Understanding Comparative Negligence in Bad Faith Insurance Claims

Understanding Comparative Negligence in Bad Faith Insurance ClaimsWhen you’ve been injured in an accident, the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance company acting in bad faith. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many people who find themselves navigating the complex world of insurance claims. Comparative negligence laws can further complicate the process.

Comparative negligence is a legal concept that comes into play when multiple parties are found to be at fault for an accident. In these cases, the amount of compensation each party receives is determined by their percentage of fault. Insurance companies may use comparative negligence as a way to minimize their payout or deny claims altogether. Make sure to speak with a Kansas City bad faith insurance attorney for legal guidance.

What Is Bad Faith in Insurance Company Practices?

Bad faith in insurance company practices refers to a situation in which an insurer fails to fulfill its legal obligations to its policyholder. This can take many forms, such as denying valid claims, delaying payments, or offering unreasonably low settlements. When an insurance company acts in bad faith, it can leave the policyholder feeling powerless and frustrated.

Insurance companies have a legal and ethical duty to act in good faith and deal fairly with their policyholders. This means thoroughly investigating claims, communicating clearly and promptly, and offering fair settlements when appropriate. When an insurance company breaches this duty, it can be held liable for the resulting damages.

Comparative Negligence Laws in Kansas City

In Kansas, comparative negligence laws follow a modified comparative negligence system. According to §60-258a of the Kansas Statutes, an injured party can only recover damages if they are found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If they are found to be 50 percent or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any compensation from the other party.

Missouri, on the other hand, follows a pure comparative negligence system. According to §537.765 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, an injured party can recover damages even if they are found to be partially at fault for the accident. The amount of compensation they receive will be proportional to the other party’s percentage of fault.

For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault for an accident and the other party is found to be 70% at fault, you can still recover 70% of your damages. If you were 99% at fault for the accident, you can still recover 1% of your damages.

How an Attorney Can Help You Recover the Compensation You Deserve

In rare cases, an insurance company may attempt to use comparative negligence in bad faith as a way to minimize their financial responsibility after an accident. By unfairly assigning a higher percentage of fault to you, the injured party, insurance companies can reduce the amount of compensation they are required to pay out.

Insurance companies may even use comparative negligence as a basis for denying your claim altogether. They may argue that your actions contributed to the accident to such a degree that they are not liable for any damages, leaving you to bear the financial burden.

This is where a personal injury attorney can step in and fight for your rights. A Kansas City lawyer can help you identify bad faith practices and hold the company accountable for their actions. If you believe that your insurer is acting in bad faith, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.