Missoula Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
The majority of Americans purchase insurance for the sake of peace of mind, believing that you would never need it. To protect yourself, your family, or your business, you pay your insurance premiums on a regular basis. You trust the insurance provider to be there for you in your time of need.
Insurance firms, on the other hand, are primarily concerned with their financial bottom lines. Insurance companies are specialists at the deny, delay, and underpay strategies, rather than supporting you when you need it most. If you have fallen victim to the bad faith actions of an insurance company, the Missoula insurance bad faith attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC are here to assist in filing a claim.
Why Hire Heenan & Cook, PLLC for Your Insurance Bad Faith Claim
Insurance bad faith cases can be difficult and time-consuming to resolve. In addition, there are a plethora of laws that can be applied to every given situation, both under federal and state statutes. However, we recognize that winning an insurance bad faith claim requires more than just knowing the law, and we will thoroughly explore all aspects of our clients’ cases.
Heenan & Cook’s attorneys have decades of combined experience resolving personal injury and complex litigation issues. John Heenan, one of our partners, is a Super Lawyer with an AV rating. In addition, our other partner, Joseph Cook, has been named the 2020 Trial Lawyer of the Year, making him one of the youngest lawyers in history to receive this honor.
Why You Need an Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
An insurance company commits an injustice when it denies, delays, or underpays your insurance claim for improper reasons. However, a lawyer is required to persuade the courts that this unfairness is more than a breach of contract. The only way to recover damages from an insurance company is to file a bad faith claim. It’s critical to realize that the only way to win these claims is to show that the insurance company acted in bad faith.
A knowledgeable insurance bad faith attorney can assist you in determining your possibilities and will research the details to establish the insurance company’s bad faith practices. Bad faith claims are not recognized in all states; therefore, your claim will be determined by where you live as well as where the insurance policy was issued. Due to the complexities of a bad faith claim, it is imperative that you have an experienced attorney on your side.
Types of Insurance Bad Faith
In order to analyze and pay claims, insurance firms must have policies and procedures in place. They must conduct investigations, determine coverage, and pay appropriate amounts while adhering to all applicable rules and regulations. When they go against any rules and regulations, they likely are acting in bad faith. Common examples of bad faith action by an insurance company include, but are not limited to:
- Insurance firms that harass and threaten you over the course of a claim investigation
- Insurance firms that unjustifiably delay or refuse your claim recompense
- Insurance firms that make the claims process as difficult as possible in order to deter you from filing a claim
- Insurance companies who neglect your claim or fail to respond to it in a timely manner
- Insurance companies that provide you no reason for a claim that is denied or drastically underpaid
- Insurance firms that do not investigate your claim completely or thoroughly
- Insurance companies that purposefully keep you in the dark about the appeals process
The above is not an exhaustive list. If you had any claim that you felt was not properly handled by your insurance company, it is likely that they acted in bad faith. A complete guide to insurance bad faith claims in Montana can be found here.
What Obligations Do Insurance Companies Have to Montana Injury Victims?
Montana law places heightened burdens on insurance companies so that they are required to treat consumers fairly. Montana is one of the few states that place statutory duties on insurance companies to deal fairly and in good faith with injury victims. (In most states, insurance companies have no obligation at all to act fairly towards anyone other than their own insureds.) This area of law is referred to as “bad faith.”
Montana law specifically prohibits the following claim settlement practices:
- Misrepresenting facts relating to insurance coverage
- Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies.
- Failing to have reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies.
- Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation.
- Neglecting to attempt in good faith to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of claims where liability is “reasonably clear”.
So, under Montana law, when an injury claim is made, the insurance company must promptly investigate the claim and, if its insured is clearly at fault, make an effort to reach a fair and quick settlement. Unfortunately, insurance companies often look for ways around these obligations. One common ploy is to claim that its own insured is not “clearly” responsible, or that the victim is the one who is at fault. Another trick is to claim that the injuries were not “clearly” caused by the accident. Or, the insurance company may request all types of information, useful or not, in order to delay paying a claim.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand and invoke your rights to make the insurance company act in good faith, and can analyze whether you may be entitled to additional compensation for the way the insurance company has handled your claim.
Contact Heenan & Cook, PLLC Today
If you believe your insurance carrier is operating in bad faith, the case may not be as simple as you believe. As a result, you should hire a lawyer who specializes in insurance bad faith claims, such as the Missoula insurance bad faith attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC.
While you may be pursuing a claim for bad faith, our attorneys will advise you on whether your case should be brought in state or federal court, and whether you have additional actions against the insurance company.