An insurer’s failure to fulfill its duty of good faith and fair dealing in settling a client’s claim can have devastating consequences for policyholders. Fortunately, in Oklahoma, there are a series of laws and regulations in place that allow victims to hold insurance companies liable for their actions. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident, and you have reason to believe that your insurer acted in bad faith, it is important to contact an experienced bad faith insurance attorney who can help you obtain compensation for your losses.
Bad Faith Insurance
The most common types of conduct that constitute bad faith include:
- Deliberate misrepresentations of policy language to avoid paying for coverage;
- Unreasonable delay in resolving a claim;
- Failure to investigate a claim;
- Arbitrary demands for proof of policyholder’s loss;
- Coercive settlement tactics;
- Failure to disclose policy provisions;
- Use of improper standard to deny a claim;
- Compelling a policyholder to contribute to a settlement amount;
- Improper litigation conduct; and
- Failing to maintain investigative procedures.
Sources of Bad Faith Law
Bad faith law began as a common law principle that required insurers to act in accordance with an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. This legal theory was later incorporated into Oklahoma state law with the enactment of the Unfair Claims Practices Act, which prohibits certain conduct deemed to constitute bad faith. Federal legislation also covers certain aspects of insurance law through the Employee Retirement Security Act which governs employee benefit plans.
An insurer who is found to have acted in bad faith may be liable for damages that exceed the actual policy limits at issue. A victim’s recovery may also include:
- Attorney’s fees;
- Economic loss;
- Emotional distress; and
- Punitive damages.
Courts often award hefty punitive damages to victims of insurers who acted in bad faith. The amount assessed against the insurer is usually based on the insurance company’s assets and not necessarily on the losses suffered by the policyholder.
Contact Us Today
An insurer’s failure to deal honestly with policyholders is both unfair and unlawful, so if you have been the victim of your insurance company’s bad faith, it is imperative that you contact an experienced bad faith insurance attorney who can defend your interests. Please contact a member of our legal team at the Bennett Law Firm, at 405-272-0303 for a free consultation.