1. What is insurance company bad faith?
Your insurance company has a duty to handle your claim promptly, reasonably and in “good faith.” If an insurance company fails or refuses to honor its contract and pay a valid claim, you have the right to bring a civil action for damages against that insurance company.
2. I think the offer the insurance company gave me is too low. Is this bad faith?
Intentionally offering a settlement far lower than what is reasonable could be a case for bad faith. Insurance companies have an obligation to deal with their insured in a reasonable, fair manner. Contact The Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP to discuss your unique claim.
3. What is a “reservation of rights” letter?
The first thing you might receive from an insurance company is called a “reservation of rights” letter. This letter informs you that the company is investigating your claim, but that it is reserving its right not to pay you anything if it turns out that the accident is not covered under the policy or the claim is still under investigation. The insurance company must still thoroughly investigate your claim and negotiate with you fairly. The letter simply protects the insurance company by preventing you from claiming that the company’s insurance policy must cover your accident just because it began investigating your claim.
4. An insurance company has offered a settlement. Should I take it?
When the insurance adjuster makes you a first offer, your response should depend on whether it is a reasonable offer. If the offer is reasonable, you can immediately make a counteroffer that is a little bit lower than the amount you originally demanded. This shows the adjuster that you, too, are being reasonable and are willing to compromise. In these negotiations, emphasize the strongest points in your favor — for example, that the insured was completely at fault, that you had a very painful injury, that your medical costs were reasonable, and/or that you had long-term or permanent physical effects. However, these types of negotiations may be complex. An experienced personal injury attorney is much better suited to handle settlement negotiations. Additionally, the insurance industry’s own statistics prove that on average, a person using an attorney will get three times as much money as a person without an attorney.
5. Will I be taxed on the settlement amount I receive?
Generally speaking, you will not pay income taxes on the amount of the settlement, particularly when it is compensation for pain and suffering.
6. How soon will my claim be settled?
Insurance companies are required by law to pay all claims in a prompt and reasonable amount of time. However, what constitutes prompt and reasonable may vary from claim to claim. Claims that require special or extended investigation may take longer to resolve.
7. When should I contact an insurance settlement lawyer?
Certainly before you make any type of commitment in an insurance settlement. Dealing directly with an insurance company can lead to disastrous results. The insurance company will often record your conversation or get you to admit to facts about the accident or your injuries that will hurt your case. You should contact The Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP. We can assist you in asking the right questions, getting a fair settlement and court proceedings if necessary.
8. Can the insurance adjuster record our telephone conversation?
Generally, he/she can. It is best not to discuss your case without the advice of a lawyer. A lawyer is more experienced with these matters and it may be best to have a lawyer speak on your behalf.
9. Can the insurance company do video surveillance of me or my family without my permission?
Yes, they can. Insurance companies claim that they do surveillance to prevent fraudulent claims. However, even legitimately injured people may find themselves the subject of a video surveillance camera.
10. What if I have other questions?
Contact us today. We will answer your questions and discuss your case.