It’s not uncommon to think you’ve been treated unfairly by your own insurance company, especially when you are presenting a claim that requires them to pay you a settlement amount. In some cases, the insurance companies are acting within their rights, even if you don’t agree with the outcome. However, there are certain situations where you may have a claim for what’s known as bad faith. This is when your insurance carrier fails to fulfill their legal obligations to you, causing you to suffer financial loss. In these instances, you may have a claim for damages and attorney’s fees against your own carrier. Because bad faith claims are tricky and complex, it’s important to retain a South Carolina personal injury attorney who is familiar with the nuances of bad faith claims in the state.
Most Common Types of Bad Faith
In South Carolina, bad faith can fall under several different scenarios. One example might be an outright denial. Your insurance company denies a claim that is valid and should be covered by the insurance policy. Another involves delays or partial payments. If the delay in payment of an insurance claim is unfounded, or your insurer only pays out a portion of what they should be paying, this may qualify as bad faith. Failing to thoroughly investigate a claim or failing to make a good faith settlement offer are two of the other scenarios that might reflect badly on an insurance company’s conduct.
Actions That Constitute Bad Faith
According to SC Code Section 38-59-20, there are a variety of activities that can constitute bad faith. These apply to a variety of insurance companies, including accident and health, property and casualty insurance, surety, marine, or title insurance. Some of these improper claim practices include:
- Knowingly misrepresenting facts to the insured, such as a policy provision;
- Failing to communicate in a timely manner;
- Failing to reasonably investigate and settle claims, particularly within a prompt manner;
- Failing to adopt a good faith attempt to settle a claim;
- Failing to offer a fair settlement amount (often in order to prompt policyholders to pursue legal suits); and
- Any other actions that would be considered unreasonable that are taken to delay or avoid settlement of a claim.
Retaining a Bad Faith Attorney
If you’re dealing with a situation where it seems that your own carrier or the third-party carrier is acting in bad faith, you need a skilled attorney who deals with insurance carriers and personal injury claims on a daily basis. Let our team at Elrod Pope Law Firm assist with the claim and ensure your accident settlement is fair and equitable. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.