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What Happens When Progressive Insurance Refuses to Pay an Accident Claim?

You pay your Progressive insurance premiums every month on time sometimes, you even send them in a little early. You’re abiding by the terms and conditions of your auto insurance policy and expect the same from the company. However, when it comes to paying out a claim, Progressive has less than a five-star reputation. In fact, pursuing bad faith claims against Progressive Insurance is becoming more common.

If you’re struggling to get Progressive insurance to settle your accident claim, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to help move the claims process along in your favor.

What Is a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?

The definition of a bad faith insurance claim is pretty easy to understand. You believe you’re in good standing with the insurance company. This means you pay your premiums on time and don’t try to submit fraudulent or frivolous claims. You stick to the requirements of your policy, believing that if an accident occurs, your damages are covered.

A bad faith claim occurs when the insurance company doesn’t fairly process your claim. The insurance company may also engage in inappropriate actions in an attempt to slow down the approval process or deny your claim. The insurance company may also only offer lowball settlement amounts far below the actual value of your claim. Some examples of a bad faith insurance claim include:

  • Delaying the investigation
  • Refusing the claim
  • Refusing to compensate the claim
  • Misrepresenting the claim
  • Failure to investigate certain pieces of evidence
  • Improperly characterizing your insurance policy
  • Offering a very low settlement offer

Proving a Bad Faith Claim Against Progressive or Other Insurance Companies

If you believe you’re the victim of a bad faith insurance claim, the burden of proof is on you. This means you must prove the insurance company isn’t properly handling your claim. Why do you want to prove an insurance company like Progressive is behaving in bad faith when it comes to your claim? This is a necessary process if you want to receive compensation for your damages.

However, you must prove the insurance company isn’t just making an error, and don’t forget the adage to err is human. Insurance adjusters can make mistakes, and this isn’t a crime. Instead, you must prove the insurance company knowingly and/or willfully is acting unreasonably or engaging in egregious behavior by denying your claim. To illustrate this, here’s an example of Progressive acting unreasonably.

Progressive Insurance refused to pay out a claim; the reason behind the denial is the insurance company stated the injured party wasn’t insured at the time of the accident. The defendant provided proof of valid insurance and Progressive still denied his claim on the grounds of being uninsured. 

Since the insurance company refused to thoroughly investigate certain pieces of evidence and improperly characterized the status of the insurance policy, the claimant was awarded both compensatory and punitive damages.

Obviously, proving you’re insured at the time of an accident is relatively easy, but it can be more difficult to substantiate other types of bad faith claims. Regardless of how simple or complex your bad faith insurance claim is, it’s always best to work with an experienced attorney. They have the necessary resources to prove more complex claims.

How the Duty of Good Faith Can Affect Your Bad Faith Claim

Before you can start complaining and taking action against a bad faith claim, you’ll need to understand how the duty of good faith can affect your case. So, what exactly is a duty of good faith?

The term applies to basically any signed contract. Both parties agree to abide by the terms set down in the contract when they sign on the dotted line. In other words, your duty of good faith is to pay your premiums on time. The insurance company’s duty of good faith is to settle your claim fairly and in a reasonable amount of time.

However, the duty of good faith is a little more complex than simply settling an insurance claim. The insurance company must also properly investigate the claim and defend the policyholder if a liability claim comes up against them. However, liability claim defense only applies if specifically stated in the insurance policy. You must have current and valid liability coverage.

Other duties of good faith include paying out damages covered under the policy and approving a reasonable settlement amount. Since the term reasonable is pretty vague, this does give insurance companies like Progressive some wiggle room, which is also why it’s a good idea to have legal representation during the negotiation process. 

You need a skilled negotiator to help ensure you receive a fair settlement offer. There isn’t a law against insurance companies initially offering a lowball settlement. A bad faith claim only comes into play if the insurance company refuses to budge from the low offer.

Common Law May Affect Your Bad Faith Claims Case

You’re probably familiar with statutory law. These are laws passed by legislatures. Statutory laws can be federal, state, or only apply to a municipality. When it comes to bad faith insurance claims, an example of a statutory law is the Unfair Claims Practice Act. This law gives you the legal right to sue insurance companies when they behave poorly.

Now, on to common law; this is different from statutory law. Common law refers to previous court rulings. The rulings aren’t law but instead serve as guidelines for rulings on future, similar cases. 

For example, if someone else has successfully sued Progressive for failing to properly investigate their accident claim. The court may use this ruling to help decide your lawsuit. A skilled attorney can also argue common law to help support your bad faith insurance claim.

Let an Attorney Help with Your Bad Faith Insurance Claim

When dealing with insurance companies, especially in the context of a bad faith claim, it's important to recognize the vast resources these corporations can mobilize to protect their interests. 

Filing a claim that challenges the insurer's actions requires not just courage but also a comprehensive understanding of legal procedures and principles. Navigating this alone can be daunting and potentially ineffective, so having proper legal representation becomes indispensable in these scenarios. 

An attorney with expertise in insurance law can offer invaluable assistance, from elucidating the burden of proof required in your case to interpreting and leveraging common law precedents that support your claim. With their guidance, you can build a robust case to demonstrate the insurer's bad faith, thereby enhancing your chances of securing a fair and just resolution.

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