Bad Faith Disputes: Ways To Fight Back!
When you are injured on a job and have to take off from work to recover, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This helps to offset the wages you are losing because you are unable to work. Unfortunately, you are losing even more when you’re involved in a bad faith dispute and your case is denied by the insurance company. Without challenging the workers’ compensation insurer over the denial, your quality of life may be in jeopardy.
What Is Bad Faith?
A bad faith dispute occurs when an insurance company denies a valid workers’ compensation claim for reasons that are unfair, especially when you know that you presented a good case. It’s considered, “bad faith” because it is assumed that a company will act in “good faith” by conducting a reasonable investigation and acknowledge that an on-the-job injury has occurred and the individual should receive compensation. Bad faith is one way for insurers to avoid paying out benefits.
Among the national insurers in recent years receiving a reputation for acting in bad faith is American International Group (AIG)/Chartis. While there have been several workers’ compensation cases reported involving AIG, one notable workers’ compensation lawsuit involved a $1.75 million jury verdict against AIG. The plaintiff was a flight attendant, who, in December 2003, suffered a neck injury when she was thrown backward through the cabin when the plane was forced to brake during an emergency takeoff. The flight attendant was unable to work because of her neck injury but AIG refused to pay for her medical care. The flight attendant filed a lawsuit and seven years later, won her case against AIG.
How To Fight A Dispute
What do you do if you’re involved in a bad faith dispute with a workers’ compensation insurance firm? The first course of action in this fight is to be well-armed with documentation:
1. Obtain a report regarding your accident. Under law, companies are required to file reports when workers are injured on the job.
2. Go to the doctor. Whether or not you are in pain, you should seek medical attention immediately. Workers’ compensation cases stand or fall on medical information. The more information from medical personnel regarding your condition, the better.
3. Keep a log. List witnesses to your injury, names of physicians and physical therapists, conversations with your employer’s representatives and from insurance companies. Your record-keeping may come in handy if you have to file an appeal of your denial or file a lawsuit.
Most importantly, hire a workers’ compensation attorney experienced in handling bad faith disputes. These disputes are complicated and should be handled by legal experts who have previously and successfully challenged insurance companies in court.
Continual denials by insurance companies of workers’ compensation benefits will create a ripple effect throughout society. Injured workers will be denied the benefits to which they are entitled if these companies go unchallenged and believe that they can continue to operate in bad faith.
Nadine Swayne presents this article to help those faced with a bad faith dispute. Remember, information is always the key. Try visiting sites online, like http://www.doyleraizner.com/workers-compensation-bad-faith-disputes-with-aigchartis, to gather materials to help in your fight against your workers’ compensation insurance company.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyz/3465099123/