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Columbia Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

Car Accident Claims & Bad Faith Failure to Settle in South Carolina

If you have been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, you have the right to file a claim with your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurer. All insurance carriers are obligated to act in good faith toward anyone making a claim against a policy, whether that person is a policy holder or not. Unfortunately, insurers may look out for their own best interests by reducing a settlement or denying a valid claim.

If you believe that an insurance company may be negotiating your car accident claim in bad faith, let the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC take legal action against the insurer and help you obtain your entitled compensation. Our legal team understands what it takes to resolve bad faith disputes between our clients and their insurance carriers. We are not afraid to litigate against insurance companies to ensure they act in good faith.

Call (803) 359-3301 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Serving clients in Columbia, Lexington, and beyond!

What is Bad Faith?

All insurance companies must investigate, negotiate, and settle claims in honestly, fairly, and in good faith. When insurers violate this duty, they can be held liable in court for their bad faith tactics.

South Carolina Code § 38-59-20 protects consumes from insurance bad faith. Therefore, car accident victims can file a bad faith lawsuit against the insurance carrier to hold them accountable for its unfair consumer practices and recover damages.

To win a bad faith claim, injured parties must prove that the insurer has breached their contract without valid justification by failing to provide legitimate reasons for denying the claim or committing an unlawful act. Remember, just because you are not happy with your settlement offer does not mean you have a bad faith case. Our firm can help you determine you have a valid bad faith claim.

Examples of Insurance Bad Faith

Most people do not fully understand how insurers do business, which makes it hard to know what happens behind the scenes. The truth is the insurance industry does employ a variety of well-known practices that are bad faith in nature.

The following are several common examples of bad faith insurance tactics:

  • Denying a claim without justification – The insurance company must give a claimant a reason why they deny a car accident claim. If you made a valid claim to an insurer and it was denied for an invalid reason or no reason whatsoever, you may have a bad faith claim against the carrier.

  • Failing to investigate a claim – Insurance companies have a duty to promptly and thoroughly investigate any car accident claims. If an insurer conducts a poor investigation or delays the investigation itself, you may have a valid claim for bad faith.

  • Refusing to compensate for a valid claim – If you filed a claim with an insurance carrier after a crash that was clearly covered by your policy or the other driver’s policy and the insurer fails to settle or pay a valid claim, it is likely acting in bad faith.

  • Offering a “low-ball” settlement – If an insurance company offers substantially less money than a claim is worth and does not budge from a low-ball settlement offer, you may have a bad faith claim.

  • Delaying payment of a valid claim – Insurers must pay claims within a reasonable time frame. If an insurer has approved a car accident claim but takes an unreasonably long time to fulfill the payment, it is likely acting in bad faith.

  • Refusing documentation requests – If a policy holder or a third party requests documents from an insurance company, it should always comply with any such reasonable requests. If you have asked an insurer to provide documentation in support of its decision to deny your claim and it refused to give you want you want, it may be considered bad faith.

  • Misrepresenting policy language or state law – As part of an insurance company’s duty of good faith, it must be truthful and honest in its statements about its policies and the law. If an insurer intentionally misrepresents the policy language or law, it is likely acting in bad faith.

  • Threatening claimants – Insurers must be professional and respectful to all parties. If an insurance company threatens policy holders and third parties who make claims after a car accident, it is considered bad faith.

Damages for Bad Faith

If you win an insurance bad faith claim, not only can you recover what the insurance company should have paid out for your initial and wrongfully denied claim, but you also obtain “consequential” damages due to the bad faith denial of the claim. Consequential damages also cover the entire cost of litigating the insurance company and attorney fees.

In some cases, insurers that intentionally or recklessly acted to harm the injured party may be subject to punitive damages, so long as there is valid proof of egregious conduct by the carrier. Punitive damages intend to punish the insurance company and deter other carriers from acting in the same manner.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

In South Carolina, you have three years from the time of the wrongful act to file bad faith insurance claim. Do not hesitate to let us help you hold the insurance company accountable for their dishonest and harmful actions.

Contact us today at (803) 359-3301 to discuss your case with our Columbia bad faith insurance attorney.

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