How Do You Prove Bad Faith in Court?

Posted on December 21, 2023


Frances Badayos | author

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ICHQ | Site Author

When you purchase insurance to protect your home or business, you expect your policy to cover certain damages or losses, should they occur. If disaster strikes and your insurance company fails to honor the coverage agreements outlined in your policy, you may find yourself unable to rebuild after your loss.

If the insurance company is treating you unfairly, you could benefit from the services of our experienced bad faith insurance attorneys serving Louisiana. We know how to prove bad faith in court.

Winning a Lawsuit Against an Insurance Company Often Requires Knowing How To Prove Bad Faith in Court

You will need to prove two basic elements to persuade the court that your insurance company acted in bad faith.

First, you must show that your insurance company did not pay you for your valid claim for damage or losses as specified in their coverage agreement. The second element of bad faith requires you to show that the insurance company’s denial of your damage claim was unreasonable.

Proving this second element — the “unreasonable” factor — could require a higher burden of proof in certain states.

Many states only require you to show that your insurance company did not honor your damage claim in the manner that another reasonable and prudent company would have under similar circumstances. Other states, however, will require you to prove that your insurance provider recklessly disregarded or knowingly denied a valid and reasonable claim for damages.

Insurance company conduct that can help prove bad faith

Our skilled attorneys know how to prove bad faith in court and could show the jury that an insurance company’s unreasonable conduct included practices such as:

  • Deliberately misrepresenting how the claims process works or issuing deceptive communications
  • Failing to respond to a claim or “running out the clock” through otherwise preventable delays
  • Conducting an improper investigation or willfully ignoring evidence of damage
  • Requesting overly arduous or arbitrary evidence to qualify the loss
  • Resorting to fraud, intimidation, or threats to disqualify or reduce a valid claim

An Insurance Company’s Bad Faith Conduct Could Violate Common Law, Statutory Law, or Both

Depending on the state in which you file a bad faith lawsuit, different laws may apply. States that rely on common law — also referred to as “case law” — require a judge and jury to determine outcomes based on previous rulings and precedent. Not all states, however, rely solely on common law. Many states also have their own civil and criminal law statutes that their courts must consider when deciding cases.

In some states, an insurance company’s misconduct could violate both common law and statutory law. An insurance law attorney from our team will know how to prove bad faith in court and determine which statutory and common laws apply to an insurance provider’s misconduct.

Varying filing procedures across different states

In addition to varying statutory laws, states require their own filing procedures when you sue an insurance company.

Florida, for example, requires you to file a Civil Remedy Notice with the Florida Department of Financial Services before you take legal action against an insurance provider.

You need to file the CRN form at least 60 days before you proceed with your intended lawsuit. Florida then allows the insurance company a “safe harbor” time frame to respond to and correct the bad faith conduct described in the CRN form. By attempting to remedy the situation during the safe harbor period, the insurance provider may have an opportunity to avoid a costly lawsuit.

Louisiana filing procedures

Louisiana requires insured parties alleging bad faith insurance company practices to file their complaints with the Louisiana Department of Insurance. You will need to provide a detailed description of how the insurer failed to comply with state laws and insurance regulations. The department will attempt to resolve the issue informally by contacting the insurance provider, but you may still need to initiate a legal action if the offered remedy remains unreasonable.

Consider working with an attorney who you can count on knowing how to prove bad faith in court if you need to file a complaint. Although states have different insurance laws and filing procedures, they all require detailed information regarding the specifics of the complaint. You will also find yourself in a much better position with a knowledgeable attorney at your side if your complaint requires a courtroom decision.

Proving Bad Faith Insurance Tactics Through Evidence Presented in Court

If your bad faith claim requires a courtroom decision, the evidence of misconduct your attorney presents to the jury may include:

  • Expert witness testimony: A credible insurance expert can explain to the jury how the damage and circumstances of the claim should have resulted in the insurance provider fulfilling its coverage obligation.
  • Testimony from the adjuster assigned to the claim: In court and under oath, the company’s adjuster could reveal the bad faith tactics that the insurance provider uses to deny or lowball a valid claim.
  • Claim documents: Although the insurance company might hope to keep its internal claim documents out of the hands of your attorney, they could reveal the tactics used to devalue or deny a valid claim during a damage investigation.
  • Internal company policy documents and handbooks: One of our seasoned team members experienced in how to prove bad faith in court could show the jury how the insurance provider trains their adjusters to work out ways to avoid paying policyholders for covered damages.

Work With a Team That Knows How To Prove Bad Faith in Court

When you retain one of our attorneys to handle any bad faith issues related to your home or business insurance claim, we’ll cover all of the details and steps for you, such as:

  • Contacting your insurance provider and negotiating with its adjusters
  • Collecting and reviewing additional evidence to further support your case
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses to the damage and arranging for expert witnesses to testify
  • Preparing and filing all of the required documents
  • Litigating your case in court

The attorney team at Insurance Claim HQ has the experience and litigation skills to present a strong argument that supports your claim. We know how to prove bad faith in court and how to get your home or business rebuilt after a damage loss. Contact our insurance bad faith lawyers by phone or complete our online form to request a no-fee evaluation of your case.