Bad Faith Claims
Arizona residents buy insurance to protect themselves and receive benefits when certain events occur. If an insured submits a claim and they do not receive the coverage that they paid good money for, they might have an Arizona bad faith insurance claim. Arizona law states that insurance carriers must handle each claim fairly and be reasonable. A bad faith claim can be pursued when an insurance company fails to meet that standard.
The Arizona Supreme Court has stated that when an insurer fails to act in good faith, the insured is not limited to the damage provisions of a contract action. The insured can bring an action for different types of damages caused by the insurer's bad faith, including punitive damages.
To prove up a bad faith claim in court, the plaintiff must show that there was not a reasonable basis for denying benefits in the insurance policy, and the defendant insurer knew or should have known that they were required to make payment. The failure to pay is not unreasonable if there is a fair argument as to whether the claim is valid after an adequate investigation.
The standard used by the Court to determine if there is bad faith is reasonableness. These following situations have been found to be unreasonable by the Arizona Courts:
- The insurance company does not conduct a reasonable investigation before denying a claim.
- The insurer delays paying on a claim to try to get the insured to settle for a lesser amount.
- The insurer unreasonably delays working on the claim.
- The insurance company relies on part of the policy that has previously been ruled invalid.
- The company delays paying part of the claim that is undisputed to try to get a disputed portion of the claim settled.
- The insurance company fails to inform the insured of the duty to submit appropriate forms.
If the insurer eventually does the right thing and pays the benefits, that does not bar the bad faith claim. Only that initial unreasonable delay is required.
Being the victim of any car accident or other type of incident is frustrating. Having an insurance company wrongly deny a valid claim only makes the entire experience worse. Failing to pay on a claim can leave an injury victim without the means to pay for medical bills or to pay for other expenses incurred due to a crash. This failure to pay can have a long lasting effect and can impact all members of a family.
Many victims are surprised that the insurance they purchased to protect them in the event of a collision seems wrongfully denied to them after a crash. When dealing with your own insurance company, it seems the claim should be straight forward and the complications, if any, minor. But in some cases, the insurance company refuses to provide proper compensation to its own client. Sometimes, it is not even clear why the insurance company denies a claim. Attempting to deal with these insurance companies can be impossible for an individual who has no one advocating for them or representing their interests because the insurance companies will have all the power. Hiring a lawyer can help balance the scales and even tip them in the favor of the victim, ensuring that the victim's interests are represented and the victim's rights protected.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we understand that these denials can be devastating and that is why we help victims seek the compensation they deserve. We offer all victims a free, no obligation telephone consultation and we keep a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (855) PHX-LAWYER or (602) 819-5191 to take your call. Further, if we agree to take your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf because we always put the interests of our clients first.
If an accident has left you injured and you believe you have wrongfully been denied compensation you are entitled to, do not hesitate. Call us today and let us help you understand your accident and what legal options may be available to you.
If you believe that you are the victim of bad faith by an insurance carrier, Contact Us Online or call us at (855) PHX-LAWYER for a free consultation today.