Insurance Claims in Spokane, Washington
Insurance companies are required by Washington State law to live up to the contractual obligations imposed upon them by the policies they issue. There are times, however, when an insurance company (or insurer) fails to pay a valid claim, refuses to the pay the full amount of a claim, or attempts to delay payment of a claim. When an insurance company fails to live up to their contractual obligations under a policy, it may be acting in bad faith, and the policyholder or insured may have a legal claim for damages against the insurer.
Bad Faith ClaimsAn insurance company is required by law to act in good faith, paying all valid claims. It may take a reasonable amount of time to investigate a claim in order to determine if it is valid; it may not however, look for reasons to deny payment. If a policyholder can prove that an insurer breached its duty of good faith, and that the breach was frivolous, unreasonable, or unfounded, he or she may have a claim for damages against the insurer.¹ Just as in other tort cases, a policyholder, or Plaintiff, must show that he or she was harmed by the insurer’s breach, in order to prevail in a bad faith claim against an insurance company. Under Washington law, if a Plaintiff can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the insurance company breached its duty of good faith, it is presumed that the Plaintiff was harmed. ² An insurance company may rebut this presumption by offering proof that there was no harm or prejudice to the Plaintiff caused by the alleged breach of good faith.
Insurance Claims AttorneyMany people are unpleasantly surprised to discover that their own insurance carrier does not always have their best interest in mind. While insurance companies can variously claim to be your "good neighbor" or assure you that you are in "good hands" when selling you a policy, when it comes to paying a claim, it is an entirely different story. At that point, it is about paying as little as possible. Our job is to maximize your recovery, and with our extensive experience in the various facets of insurance law, including first and third party claims, bad faith, and subrogation, that is just what we do. If you are involved in a claims or subrogation process, or have been injured in an accident and will soon become involved in one, contact us today, to ensure that your legal rights are preserved and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and/or damages.
¹ Kirk v. Mt. Airy Insurance Company, 951 P.2d 1124, 1126 (Wash. 1998). http://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-supreme-court/1189690.html
² Safeco Ins. Co. v. Butler, 823 P.2d 499, 506 (Wash. 1992). http://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-court-of-appeals/1411515.html