After you have been in a car accident, you may find yourself with a lot of different question about your personal injury case.
The best thing you should do is contact a personal injury attorney in order to discuss your case with an expert. Your personal injury attorney will help you work out the details so you do not have to stress out over your situation more than you have to.
If you have any questions about this article you should contact the experienced attorneys at Hutchison & Stoy. We offer free case consultations to individuals who are attempting to determine what their legal rights are. Contact the Warriors For Justice today!
What is Gross Negligence?
Gross negligence refers to a situation where an individual displays an indifference to a legal duty. When someone commits gross negligence, they are consciously (and sometimes voluntarily) disregarding the need to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others.
Acting in a grossly negligent way does not have to be intentional. The focus is on the reckless nature of the defendant’s conduct. In order to determine if an individual has acted in a grossly negligent way, the fact finder will conduct a fact specific analysis.
How can Gross Negligence Affect my Car Accident Claim?
When someone commits gross negligence, the plaintiff can recover punitive damages against the at fault party.
Punitive damages are not available in every case. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for conduct that society considers especially repugnant.
These damages also serve to deter the individual (and others) from being grossly negligent in the future. If you have any questions about whether you will be able to recover punitive damages against a grossly negligent defendant you should discuss the situation with an attorney.
The plaintiff will receive punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.
What is Bad Faith and How Can Does it Affect my Personal Injury Claim?
In personal injury cases, the concept of bad faith normally appears in insurance companies dealings with their own clients who are making a claim after a car accident.
Insurance companies must act in good faith when they settle claims. There is a common misconception that insurance companies have your best interest in mind all of the time.
Many insurance companies do not treat claimants fairly, even though insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith when they are deciding whether to pay claims.
There are many different things that could be bad faith.
First, the insurance company could engage in deceptive practices such as deliberately engaging in misrepresentation. This occurs when the insurance company misrepresents the policy terms or coverage. One way that an insurance company can act in bad faith is to refuse to negotiate a valid claim.
A second way that an insurance company can act in bad faith is if they engage in abusive and or coercive tactics in order settle a claim.
Further, insurance companies act in bad faith if they prolong settlement negotiations unnecessarily. One way that an insurance company can unnecessarily prolong settlement negotiations is by completely ignoring a claimant’s letters or telephone calls.
Insurance companies often do not act in good faith when they are dealing with claimants. This is because the insurance company has their own bottom line in mind when they are deciding whether they should pay a claim.
It is easy to make the mistake in believing that an insurance company will offer you a fair settlement amount after you have been injured.
Even though it is possible for insurance companies to act in good faith when they offer you a settlement, it is important to remember that not all insurance companies do this.
If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith you have three options.
First, you can mention that you believe that they are not acting in good faith during the course of their dealings with you. Normally, insurance companies will take notice of this language and will take quick steps to remedy the situation in the event that a change is warranted. The line between negotiation and bad faith is often a thin line, and insurance companies will often claim that they were not acting in bad faith when you complain about their actions.
Another thing that you should do is discuss your situation with a lawyer.
Insurance companies may take someone more seriously when they are represented by counsel. It is also important to know that not every denial that an insurance company issues is a result of bad faith.
There are certain situations where a claimant is not entitled to receive compensation from an insurance company. If your claim has been denied by an insurance company you should discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
The expertise of the personal injury attorney will help you determine whether you need to take further action against the insurance company.
Lastly, you have the option to file a complaint with the insurance board. (The complaint should be filed in the state where the insurance company does business). State insurance boards cannot force an insurance company to settle a claim for a particular amount. But, if the board finds that the insurance company has acted in bad faith they have the option to fine the insurance company or instruct the insurance company to take appropriate steps to remedy the situation.
Most laws that regulate how insurance companies can interact with policyholders are state specific, so if you have a specific question it is probably best to contact an attorney in the state that you have questions about.
The concepts of gross negligence and bad faith can be very confusing topics. If you have further questions about these topics after you have read this article you should contact the lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy. We are happy to answer any questions you have about your case.