After an accident, it's not just about the physical pain and emotional distress you're going through, but also the added stress of navigating complex insurance claims.
Insurance companies have a legal obligation to act in good faith when resolving your claim. But what happens when they don't? It's frustrating and disheartening, to say the least. But remember, you're not alone in this journey.
At Hinrichs & Scott Injury Trial Lawyers, we're committed to standing up for your rights when insurance companies act in bad faith. Our team has the knowledge, resources, and experience to help you pursue your deserved compensation during these rough waters.
We proudly serve clients throughout Kansas City and Missouri Counties, including Jackson, Clay, Platte, Cass, and the Kansas Counties: Wyandotte, and Johnson County.
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What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance bad faith manifests when an insurance company fails to act in good faith and deal fairly with your claim. Here are some examples:
Lowball First Offer
Insurance companies may make an initial settlement offer far below the actual value of your claim, hoping that you'll accept it without questioning its fairness.
They Want You to Accept the Lowball Offer
They rely on the fact that many claimants may not be aware of the full extent of their injuries or the cumulative expenses they may face in the future. By making a low offer, they hope that you'll accept it and not realize the true value of your claim.
In 2021, according to the National Safety Council, the U.S. experienced $1,225.4 billion in costs related to personal injuries. Given the abundance amount of damages, insurance companies will do their best to lowball a claim to prevent giving as much money as possible.
They Don't Consider Accumulative Expenses
Insurance companies may fail to consider the long-term costs associated with your injuries, such as ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, or lost wages, resulting in an inadequate settlement offer.
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
Insurance companies may try to settle your claim before you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point at which your condition stabilizes. By doing so, they can avoid paying for any future medical expenses or ongoing treatment.
Intentionally delaying the claims process is a tactic often used by insurance companies to frustrate claimants. They may fail to respond to your communications promptly or drag out the investigation and settlement negotiations.
In both Missouri and Kansas, laws dictate the timeline in which an insurance company must respond to your claim. These laws aim to ensure that insurance companies handle claims promptly and in good faith. If they fail to meet these deadlines, it may be considered a breach of their duty to act in good faith.
Failing to Conduct a Thorough Investigation
Insurance companies have a duty to conduct a thorough investigation of your claim. However, they may try to avoid this responsibility by claiming comparative negligence or failing to gather all the necessary evidence.
Comparative negligence is a defense strategy used by insurance companies to shift some or all of the blame for the accident onto you. They may argue that your own actions contributed to the accident and, therefore, reduce the amount of compensation they are willing to offer.
Misrepresenting the policy's coverage is another form of insurance bad faith. An insurance company might misrepresent the terms and coverage of your policy to avoid paying out a claim. This can lead to further confusion and disappointment for the claimant.
The Unfair Claims Practices Act in both Missouri and Kansas provides protections against such tactics, ensuring a fair and transparent process for all involved parties.
What Is Your Attorney’s Role in Settlement?
Dealing with a personal injury claim can be challenging, especially when you're already coping with the physical and emotional aftermath of an accident. That's where a reliable attorney can be extremely beneficial.
Guidance and Advice
An attorney understands that legal jargon and processes can be confusing. The role begins with providing clear, understandable advice about your claim. A personal injury attorney can guide you through each step of the process, informing you of the proceedings.
Investigation and Evidence Gathering
A solid personal injury claim is built on evidence. An attorney can take on the responsibility of thoroughly investigating your case and gathering all the necessary evidence. This might involve medical records, accident scene photos, witness statements, and any other relevant information that strengthens your claim.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company
Insurance companies can be tough negotiators. Their aim is often to settle claims for as little as possible. A lawyer can use their negotiation skills and experience to fight for a fair settlement on your behalf. Remember, they're well-versed in understanding insurance company tactics.
Representing You in Court
If a fair settlement can't be reached through negotiation, an attorney can take your case to court. They have the tools to advocate for your rights and interests, presenting the strongest case possible to achieve the best outcome for you.
Ensuring Compliance With the Law
The UNFAIR CLAIMS SETTLEMENT PRACTICES ACT sets out a timeline for insurance companies to investigate and settle claims. If they fail to comply with these timeframes, it could be considered insurance bad faith. A knowledgeable attorney can recognize this and take immediate action.
Secure Your Future
At Hinrichs & Scott Injury Trial Lawyers, we're not just your attorneys. We're your allies, your advocates, your support system. We're dedicated to fighting for your rights and helping you receive the fair compensation you deserve. You're not alone in this journey. We're with you every step of the way.
Insurance Bad Faith Attorneys Serving Kansas City
At Hinrichs & Scott Injury Trial Lawyers, we're dedicated to serving clients throughout Kansas City and the surrounding counties in both Missouri and Kansas. With our knowledge of personal injury claims and insurance bad faith cases, we're committed to fighting for your rights and ensuring that you receive the fair compensation you deserve.