A Basic Guide to Insurance Bad Faith Claims
Life has a way of taking unexpected twists and turns. Insurance policies are supposed to provide peace of mind for the insured by offering financial compensation when an auto accident happens, a house is damaged by severe storms, or a loved one dies. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for insurance providers to misinterpret policy language or otherwise fail to fulfill their obligations. If you’ve been left high and dry by your insurance provider, you may have the basis for a bad faith claim.
Understanding Applicable Arizona Laws
The laws applicable to insurance bad faith claims can vary from state to state. Arizona law considers all insurance contracts to offer an implied covenant of fair dealing and good faith. If an insurer breaches this implied covenant, a tort claim may be filed against the company. It’s important to note that there is a strict statute of limitations on these claims. Potential plaintiffs only have two years to file an insurance bad faith claim. The clock starts ticking on the date that the act of bad faith was committed, so do not delay contacting an attorney.
Proving an Insurance Bad Faith Claim
Under Arizona law, the attorney representing an insured individual must prove two main elements. The first is that the insurance company acted unreasonably, such as by withholding benefits when they should have been paid. The second is that the insurance company either knew that conduct was unreasonable, or that the conduct was so egregious or reckless that the defendants should have known it was unreasonable. Your lawyer may use the Arizona Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act, which establishes general guidelines for reasonable conduct by insurers. A deviation from this standard probably indicates unreasonable conduct, although this finding alone doesn’t constitute a tort action.
The attorneys at Mesch Clark Rothschild offer skillful legal representation to individuals and businesses in Southern Arizona. Our main practice areas include personal injury law, corporate law, and commercial litigation. If you suspect you might have the basis for an insurance bad faith claim, you can request an appointment at our office in Tucson by calling (520) 624-8886.