What Is a Bad Faith Insurance Dispute?

By Brock Benjamin
Founding Attorney

You may have seen those heartwarming insurance commercials where they assert to be there for people despite what life may throw at them. This, oftentimes, is far from the reality you will experience with insurance companies should you ever be injured and need access to policy benefits to help cover your costs. In fact, insurance companies will go to great lengths to fight paying out full and fair compensation to injury victims in an attempt to protect their bottom line. Fortunately, the law does provide a way to hold insurance companies accountable for the improper handling of legitimate insurance claims.

What Is a Bad Faith Insurance Dispute?

Insurance bad faith is a civil claim a person brings against an insurance company due to the insurance companies unlawful and inappropriate handling of the claims process. You see, insurance companies owes an insured, whether it be a business or an individual, a duty of good faith and fair dealing. When this duty is violated, an insured may bring a claim for bad faith.

Bad faith insurance claims provide a way to hold insurance companies accountable. The law recognizes that individual policyholders are at a particular disadvantage in standing up to insurance companies as insurance companies often have vast resources at their disposal. Should an insurance company try to leverage an advantage in the claims process, bad faith insurance law can work to set things right. Should an insurance company breach the duties it owes to policyholders, it can face substantial damages, penalties, as well as attorney’s fees that total much more than what they should have paid out on an insured’s claim in the first place.

In order to successfully bring a bad faith insurance action, the plaintiff must be able to show that the insurance company knowingly acted in an unreasonable matter. The Texas Supreme Court said that the insurance company’s conduct must have been “egregious.” This may mean that the insurance company purposefully and unreasonably delayed a claim without any explanation. It may mean that the insurance company failed to make a settlement offer on a claim in a timely manner when liability was clear. In the alternative, it may mean that the insurance company misrepresented the value of a claim or withheld critical information regarding a claim.

If you are successful in bringing a bad faith claim against an insurance companies, you may receive a damage award that includes up to three times the amount the insurance company would have paid you if it had properly processed your claim in the first place. You may also be awarded attorney’s fees, as well as interest and court costs. In particularly egregious, and rare, cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages.

Civil Litigation Attorney

If you are looking to bring a bad faith claim against an insurance company, you need trusted civil litigation counsel by your side to fight for you. At Benjamin Law Firm, we are prepared to hold insurance companies accountable in court for the wrongs they have committed against their insureds. Contact us today.

About the Author
Brock Benjamin is board-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His practice is primarily state and federal criminal law and appeals.Brock 

Posted in: Civil Litigation