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Bozeman Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

Bozeman Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

While most of us acquire auto insurance because Montana law mandates that we have it, other types of insurance coverage, such as health, property, and disability or life, are discretionary, meaning you can purchase it if you like.

Many individuals buy these different types of insurance to protect their investment, such as a home or office building, to make sure they can afford medical care if they need it or have the means to support themselves should they suffer a disabling injury or illness or unexpectedly lose a loved one. While many of us expect our insurers to do right by us when the time comes that we need to tap into our coverage, sometimes they don’t.

If you’re facing difficulties in dealing with insurers offering the following types of insurers we often work with or any others, get in touch with us:

When you reach out to us, we’ll put you in contact with a Bozeman bad faith insurance lawyer to discuss the legal options that may be best for your situation.

Examples of Bad Faith Practices?

Insurance companies generally respond to claimants in “good faith,” meaning they abide by the terms and conditions of an insured’s policy in acknowledging receipt of, processing (including making a decision on), and remitting payment (if appropriate) on a claim. This would also include paying what’s expected of them.

However, there are those handful of cases in which insurers don’t do what they’re supposed to, which is when they are said to engage in “bad faith” insurance practices. Some common examples of these tactics include:

  • Offering lower payouts than what they were supposed to per plan benefits disclosures or because they assigned a depreciated value to a piece of property
  • Misrepresenting insurance policy terms regarding coverage
  • Failing to reach a fair, timely settlement when liability is clear
  • Arbitrarily denying a claim without adequately investigating the circumstances and/or requesting additional documentation to render a decision
  • Delaying or denying payment of claims that should be paid

What Is the Montana Bad Faith Insurance Statute?

One of our state’s laws that addresses bad faith claims is the Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act (MUCSPA). Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 33-18-201 details settlement practices insurers are prohibited from carrying out, some of which were mentioned above.

MCA 33-18-242 describes the burden of proof claimants must meet in order to successfully pursue a bad faith claim in our state.

You can expect any Bozeman bad faith insurance lawyer you meet with for your initial consultation to evaluate your case with this burden of proof in mind, as this will dictate what legal options they tell you that you have in your own claim.

Damages Recoverable in Montana Insurance Bad Faith Cases

Insurers may end up needing to pay significant damages to those they victimize with their unethical and unlawful tactics like:

  • Contract damages: This describes the amount an insurance company actually owes an insured, for example, the amount someone with a health insurance plan should have been reimbursed had it not been for their insurer denying their claim. The claimant would be able to recover both principal and interest in this instance.
  • Extracontractual damages: These are costs for the additional impacts a claimant suffered because an insurer acted in bad faith. This includes financial losses, which, for example, may be any interest the affected party incurred by having to take a loan to pay their medical expenses since their insurer initially denied their claim. Additionally, these types of damages may include emotional distress and other types of noneconomic losses they sustained from having to deal with the bad faith issue. Attorneys’ fees may also fall into this category of damages.
  • Punitive damages: As the name suggests, these types of damages are often imposed as punishment for wrongdoing and to discourage insurers from attempting to carry out the same negligent actions in the future.

Why You Need Help in Taking on Unethical Insurance Companies

Individuals secure insurance because they want peace of mind in knowing that if certain unexpected events occur, it may be stressful to deal with but not financially devastating to them. Insurers’ mishandling of claims can unnecessarily complicate matters, leading you to need to appeal their decisions, and, if that proves unsuccessful, escalate the matter.

Despite all the commercials that insurance companies produce for TV that put forth their “caring spirit” and incessant calls they make to “check on you” after the filing of claims, they’re still big businesses that are wholly focused on keeping their expenditures down.

This is why insurance companies often deny claims or pay less than they should in hopes no one will raise concerns about their actions and why you may find it challenging to get a better resolution in taking them on alone.

That’s why victims often hire a legal representative to help them navigate the next best steps they should follow in these instances.

As for another reason why claimants turn to attorneys like ours for help in contentious situations with insurers? They do so because statutes of limitations apply to filing these bad faith cases, just like many other legal matters.

Here in Montana, there’s a filing deadline of two years from the date of the violation or one year from the date of the judgment on a third-party claim. Time to file can easily run out on you as you try to sort out the process you need to follow or compile the necessary evidence to meet your burden of proof, which is why it can help to have a lawyer who understands all this involved in your case.

How Bozeman Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers Help

Our lawyers at Western Justice Associates, PLLC have extensive expertise in the area of insurance law.

This experience includes handling routine insurance claims and litigating statewide insurance class actions. We also have the knowledge and reputation necessary to help ensure that your claim does not get unfairly delayed or denied.

We also have long been working with insurers, both in negotiating settlements in personal injury cases and fighting back when insurance companies do wrong by their insureds. We don’t let insurers have the final say when they make wrong choices, and you shouldn’t either.

Our firm handles insurance coverage disputes, issues regarding insurance settlement offers, unfair claims handling practices, and more. So, whatever you’re dealing with, contact our law firm in Bozeman, MT for a free consultation with an attorney who will review your case and explain your rights free of charge.

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