The most common Bad Faith claim we see is the first party bad faith claim against an insurance company where a Plaintiff must show the absence of a reasonable basis for the insurance company denying benefits under the policy and the Defendant insurance company’s knowledge or reckless disregard of the lack of a reasonable basis for denying a claim.
The tort of bad faith can be alleged only if the facts plead would, on the basis of an objective standard, show the absence of a reasonable basis for denying the claim, i.e., would a reasonable insurer under the circumstances have denied or delayed payment of the claim under the facts and circumstances of your case.
Conversely, we see bad faith claims asserted against insurance companies in a large percentage of claim denials or simply because the policyholder feels they are owed more than the insurance company is willing to pay. An insurance company may have valid reasons for their position. Simply because the policyholder does not agree does not mean the insurance company has acted in bad faith. The standard is generally whether the insurance company has acted reasonably and met the industry standard in its handling of the claim.
Mr. Underdown has provided testimony in a number of bad faith cases where the insurance company has successfully eliminated the bad faith count by summary judgement. In some cases, the insurance company had eliminated the bad faith count and prevailed on the contracts count at trial.
In a third party case, an insurance company owes the duty of good faith to its insured to settle the claims of third parties against the insured so as to avoid placing the insured’s assets at risk of excess verdicts or judgments.
Mr. Underdown has provided expert testimony on many bad faith claims for both Defendants and Plaintiffs. In his experience, many times a count for Bad Faith is included in a complaint in addition to a contract or other count. The key issue is whether the actions of the insurance company were reasonable under the specific circumstances of the case. Mr. Underdown has consulted on many claims of this nature even when extra-contractual damages are an issue because of the bad faith claims handling. Feel free to call Mr. Underdown to determine if he will be able to provide expert testimony on your specific case – 480-216-1364.