Third-party bad faith insurance claims in Virginia
What can you do when an insurance company doesn’t treat you fairly?
When you buy an insurance policy and pay your premiums regularly, you trust that your insurance company will honor their contract with you. If you are in an accident, you know your insurance company is supposed to pay a reasonable amount of money for your losses - in a timely manner. But sadly, that doesn’t always happen.
If you believe your insurance company is not taking your accident seriously, talk to an experienced Virginia bad faith insurance attorney. At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, John Singleton has worked for major insurance companies, and he knows how they can operate. Call us at (804) 413-6777 for a free consultation.
You’ve already suffered enough in an accident – don’t suffer from poor treatment by your insurance company. Let us restore your peace of mind by handling the insurance and related details for you.
What is "insurance bad faith"?
If your insurance company denies your claim without a legitimate reason, deliberately offers you a payout that’s less than you deserve, delays paying you on purpose, or does not adequately investigate your claim, that it is acting in bad faith.
An insurance company can act, or fail to act, in several ways that qualify as bad faith:
- Refusing to pay a valid claim
- Failing to pay a valid claim in a timely manner
- Requiring excessive paperwork to process a claim
- Failing to deny a claim in a timely manner
- Faling to explain why a claim was denied
- Failing to settle a claim in a timely manner
- Failing to adequately investigate a claim
- Failing to defend a client against a claim (this includes failing to hire an attorney on the client’s behalf)
If your insurance company is being unreasonable, you may be able to file a bad faith lawsuit.
What are the types of bad faith?
First-party bad faith is when your own insurance company is acting in the ways listed above.
For example, suppose you were driving and lost control of your car, swerved off the road, and hit a tree. Your car was totaled, and your arm was broken. Your injuries resulted in $10,000 in medical bills, and the Blue Book value of your car was $16,000. Both amounts are well within your coverage limits, and you’ve met your deductibles. But your insurance company says your car was only worth $10,000, and it will pay only $6,000 for your medical bills.
This is first-party bad faith because your own insurance company is not supplying the coverage your policy promised.
Third-party bad faith involves your liability coverage. When you are "at fault" in an accident or injury, your insurance company must defend you in a civil claim, and pay all your defense costs -even when the lawsuit is not covered by your policy. Your insurance company must also pay for any judgments against you up to your policy’s limits.
The exception to an insurance company’s obligation to pay defense costs is when a policy contains burning limits.
What are burning limits?
Burning limits - also called "defense-within-limits," "eroding," "self-consuming," "wasting," or "exhausting" policies - let your insurance company deduct the costs of defending you from your policy limits.
For example, you have a policy limit of $20,000. You are at fault in an accident. Your insurer spends $10,000 defending you. You would then have only $10,000 left in liability coverage.
What can I do about bad faith insurance claims?
If you have been in an auto accident, and you believe that your insurance company is not acting in your best interests, you have options. As experienced Virginia bad faith insurance attorneys, we can make sure your insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you, and help you file a bad faith lawsuit if necessary.
To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys at (804) 413-6777. Your consultation is free.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
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- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.