Oklahoma Bad Faith Claims: What are Consequential Damages?Posted January 15, 2018
Insurance policies are contracts. Under the terms of these contracts, both policyholders and insurance companies have certain basic rights and responsibilities. Beyond the explicit terms of the policy, insurance companies also have duties under Oklahoma law. Most notably, insurance companies are required to handle all property damage claims using “good faith” settlement practices. When insurers act in bad faith, they must be held accountable.
Our top-rated Oklahoma City bad faith insurance attorneys help victims of bad faith settlement practices obtain full and fair compensation for their damages. In many cases, this includes compensation for a type of loss that is known as ‘consequential damages’. Here, our legal team highlights the standard for proving bad faith under Oklahoma and explain what constitutes a ‘consequential damage’.
How to Establish Bad Faith in Oklahoma
Bad faith insurance claims are extremely complex. If you believe that you have been the victim of bad faith settlement practices, you should consult with a highly qualified attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to review your claim, and help you assemble the documentation that you need to prove that the insurance company acted in bad faith. To prove bad faith in Oklahoma, the insured party must be able to provide strong supporting evidence that establishes the following four things:
- The plaintiff’s damages were actually covered under the terms of the policy;
- The insurance company acted in an unreasonable or unjust manner;
- The insurance company’s unreasonable or unfair conduct resulted in the plaintiff’s claim being delayed or denied; and
- The plaintiff sustained real harm due to the insurance company’s misconduct.
Notably, ‘ignorance’ and ‘incompetence’ are not available legal defenses for insurance companies in Oklahoma. The standard of bad faith is based on what the insurance company ‘knew or should have known’ at the time the claim was filed.
Consequential Damages: Defined
Certainly, victims of bad faith settlement practices are entitled to recover compensation for the full extent of their covered losses. Beyond that amount, compensation may also be available to provide relief for any additional losses that were sustained because of the insurance company’s bad faith conduct. In other words, in an Oklahoma bad faith claim, consequential damages can be recovered to make up for any damage that was related to the company’s failure to handle the initial claim in the appropriate manner. Common examples of consequential damages include the following:
- Court costs and legal fees;
- Attorneys’ fees;
- Interest on missed payments; and
- Any other foreseeable loss related to the bad faith violation.
Note: Insurance companies cannot be held legally liable for unforeseeable damages. To qualify for compensation, a damage must have been a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the bad faith violation.
Speak to an Oklahoma Bad Faith Insurance Attorney Today
At The Bennett Law Firm, our bad faith insurance lawyers are standing by, ready to help you get the full and fair financial compensation that you deserve. You may be entitled to recover consequential damages. To get a free, no strings attached review of your case, please contact us today.