Maryland law requires every driver to purchase auto insurance, which ideally should cover them for damages caused in an accident. But anyone who has dealt with an insurance company in the wake of a Maryland car accident knows that insurers are notoriously difficult to work with. Sometimes, insurance companies will deny worthy claims against them, in the hopes that accident victims will lack the resources and knowledge needed to compel them to pay, and will instead give up.
For example, if Driver A gets into an accident with Driver B, and Driver B was at fault, Driver A may be able to recover for his medical expenses from Driver B’s insurance company. However, Driver B’s insurance company has an interest in paying as little as possible. In situations such as this, the insurance company may deny the claim and refuse to pay, sometimes without even giving a reason. Driver B may not be able to pay the claims on his own, and Driver A is then left with outstanding medical bills.
Driver A and Driver B may both feel frustrated in this case—they purchased auto insurance and followed the rules, and yet they still were not covered when an accident happened. In these cases, however, a lesser-known legal doctrine may come into play. When insurance companies deny worthy claims, they may be acting in “bad faith.” Acting in bad faith means they are violating their legal duty to act in “good faith” towards their clients, denying meritorious claims or otherwise operating in a deceitful manner to try and limit their liability. Importantly, both Driver A and Driver B may have a claim of bad faith against the insurance company. If they can prove bad faith, they may be entitled to the actual damages suffered by the accident victim and monetary compensation for the cost of litigation, such as attorney’s fees.
Unfortunately for Maryland plaintiffs, these cases can be complicated, and insurance companies often spend significant amounts on legal teams to limit their liability in cases like this. Speaking with a seasoned personal injury attorney can help ensure success. Insurance companies may try to intimidate plaintiffs into taking a bad settlement, or plaintiffs unfamiliar with the law may accidentally “waive” their claim. For example, a recent federal appellate case involved a bad faith claim against an insurance agency after a car accident. Although the plaintiff may have been able to prove bad faith, she was not even given a chance, because, according to the court’s opinion, she failed to properly raise the claim. She had not included the claim in the final pre-trial order, and thus was not allowed to pursue it in the future, regardless of its merits. Procedural accidents such as this one demonstrate the importance of consulting with an attorney before you pursue a bad faith claim against an insurance company.
Have You Been Injured In A Maryland Car Accident?
Figuring out your rights in the aftermath of a Maryland car accident can be difficult, especially if insurance companies are proving difficult to negotiate with. It can help to have a seasoned personal injury attorney on your side, so contact Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, today. Our team of dedicated attorneys will work day and night to ensure your claim is handled with the care and attention it deserves. To learn more and call us today at 800-654-1949.