Filing an insurance claim is always a nerve-racking experience. Waiting for a claim to be resolved can be frustrating, but insurance companies sometimes make you wait much longer than necessary.
Insurance companies may delay the claims process for various reasons. While some reasons are valid, others are not, and you should speak to an attorney about suing the insurance company for bad faith dealings. The trick is knowing when the insurance company is trying to wait you out versus when there is a good reason for the delay. Frequent communication with the insurance company is important, and you should hold on to all messages, letters, and emails they send you. In your lawsuit, you might claim damages for the compensation the insurance company should have paid you if not for the undue delay in addition to expenses you might have incurred waiting for your claim. Depending on what state you live in, punitive damage might be available if the insurance company was dealing in bad faith.
To get in touch with our Maryland insurance denial attorneys and schedule a free case review, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
Why Insurance Companies Might Intentionally Delay Your Claim
If you have a pending insurance claim that does not seem to be moving forward, contact an attorney and discuss your case. While the insurance company may have a valid reason for the delay, there is a chance they do not. Undue delays are underhanded and often illegal tactics sometimes used by insurance companies to wait out claimants and avoid paying what they should.
Valid Reasons for a Delay
Our insurance denial attorneys can review the paperwork, communications, and messages exchanged between you and the insurance company to determine if there is a good reason for the delay. Sometimes, there really is a valid reason for the hold-up, and you can explore other legal options for compensation with your attorney.
One common reason insurance companies delay claims is that they do not have all the information they need. Incomplete or incorrect claims forms can cause a delay while insurance companies reach out to the necessary parties for the information they need. Sometimes, incorrect or incomplete information is from another party, such as the other driver in an insurance claim for a car accident. The other driver might be refusing to cooperate, causing the delay.
The insurance company might also delay your claim because they are waiting for evidence or records from other parties. In health insurance claims, insurance companies need records from doctors and hospitals before they approve or deny a claim. If the hospital does not send the necessary records to the insurance company, perhaps due to a clerical error, your claim might be delayed until the error is corrected.
Another reason your claim might be delayed, and all the more reason to speak to an attorney, is that other parties are disputing the claim. If you filed a third-party claim with someone else’s insurance, they might dispute your claim to avoid their insurance premiums going up. This is common in states where car accident victims have to file claims with the other driver’s insurance company.
When a Delay Becomes Invalid
It can be challenging to know when the delay on your claim is invalid or illegal. After all, insurance companies will go to great lengths to cover their tracks. One thing insurance companies rely on when dealing in bad faith is claimants being unrepresented by legal counsel. Having an attorney by your side to review your case and stick up for you when something is wrong could mean the difference between getting compensation and having your claim delayed into oblivion.
One big red flag to keep an eye out for is the lack of a reasonable explanation for the delay. Insurance companies must explain to claimants why their claims are denied, approved, or delayed, among other things. If your claim is not moving forward and the insurance company offers vague reasons as to why or no reasons at all, call a lawyer immediately.
Can I Sue My Insurance Company for Delaying My Claim on Purpose?
If you believe your insurance company is intentionally causing an undue delay with your claim, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit. Insurance companies might try to delay your claim in the hopes of running down the clock on the statute of limitations. This way, you would not longer have the right to sue them, and they can get away with offering you a lot less money than your claim is worth because you have no other legal recourse.
This kind of delay in an insurance claim is not just illegal; it is considered bad faith dealings and may be the subject of a civil lawsuit. Remember, there might be two separate legal cases you are dealing with here. The first is your potential case against the insurance company regarding the claim. The insurance company might delay your claim to run you past the deadline on the case, so you can no longer file it. The second claim is for the bad faith dealing of the undue delay.
Even if the statute of limitations on your insurance lawsuit expired, we might be able to sue anyway. The statute of limitations can be tolled for various reasons, and plaintiffs might get more time to file. One reason is unreasonable or undue delay created by the defendants with the intention of running down the clock. If the court agrees with us, you might still be able to sue.
Getting Compensation from an Insurance Company After They Intentionally Delay Your Claim
In your lawsuit against the insurance company for bad faith dealings, you may claim various damages surrounding your original claim. For example, if you filed an insurance claim for a car accident worth $25,000, but the insurance company never paid because of the delay, you can sue for that compensation.
On top of that, you can sue for damages related to expenses you incurred because of the delay. Perhaps you could not buy a new car after your accident because you were waiting so long on your insurance claim, and instead you had to lease a car. You can claim the cost of your vehicle lease among your damages.
Depending on what state you are in, punitive damages might also be on the table. These damages are not meant to make up for anything you lost but to punish the defendant for their bad behavior. While punitive damages tend to be rare, they might be more likely in cases where the defendant’s conduct was intentional, malicious, or deceitful. Check with your attorney about whether punitive damages are available where you live.
Call Our Insurance Denial Lawyers
To reach out to our Maryland personal injury attorneys and schedule a free case review, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.