It’s crucial to consult with an Oklahoma lawyer with experience in bad faith law in the initial stages of your claim. Oklahoma uses bad faith lawsuits to protect its citizens from inappropriate claim practices. Bad faith lawsuits are the tool used by the courts to correct unfairness. As the first sign your claim appears headed
Experienced insurance adjusters know the phrase “bad faith”. The term is a short hand way to describe a lawsuit filed for the alleged violation of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. It is the legal duty imposed by operation of law. The shorthand “bad faith” is a lot easier to say.
Insurance covers all kinds of damaging events. Many people think about their home, car, boat, lake house, disability policy, life insurance, or business. However, insurance is available for all sorts of other things.
For instance, professional athletes insure their hands. Entertainers and music stars insure the ability to sing or play an instrument while actors and actresses buy insurance against disfigurement. Doctors buy malpractice coverage. Rodeo and concert events are insured against weather cancellation. Farmers purchase crop insurance while ranchers obtain coverage for their hay and livestock. Racing syndicates buy all kinds of insurance for valuable race horses. The list goes on and on.
For the filing fee of approximately $250, anyone can file a bad faith lawsuit. Just saying an insurance company acted in bad faith is not proof. Words are easy to say. Some people jump to the conclusion that there is bad faith when there isn’t any. There is a significant difference in filing papers at the courthouse and actually winning a trial. Filing a bad faith lawsuit means writing words on a legal document. Proving bad faith in a trial means providing evidence to the court of the bad faith.
In order to prove bad faith there must be admissible evidence.
Not all evidence is admissible. For example, courts generally do not allow hearsay evidence. As another example, evidence that is not relevant is excluded from trial. Judges look at the information you want to give the jury, then make legal decisions about the admissibility.
To prove bad faith, the person who sued typically must have evidence to show:
Bad faith is when the insurance company wrongfully refuses to pay a valid insurance claim. It is not a simple mistake during the claim. It is not a genuine dispute over the coverage or damages.
Bad faith isn’t present just because the claimant wants more money.
The courts in Oklahoma (and courts in other states) have identified misconduct that is bad faith. Although not a complete list, actions declared to be bad faith include:
Oklahoma bad faith law protects the public from unscrupulous claim practices. The courts apply the common law precepts of good faith and fair dealing in order to fashion remedies. The laws balance the unequal bargaining position of the parties.
An insurance company has the greater financial resources and usually a lot more sophistication in claims. To the contrary, the insured policyholder may be in a poor financial position at the time of a loss. Due to the imbalance, the courts require the insurer to act in good faith in paying claims.
The public extends to homeowners, businesses, families, and even other insurers. Generally, Oklahoma bad faith laws are in place to make sure insurance claims are promptly paid. If an insurance company acts in bad faith, then damages can be awarded.
Bad faith under Oklahoma law only applies in certain situations. Not every dissatisfied claimant is entitled to sue under Oklahoma bad faith law.
Oklahoma bad faith is NOT:
* action by the underwriting department while underwriting a policy
* the activity of an insurance agent in selling the coverage
* the action of an…
In Oklahoma, an insurance company has a legal duty to fairly pay claims. This duty is technically to act in good faith and with fair dealing. An insurance company that refuses to fairly pay claims can be sued for bad faith for not complying with the law. The insured policyholder can claim emotional distress, financial losses, etc., caused by the bad faith.
It is good to keep in mind that the term bad faith is a short hand version of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. However, most adjusters and insurers use “bad faith” to describe this type of litigation. In everyday communication, saying breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing is a mouthful. Bad faith is a whole lot shorter and easier to say.
You can learn a lot by observing what others do. If they have a better way of adjusting claims, then it probably pays to imitate their processes. You should also pay attention to things that don’t work. Intelligent people imitate success and steer clear of failure.
Claim adjusting practices boil down simply to customer service.
Being accused of insurance fraud is a serious offense. Regardless of the circumstances, your reputation is on the line. In this case, State Farm was alleged to have defrauded the United States government by avoiding the payment of storm claims under homeowners’ insurance policies. State Farm was said to have improperly shifted the burden for…