Bad weather is often overlooked as contributing factor in car accidents in the Denver area. However, hailstorms, heavy rains, and foggy weather all can place a motorist at a significantly higher risk for an accident than normal.
There are two ways bad weather may cause car damage. The first is when you are involved in an accident because of bad weather conditions. These can be single-car accidents involving your vehicle only, or a collision with another motorist. Your car may also suffer weather-related car damage if caught in a hurricane, thunderstorm, or struck by hailstones. If you’re in a single-car accident or suffered weather-related damage, your first course of action should be to file a claim with your insurer.
Of course, you’ll need to have the right coverage on your policy, which may include:
- medical payments (pays for medical bills);
- collision (covers accident-related damage); and/or
- comprehensive (covers natural hazard-related damage) coverage depending on the circumstances.
In some cases, you may file a claim with another driver’s liability insurance if that driver is ultimately at fault.
Unfortunately, insurers may look suspiciously at weather-related car damage and accident claims. Some might even engage in bad faith acts and may ultimately delay or deny a claim, which can create even more headaches and hassle for Denver drivers.
What is bad faith insurance?
Insurers are required to act in good faith and to pay out a legitimate insurance claim as the policyholder deserves. However, in some cases this does not happen. When insurers fail to comply with the law and fail to pay the legitimate claim, the company is acting in bad faith. Bad faith refers to the failure of the insurer to handle the claim appropriately and/or provide coverage of a legitimate claim.
When the insurer acts in bad faith, the company may engage in a number of actions that are detrimental to your claim such as:
- denying your claim is covered;
- denying your claim is legitimate;
- denying payment of the claim;
- failure to initiate an investigation into a claim;
- failure to communicate timely;
- requesting unnecessary documentation; and
- delaying investigation of the claim.
These are just some of the ways in which an insurance company may attempt to delay or deny your claim, putting you through hardship. There are other examples of bad faith acts that an insurer may take.
Such insurer tactics can be extremely stressful for any person. While an insurer is allowed to legally deny a policyholder’s claim for a number of reasons including fraudulence or failure to comply with requirements in the policy contract, it must honor every legitimate claim that is filed. Some claimants may pursue a bad faith claim to recover damages.
Can I file a bad faith claim against the insurer?
If you have suffered car damage related to bad weather, it is likely covered in your claim, depending on several factors. If you believe that your insurer is acting in bad faith by denying or delaying your weather-related car damage or accident claim, then you can even file a lawsuit against the insurance company to recover the amount owed to you. You may also recover additional damages for the insurer’s bad faith actions.
Contact a car accident attorney at the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz if you are in the Denver area so you can discuss your initial accident claim and/or whether you have a valid bad faith claim against the insurance company. Call 303-300-5060 to schedule a free evaluation of your case or fill out our online contact form.