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Missoula Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

Missoula Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

Many of us purchase insurance to protect our investment, property, vehicle, or financial future.

We expect it to make receiving medical care more reasonable, to take care of our or another driver’s accident-related costs, to make repairs on a home or building after a natural disaster, or to ensure we keep receiving pay if we suffer a disabling injury, but, sometimes, that coverage isn’t always there when we need it most. Know that this is, unfortunately, an all-too-common issue a Missoula bad-faith insurance lawyer sees happen.

Situations where insurance companies pay claimants less than they deserve, wrongfully deny their claims and engage in unethical business practices that are unlawful as well.

If you’ve fallen victim to an insurance company’s shady tactics here in Missoula County or the surrounding areas, reach out to our law firm, Western Justice Associates, PLLC for a free case review so we can determine if you have a legal matter worth pursuing.

Types of Insurance Cases We Take on at Our Law Firm

Bad faith insurance practices can affect individuals who purchase or are dealing with all different types of insurance. That’s why we handle disputes involving many types of insurers, including:

If you don’t see the type of insurance you’re having difficulty with listed above, don’t fret. Reach out to us to inquire if we might be able to help.

Common Bad Faith Practices Insurers Employ

In the introductory section of this page, we already dropped some hints about some of the unethical practices insurers employ. Let’s recap those and go over other approaches that could be deemed as an insurance company acting in bad faith so that it’s clearer what this concept refers to. Those are:

  • Failing to thoroughly investigate a claim
  • Not providing a reason for the denial of a claim or an invalid one if they do
  • Arbitrarily canceling a subscriber’s policy
  • Delaying in paying on claims
  • Offering a settlement amount or payout that’s less than what was requested and/or will cover a replacement

Unfair claim settlement practices including and in addition to the ones described above are prohibited by law here.

Have you fallen victim to what you believe are unscrupulous insurer tactics that aren’t listed above? Reach out to our law firm, Western Justice Associates, PLLC, to discuss your concerns.

Why Insurers Act in Bad Faith

If you’re wondering why employ bad faith insurance tactics, it mostly comes down to money. This is what goes through adjusters’ and their higher-ups’ minds when they utilize some of the approaches discussed above:

  • Denying your claim without even reviewing it with the expectation that you’ll take that response as their “final word” and not appeal it
  • By delaying in responding to a claim or sending a settlement check, perhaps the claimant will “forget” about it, and we won’t have to pay anything
  • If we at least offer a settlement, albeit a low-ball one, we’ll keep our payout low and at least look like we’re acting in good faith since we made an offer to settle the claim

We’re sure there are many more thoughts that go through insurance companies’ minds when acting in bad faith, but the above gives you some ideas as to why they do what they do.

Understanding How the Claims Process Works

As hinted at above, it’s possible for policyholders to file claims, which are referred to as first-party ones, since they’d be filing them directly with their insurer. Then there are also third-party claims whereby, say, someone injured in a car accident or by a dangerous product is eligible to file a claim with another party’s insurer.

When filing a claim against your insurer, you can do so for one of the three following reasons:

  • You allege they violated the Montana Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act (MUCSPA)
  • You contend they breached their contract with you
  • You allege that they engaged in fraud

All of the causes above, with the exception of alleging that an insurer violated their contract, are applicable in cases involving third-party claims.

Making sense of which cause of action applies to your case and understanding how that impacts your pursuit of a legal claim is something a Missoula bad faith insurance lawyer can discuss with you during your initial consultation with them.

Potential Compensation

Plaintiffs in Montana bad faith claims cases may be eligible to recover the following types of compensation:

  • What they were entitled to per the insurance policy
  • Damages they sustained as a consequence of non-payment of their originally filed claim
  • Non-economic damages, like mental anguish, associated with having to deal with the claims fiasco
  • Punitive damages only if the insurer acted fraudulently or maliciously

The Statute of Limitations for Bad Faith Insurance Cases in Missoula

There’s a 2-year case filing timeline that applies to insureds’ cases where bad faith practices outlined in MUCSPA were violated. However, a reduced 1-year claim filing deadline post-judgment or settlement applies to third-party claims.

Why You Should Have an Insurance Bad Faith Attorney

The responsibility falls on you to prove that an insurer acted in bad faith when filing these types of claims. Would you know where to start in substantiating those allegations?

Perhaps you have your policy documents, a letter or email from the insurer that you disagree with, and medical or other records that you contend justify why you should have received compensation.

However, how comfortable are you taking that evidence and applying Montana statutes to it to show the insurer actually violated the law because of the way they acted? If your answer is that you’re not completely confident in making such connections, then that’s an indicator that you need to consider working with an attorney on your claim.

Your opportunity to file a claim is not only time-restricted due to there being a statute of limitations in place, but claimants sometimes only have one opportunity to secure the necessary evidence they need to substantiate their position, appeal their case, or file a lawsuit, etc.

You want to make sure your case is “buttoned up” when you file it to ensure the best possible outcome. That’s where a Missoula insurance bad-faith lawyer can help.

Contact our law firm to discuss your case with legal counsel, who can advise you of the next best steps you should take in your case. That initial consultation with a lawyer from our office is free of charge, and we don’t collect attorney’s fees unless we secure a settlement for you.

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