What Is a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?
In 1977, the Oklahoma Supreme Court established that “an insurer has an implied duty to deal fairly and act in good faith with its insured and that the violation of this duty gives rise to an action in tort for which consequential and, in a proper case, punitive, damages may be sought.”
Bad faith actions can arise from any type of insurance policy, including, but not limited to:
- Auto insurance.
- Health insurance.
- Disability insurance policies.
- Homeowner’s policies.
- Workers’ compensation policies.
Elements of a Bad Faith Action
In 2005, the Oklahoma Supreme Court established the essential elements of bad faith action. To prevail on your claim, you must prove:
- You were covered under the policy at the time of the event for which you are seeking coverage so the insurer was required to take reasonable actions in handling your claim.
- The actions of the insurer were unreasonable under the circumstances.
- The insurer failed to deal fairly and in good faith in the handling of the claim.
- The violation of the good faith and fair dealing requirement was the direct cause of any damages you sustained.
A simple mistake is not considered bad faith. Bad faith generally involves the insurer working hard to find ways to support a denial of a claim and ignoring the claimant’s evidence that supports the policyholder’s reasons for pursuing the claim.
Examples of Bad Faith Claims
There are many ways in which an insurance company can act in bad faith. Just a few examples include:
- Failing to promptly act on a claim.
- Denying a claim without properly investigating it.
- Making an unreasonable settlement offer.
- Imposing deadlines on the insured that are not specified in the insurance policy.
- Refusing to pay the full value of the claim.
- Unreasonable delays in processing the claim.
- Unreasonable interpretation of policy language.
- Failure to disclose policy limits.
- Misrepresentation of benefits and coverage.
- Denying the existence of coverage for the loss presented by the specific claim.
Getting Help with Your Bad Faith Insurance Claim
The team at Brown & Gould, PLLC in OKC will help you prove the elements of your bad faith insurance claim. Call us today for more information or to schedule an appointment with a member of our team, 405-235-4500. For your convenience, we can arrange for an off-site, evening, or weekend appointment.