An insurance company has a legal responsibility to use good faith settlement practices. Whether you are dealing with your own insurer or the third party company, you deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. Insurers that act in bad faith can be held liable for the full value of the initial claim as well as additional financial damages.
You may be wondering: How do I prove that an insurance company denied my claim in bad faith? A legal process called ‘discovery’ holds one of the keys to bringing a successful bad faith claim. Here, our Spokane bad faith insurance attorneys explain the key things you need to know about the discovery process.
Discovery: Understanding the Basics
As explained by the American Bar Association (ABA), discovery is a pre-trial procedure whereby parties to a lawsuit can obtain evidence and information from each other. Discovery is a critically important part of any successful litigation. Through discovery, a plaintiff can take action to obtain internal files and records held by the defendant. Under Washington state law, parties to a lawsuit are obligated to cooperate with discovery. Failure to do so can be used against them in litigation.
The Insurance Company Holds the Claim File and Other Evidence
While it is a key part of virtually all types of litigation, discovery is especially important in bad faith insurance lawsuits. An insurance company holds so much of the information a plaintiff needs to bring an effective claim. Without this information, you may not be able to prove bad faith. Among other things, you can use the discovery process to get access to:
- The claim file;
- Internal communications regarding your claim; and
- A clear understanding of the insurer’s coverage defense.
Additionally, a Spokane, WA bad faith insurance attorney will use the initial information you obtain during discovery to prepare interrogatories and depositions. An interrogatory is a list of specific written questions that one party to a lawsuit sends another. These questions must be answered honestly. If necessary, insurance adjusters and other people involved in your claim may eventually be deposed as part of the discovery process—meaning they can be required to answer questions under oath.
The bottom line: Discovery is fundamentally about fact-finding. The process allows plaintiffs to obtain and review key documents and records. In bad faith insurance claims, the company holds key evidence. An insurance lawyer can help you get access to the files and information you need to pursue justice.
Speak to Our Spokane, WA Insurance Appeals Attorneys Today
At Albrecht Law PLLC, our Washington insurance lawyers have the skills, knowledge, and experience to handle complex bad faith claims. If your insurer denied your benefits in bad faith, we are ready to help you pursue justice and the full financial support you deserve. Contact us now for a free review of your case. Our attorneys handle bad faith insurance claims throughout all of Eastern Washington, including in Grant County, Adams County, Lincoln County, and Spokane County.