You paid your policy premiums, your insurer should be there in your time of need. Unfortunately, many policyholders struggle to get the full and fair financial benefits that they are owed. You have remedies available under Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA).
Under RCW 48.30.015, first party policyholders can file a lawsuit against an insurance company on the grounds of an unreasonable denial of coverage or benefits. In this post, our Spokane, WA insurance denial attorneys highlight the key things to know about this type of bad faith litigation.
Washington IFCA: An Unreasonable Denial is a Bad Faith Insurance Practice
As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that all insurance companies covered by the IFCA have a legal responsibility to investigate and settle first party claims using fair, good faith practices. The unreasonable denial of coverage or benefits is, by itself, a bad faith insurance practice. As such, an insurance company can be held liable for unreasonable denial.
What is an Unreasonable Denial?
Unreasonable denial is a somewhat vague term. You may be wondering: What constitutes an unreasonable denial of insurance benefits in Washington? The short answer is that an unreasonable denial is one that is not based on “valid reasoning or good sense” and/or “beyond the limits of fairness.” What that means in practice depends on many different factors. Unreasonable denial claims are highly fact specific cases. Here are some practices that suggest the possibility of an unreasonable denial:
- Misrepresentation or omission of material facts;
- Misrepresentation of the meaning of important policy provisions;
- Attempt to resolve the claim for far less than the appropriate value; and
- Failure to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of benefits.
All bad faith insurance claims require a comprehensive investigation. An insurance attorney can help you gather the documentation and evidence you will need to prove that your insurer denied your coverage or benefits on unreasonable grounds.
An Overview Bad Faith Insurance Damages
Through a successful bad faith claim under Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act, a policyholder has the right to recover financial compensation for a wide range of damages. More specifically, you may be entitled to bad faith insurance damages for:
- The full value of your initial insurance claim;
- Reasonable attorneys’ fees and legal costs; and
- Bad faith damages, not to exceed three times the actual damages.
Bad faith litigation is complex. Insurers are always prepared to fight hard to limit their own legal liability—thereby reducing the amount of money in your pocket. A Spokane insurance law attorney with experience handling bad faith claims will help you prove liability and maximize your recovery.
Call Our Spokane Insurance Law Attorneys for Immediate Help
At Albrecht Law PLLC, we wrote the book on Washington State insurance law. Our insurance denials lawyers have the skills and legal experience to protect your rights. If your first part insurance claim was unreasonably denied, contact us for free, confidential review and evaluation of your case. We handle insurance appeals and insurance litigation in Spokane and throughout Eastern Washington.