Accidents happen every day. To protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets, you diligently pay premiums to an insurance company with the expectation and trust that, in the aftermath of such accidents, your family is protected. Georgia courts have defined this relationship between an insurance company and the people they insure as a fiduciary relationship, requiring the company to act in good faith and with the best intentions towards the insured. Because so much is on the line, an insurer is required to reasonably investigate and pay claims in a timely and fair manner. However, when insurance companies fail this duty, courts have increasingly found them to act in bad faith. Examples of insurance companies acting in bad faith include the following:
- Failure to investigate claims in a prompt and timely manner
- Refusal to pay claims without first reasonably investigating the claim
- Failure to provide a reasonable explanation for denial of a claim
- Failure to acknowledge notice of a claim
If an insurance company’s actions resemble any of these, or if the company does not treat your claim with the promptness it deserves, a court may find bad faith and could hold the insurance company liable for additional damages beyond the loss sustained. Often, the type of insurance contract at issue determines the bad faith law that applies, and trying to understand the complexities of these laws can be extremely challenging without the help of an experienced attorney.