You’ve been in an accident. You file a claim with your insurance company. You’re hurt, your car needs repair, and you’re missing work. You repeatedly contact your insurance company and receive no response. You go to the doctor, the radiologist, the chiropractor. Bills pile up. Finally, a letter from your insurance company arrives, but the amount they offer is less than you need. You throw up your hands. Maybe you swear a little, or a lot. After all, you’ve paid thousands of dollars to this company over the years to help you in a situation like this.
Why aren’t they, you know. Helping?
It depends. It does take time to investigate, process, and resolve a claim. Paperwork, too. But when an insurance company takes forever to respond to you, unreasonably denies or delays payment or coverage, shuttles you from department after department or even misrepresents facts, it’s time to wonder if the company is acting in bad faith and breached Colorado Law.
In Colorado, when your insurance company does not treat you fairly, your claims are covered by several different avenues for justice including claims for bad faith and statutory remedies for unreasonably delaying or denying covered benefits under the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. These remedies are designed to protect you if an insurance company unreasonably denies or delays your home, auto, health, or disability claims. In Colorado, insurance companies are legally required to promptly acknowledge and investigate your claim, respond quickly to your communications, not swamp you with unnecessary paperwork, and give valid reasons for delays or denial. In order to be found liable, an insurance company’s actions must be found to be below the standard of care or unreasonable given the circumstances.
Recent Bad Faith Insurance Claim Cases
Several recent cases have provided victories to Colorado plaintiffs and further developed the legal landscape:
- Shultz v. GEICO: Insurance companies may not manufacture evidence to support their earlier decisions.
- State Farm v. Fisher: If a portion of an insured’s claim is in dispute, the undisputed portion must still be paid.
- Nibert v. GEICO: Insurance companies may still owe damages for unreasonably delaying benefits, even if they eventually pay them.
If an insurance company is found culpable of acting in bad faith or violating Colorado statutes, Colorado plaintiffs can receive double or triple damages, including attorney’s fees. In short, Colorado insurance companies have plenty of motivation to treat you well.
But what if they don’t?
First of all, go ahead and swear. We don’t judge.
Don’t assume your insurance company is out to get you. There are valid reasons for denying claims, and investigations take time. Keep records of your phone calls and correspondence. If an adjuster is unhelpful, speak to their supervisor. Document your bills and financial losses. But if you feel you are getting nowhere, or the amount your insurance company offers is less than you deserve?
Don’t try to fight an insurance company by yourself.
Because the truth is, your insurance company is more concerned about their bottom line than yours. No matter how nice the adjuster is on the phone, their job is to save money for their employer, not improve your bank balance. Adjusters are trained to smile while they listen to you, but they are looking for reasons to deny your claim.
Call us. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers to help them. You need a lawyer who represents you.
Article by Molly Fuscher