What Obligations Does the Insurance Company Have When You File a Claim?

envelope with insurance claim denial form
envelope with insurance claim denial form

Is the insurance company handling your accident claim in good faith?

They have a legal obligation to act in good faith when a claim is filed. For example, they are within their rights to deny a claim, but they need to have a good reason for doing so. Unreasonable delays in investigating or deciding whether to pay out or deny your claim could be considered bad faith. 

Below, we discuss what it means to manage a claim in good faith. Call us today if you think the insurance company is not handling your claim fairly. We can discuss your claim today to learn how we may be able to help you. There are no upfront fees for managing your case and the initial consultation is 100 percent free.

Call us today. We are ready to help with your claim: 216-621-0070.

Does Good Faith Apply to First and Third-Party Claim?

Ohio laws on insurance good faith practices usually only apply to first-party claims.  That means these laws only apply to claims filed by policyholders themselves.

After a crash, the accident victim files a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance and not a claim with his or her own insurance. 

However, sometimes it is necessary to file a claim against your own insurance policy, even if you did not cause the crash. For example, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance you would need to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance policy. If the other driver does not have enough coverage for your damages, you would need to file an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance.

Even though the at-fault driver’s insurance company may not be bound by bad faith laws, you should still expect them to deal with your claim efficiently. If they do not, you should contact an attorney to help you. Insurers often delay claims in the hopes victims will accept a lowball offer of compensation.

If the insurance company does not give you a good reason for denying your claim, you should ask them for one. If the insurance company is taking too long to respond to your phone calls or emails, you should contact an attorney. Insurance companies often take claims more seriously when they are dealing with an attorney, not the victim.

What Does it Mean to Handle a Claim in Good Faith?

The insurance company cannot do anything to hurt the insured person’s right to receive benefits that are required to be paid out by the policy.

For example, the insurance company cannot refuse to pay unless it has a reasonable justification for it. That means they cannot give you a vague justification for a denial or even no justification for a denial.

Insurance companies have a legal obligation to conduct an adequate investigation of a claim. If they have not done an adequate investigation, it is difficult for them to make a reasonable decision about your claim.

You should receive a decision about your claim within a reasonable amount of time. Taking too long to settle or deny a claim is often a tactic used by insurers to try to get victims to accept a lowball settlement offer.

Payment of your claim should be made in a timely manner. If payment is not made in a timely manner and there is no good reason for the delay, the insurance company may be acting in bad faith.

If you are concerned your claim is being handled in bad faith, you should contact an experienced Cleveland vehicle crash lawyer to review your situation. There is a much better chance of your claim being taken seriously if you are being represented by an attorney. When lawyers are involved insurance companies know there is a possibility of a lawsuit being filed. Insurance companies would like to avoid that.

Is the Insurance Company Mistreating You? Contact Us

For decades, Friedman, Domiano and Smith has been a strong advocate for those injured in car accidents. We have obtained millions from insurance companies to help crash victims get medical treatment and pay for other damages caused by car crashes.

If you are uncertain if you need an attorney, or even uncertain about whether you have a case, give us a call today. If the insurance company has already denied your claim, we may also be able to help.

Call to discuss your claim. There are no upfront fees: 216-621-0070.


Comments are now closed