Insurance bad faith cases are usually hard fought and the fighting can be bitter.
Generally speaking, when we take on a carrier for acting contrary to its insured’s interests and allege those actions are malicious justifying punitive damages, the folks on the defense side tend to take it personally.
So, the first rule of discovery in the bad faith case is, assume you are in for a tough fight. Which, in turn, leads to the second and third rules: know your adversary and be prepared.
The bad news that the general practitioner faces in prosecuting a bad faith case is that the defense team will usually be much better schooled in the fine points of insurance than an attorney who does not work with insurance matters on a daily basis.
The good news that the general practitioner can take heart from is that the purpose of bad faith law is to act as an equalizer between the powerful carriers who adjust claims for a living and the ordinary insured who probably never wanted to have a claim and, with luck, will never have another. Insurance regulations require that insurance companies keep a record of all material claims decisions. So, where there is wrongdoing, there is almost always a record of the bad acts waiting to be uncovered.
The key discovery strategy in defending bad faith cases is to deny the plaintiff information. However, if you know where and how to dig, it’s not that difficult to get the evidence you need to put on your successful case. Continue reading “INSURANCE BAD FAITH DISCOVERY BASICS”