When you are recovering from an accident, you need to focus on making sure that you recover from any physical injuries and restore property losses that you may have. You expect the insurance company to be there for you, but dealing with insurance providers does not always go as planned. The Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act is a Wisconsin law meant to protect you from unfair claims practices such as slow or deceptive claims handling.
Our lawyers have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and taking action against them when they treat clients unfairly. Studinski Law, LLC, has helped many people in Wisconsin by proving that their insurance companies were acting in bad faith and violating the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. If you believe that you are being treated unfairly by an insurance provider who is supposed to be helping you, call us today at (715) 343-2850.
Requirements for Insurance Companies
According to the Wisconsin Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, insurance companies must act in good faith when they are trying to settle a claim with you. Some of the specific things that are required of an insurance company handling your claim include:
- They must not misrepresent your policy
An insurance company may not knowingly mislead you regarding facts or provisions in connection with your claim. It may not try to enforce provisions that were altered without your knowledge or consent.
- They cannot influence other policy settlements
The insurance company cannot drag out the settlement of a claim under a portion of your policy where the amount of loss is clear in an attempt to influence your decision on a different part of your policy.
- They must process your claim in a timely manner
Insurance providers have to complete their investigations of claims in a reasonable amount of time. Additionally, they must respond to your requests or other communications in a timely fashion as well. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends that responses be made by insurance companies within 10 working days.
- They must not force you to travel a great distance
When sending you to an inspection or repair specialist, the insurance company may not require that you travel unreasonably far distances.
- They cannot force you to settle for less than your losses
A settlement for less than the total costs and damages that you sustained cannot be forced upon you, and they must seek your approval for any such settlement.
- They must explain denials or delays
The insurance provider must give you a reasonable explanation as to why they are denying or delaying your claim.
Punitive Damages for Insurance Bad Faith – Violating the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act
You can seek punitive damages from an insurance company when you sue them for acting in bad faith. When you sue an insurance company that is violating your rights for bad faith, some of the insurance company’s bad conduct may also violate the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. The goal is for the company to pay you everything that you are owed. However, Wisconsin courts have clearly stated that you can be awarded additional money from the insurance company when they have committed insurance bad faith. Sometimes, Wisconsin juries and judges have found that an insurance company should be punished for its conduct in the claims handling process. Under those circumstances, juries and judges have assessed punitive damages against the insurance company, and these damages are meant to punish the insurance provider for their actions.
Studinski Law, LLC, Can Help You
Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful. There are many technicalities in your policy, and you may be overwhelmed with injuries or financial challenges during this time. The Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act is meant to protect you from an insurance company that is acting unfairly as they seek to settle your claim for damages. Our attorneys understand this law and how it is applied to cases in Wisconsin.
With offices in Plover and Marshfield, Studinski Law, LLC serves clients throughout Wisconsin, including Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, and Waupaca. If you feel that your insurance company may not be acting in good faith while handling your claim, contact us to talk about your options with an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer. Call Studinski Law, LLC, today at (715) 343-2850.