ones. Our trusted team will investigate the insurance company's conduct and determine whether your claim was affected by bad faith practices. We will strive to hold the insurance company responsible for their bad faith actions and help you pursue the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Our law firm proudly represents clients across Kansas City—in both Kansas and Missouri—as well as Overland Park.
Common Bad Faith Tactics
Bad faith practices comprise the unethical, deceitful, or unfair tactics used by insurers to deny, undervalue, or delay payments of valid injury claims. Unfortunately, many plaintiffs suffer financial difficulties and are left to endure the burden of their personal injuries due to the bad faith practices of insurance providers. Below are some common bad faith tactics used by insurers:
Lowball First Offer
Lowballing involves offering a plaintiff an amount that is exceedingly lower than the actual value of their injury claim. Many insurers employ this bad faith conduct to discourage or frustrate claimants. Unfortunately, some plaintiffs will reluctantly accept the insurance carrier's first settlement offer just to achieve relief from accumulating medical bills and financial hardship.
Generally, personal injury victims are advised to only accept a settlement offer after reaching the Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)—where their condition can't improve any longer.
Long and Unnecessary Delays
According to Missouri's Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, insurance companies have up to 30 days to investigate a claim. In Kansas, insurance providers have only 15 days to settle an injury claim. In contrast, some insurance providers will unreasonably delay injury claims by failing to investigate, respond, or propose a settlement offer to the claimant. The plan is to frustrate the plaintiff and discourage them from pursuing a claim.
Misrepresenting the Law or Policy Language
This is another bad faith tactic used by insurance carriers. Both Missouri and Kansas laws require insurance providers to always act in good faith and fair dealing. The insurer must be completely upfront, honest, and transparent in their statements regarding the insurance policy and the law. Unfortunately, some insurers may deliberately interpret policy language to the claimant’s detriment. This is a bad faith practice.
Failing to Conduct a Complete Investigation
Both Kansas and Missouri laws require that insurance companies should investigate claims within a certain time frame. Conversely, some insurance providers will not investigate the incident at all. Rather, the insurer will quickly cite modified comparative fault (Kansas) or pure comparative fault (Missouri) to undervalue or deny the amount of financial compensation a claimant can recover.
Other Bad Faith Tactics
Some other examples of insurance bad faith tactics include:
Hiding crucial information about claims
Using dishonest tactics to avoid paying the claimant
Refusing to pay a valid claim
Declining reasonable requests for documentation from the plaintiff
Offering a reduced settlement than the actual worth of a claim
Denying valid injury claims without providing any credible reason
Making threatening or intimidating statements to plaintiffs, policyholders, or third parties
If you believe that the insurance company is acting in bad faith, you need to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Your lawyer can investigate the insurance provider's conduct and determine the best course of action.
Work With an Experienced
Personal Injury Attorney
Being involved in a negligent accident can be a difficult and emotional experience. The entire situation can become more overwhelming if the insurer denies or undervalues your valid claim or fails to honor their contractual obligations. Thankfully, claimants may be eligible to take legal action against insurance providers that are negotiating using bad faith tactics. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you understand your possible legal options to seek damages and hold the unscrupulous insurer liable.
At Denning Law Firm, LLC, our attorneys have the diligence and resources to guide and represent plaintiffs in complex personal injury cases involving denied claims and bad faith insurance tactics. Using their extensive knowledge of the state laws addressing insurance fair conduct, our trusted team can investigate the insurer's actions and determine the best way to proceed with your injury case. As your legal counsel, we will fight for your best interests and help you pursue the financial justice you deserve.
Don't leave your fate in the hands of insurance providers or claims adjusters who won't protect your legal rights. If you believe that the insurer is not handling your injury claims in good faith, you may take appropriate legal action against them. Contact Denning Law Firm, LLC today to schedule a simple case assessment with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys. We represent clients across Kansas City, Missouri, as well as Kansas City, Kansas, including Overland Park and the rest of Johnson County.