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What if My Michigan Car Insurer Acts in Bad Faith While Handling My Claim?

young man on phone while reading documentsYour insurance company owes a duty and is legally bound to handle your car crash claim according to the terms of your policy. Despite the laws, however, some auto insurers may resort to bad faith tactics. There are many ways this can happen. Examples of bad faith handling include not honoring the terms of your policy or wrongfully denying your claim, among others. Unfortunately, policyholders are the victims, often ending up with settlements that are far less than the value of their claims.

If you suspect your insurance company is acting in bad faith, you can contact Jay Trucks for a free consultation. Our car insurance claims lawyers in Grand Rapids are ready to determine whether you may be a victim of insurance company bad faith and how we may be able to help.

Schedule a FREE case review today. (800) 762-8623

What is Bad Faith Insurance Conduct?

Bad faith is the legal term given to the behavior of an insurance company that illegally handles the claim of one of its policyholders. There are many underhanded or illegal tactics insurance companies use that may be a sign of insurance bad faith, such as:

Failing to Properly Investigate the Incident

If your insurer fails to properly investigate your accident, this could be an early indication of insurance bad faith. Some of the signs of an inadequate investigation may include if an insurance company:

  • Fails to assess the accident scene in a timely manner
  • Delays or fails to communicate with relevant parties
  • Fails to analyze accident-related issues
  • Causes other unreasonable delays to the investigation

In other cases, insurers may fail to take relevant contributing factors under consideration. Accurately calculating repair assessments, for example, could impact the value of a victim's claim.

Bad faith insurers often do just enough to keep up the pretense of properly handling a claim. They may hope that a car crash victim either accepts a lowball offer without a fight or gives up seeking compensation altogether.

Purposely Misinterpreting the Law or Policy Language

Insurance policies are often complex contracts filled with legal jargon that is hard or confusing for most people to understand. This lack of clarity is by design. It enables an insurance company to make it difficult for a victim to understand what is or is not covered. It also makes it easier for an insurance company to:

  • Intentionally misrepresent certain aspects of a policy provision
  • Use vague, hard-to-understand, or dated language
  • Use - or misuse - policy terms to benefit the insurance company
  • Refer to policy terms or provisions that do not apply to a victim's case
  • Attempt to use laws that are no longer relevant

Refusing to Pay the Full Value of a Claim

Insurance companies may intentionally undervalue a claim, offering the victim far less than its full value. Injured victims are vulnerable to these offers, which can seem like a lot of money.  However, these offers often omit future costs and other important calculations. Victims are then left to foot the bill for any remaining medical costs, property damage and other losses.

Causing Unreasonable Delays in Sending Payments

Insurance companies may often unreasonably delay sending payments to an accident victim. For injured victims with medical costs that exceed their no-fault benefits limits, this tactic is especially damaging. 

Wrongfully Denying a Claim

When an insurance company denies a claim, they cannot simply send notice of that decision without an explanation. They are required by law to notify you of the denial, but must also provide:

  • A legitimate reason your claim was denied
  • Facts about your claim that resulted in the denial
  • The specific policy terms that support this decision

Michigan's House Bill 5104

Until recent years, Michigan policyholders had few laws to help them from insurers that handle claims in bad faith. In 2017, however, Michigan passed House Bill 5104 into law to help protect victims of bad faith insurance claims by imposing insurers with:

  • A duty to deal fairly and in good faith with policyholders who claim benefits
  • Liability for compensatory, economic, noneconomic and other damages resulting from a breach
  • Liability for attorney fees resulting from litigation resulting from a bad faith insurance claim

Victim of Bad Faith Insurance Tactics? Our Firm is Ready to Help

If you believe you are a victim of bad faith insurance tactics, our knowledgeable attorneys at Jay Trucks are ready to help. Take advantage of the free initial consultation we offer to learn more about your situation. If we find that you have a valid case, we can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. We are dedicated to helping injured victims throughout Michigan. Our law firm has a proven track record, recovering millions on behalf of our clients. There are no upfront costs if we represent you. We do not collect payment for our services until you get paid.

Available to take your call at  (800) 762-8623 24/7.