Bad Faith Claim

If you suffer a personal injury, you might depend on an insurance company to make you whole. But, alas, insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they don’t profit by paying out claims. 

If the insurance company resorts to unfair tactics to deny your claim or reduce its value, you might have a bad faith claim against the insurance company itself. You may be able to add this claim to your original personal injury claim as well.

Louisiana’s Bad Faith Insurance Statute

Louisiana’s Bad Faith Insurance Statute

Every state applies its own bad faith insurance principles, including Louisiana. Louisiana’s bad faith insurance statute offers some reasonably specific standards, the violation of which can subject an insurer to bad faith liability. 

Ultimately, however, Louisiana’s bad faith insurance laws closely mirror similar laws in other states.

Bad faith insurance lawsuits are not particularly easy to win. You need to prove the following facts to establish your right to compensation:

  • An insurance policy was in effect, and the defendant had an obligation to provide coverage.
  • The victim complied with the policy’s reasonable procedural requirements for filing a claim.
  • The victim provided necessary documentation or evidence to support their claim.
  • The insurer treated the victim’s claim in an arbitrary and capricious manner or failed to act in good faith.
  • The insurer failed to pay the claim within the time frames set by state law, unless the delay was justified.
  • The plaintiff incurred losses as a result of the insurer’s bad faith actions.

You have to prove these elements on a “more likely than not” basis, which is something like a 51% likelihood.

Insurance Company Actions That Might Constitute Bad Faith

Typically, the defendant in a bad faith insurance claim is the insurance company, not an individual insurance adjuster. This makes sense for the victim, of course, since the insurance company is far more likely than an insurance adjuster to be able to afford to pay a claim. 

To win, you might prove that the insurance company engaged in at least one of the following:

  • Arbitrarily refused to pay your claim;
  • Failed to investigate your claim;
  • Misrepresented critical facts or distorted the interpretation of policy terms to avoid paying the claim;
  • Failed to provide you with an explanation for their denial of your claim;
  • Refusing to pay a claim that is clearly justified;
  • Deliberately failing to communicate important information to you;
  • Unreasonably paying your claim without a valid reason;
  • Repeatedly issuing ridiculously low settlement offers;
  • Demanding unnecessarily burdensome documentary requirements as a condition for payment;
  • Failing to either accept or reject a claim within a reasonable time;
  • Engaging in intimidation tactics;
  • Ignoring evidence that supports your claim;
  • Arbitrarily changing the terms of the policy after you file a claim; or
  • Employing illegal or unethical investigative techniques.

There are dozens of more ways to justify a bad faith insurance claim.

Damages You Can Recover

In bad faith insurance cases, the types of damages available to the plaintiff can vary depending on the specifics of the case. Here’s a breakdown of potential damages:

  • Insurance contract damages: Amounts that the insurance company should have paid under the policy.
  • Consequential damages: Additional losses, such as financial losses from the inability to repair property, additional medical expenses, and more.
  • Punitive damages (or statutory damages): Where the insurer’s conduct was particularly egregious or malicious.
  • Attorney’s fees: If you win your bad faith claim, you can recover attorney’s fees and court costs.
  • Interest: You might also qualify for interest on the unpaid amounts from the date the claim should have been paid.
  • Non-economic damages are a legal gray area. Louisiana law does not specifically mention their availability for bad faith insurance claims, but it does not specifically exclude them either. It’s definitely worth a try.

The availability of these damages depends largely on the circumstances of your case, the discretion of the court, or (at the bargaining table) the negotiating skills of your lawyer.

Lafayette Personal Injury Lawyers Work on a Contingency Fee Basis

Lafayette personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. What this means is that you don’t need a dime in your pocket to hire one, only a strong legal claim. You won’t owe any attorney’s fees until your lawyer wins compensation for your case.

Reach out for a free initial consultation with our experienced lawyers at Kenny Habetz Injury Law to learn more about your legal rights and options. Give us a call at (337) 399-9000.