Year: 2019


Know Your Policy: Some Conditions May Lead to Denial of Your Claim

As the holidays come and go, most of us have been busy saving up for a variety of purchases—and then recovering from not only multiple food comas, but also financial hangovers! Along with that comes all the usual expenses, including insurance—one of those bills that tends to remain front and center in our lives. While it is not always required, a variety of different policies are recommended, from auto to life to commercial, and more. And not only is insurance a monthly to quarterly to annually bill, it is often a lifelong bill. That means thousands of dollars paid to an insurer, so make sure it is going to a worth cause in the end, if needed, and that would be you!

You may be paying for one or more insurance policies, but do you really know the details? Insurance can be tricky, from choosing the best insurance agent to understanding a variety of different policyholder issues. Most important though is understanding what you are covered for, and whether you are lacking in protection; after all, a catastrophic loss could affect your finances enormously if you do not have enough insurance. The hope is that you will never need to file a claim, but if you do, it is vital to know what financial resources will be available to you through your insurance policy.

The auto policy is always a good example, as most of us own one but still may not quite understand it fully, along with what could cause the insurer to deny your claim—and solidly so. California requires you to carry liability insurance only, but many other options are available such as comprehensive and collision, which may also be required before you can drive a new or used car off the dealer lot. You should understand what you are or what you want to be covered for in terms of medical payments, personal injury protection, uninsured motorists, and more.

More importantly though—and this goes for all your insurance—understand what you can do to make sure you don’t make it easier for the insurer to deny or delay your claim. Again, using car insurance as an example, understand what your policy covers and might be denied due to your actions or negligence—or simple lack of payment and cancellation of policy that could have already occurred.

If you have been injured, get medical treatment immediately. Any delays in going to the hospital or doctor’s office may raise serious questions. Make sure all your concerns are documented, and keep in mind that your medical records may be requested. Be aware that if the accident was your fault due to an issue such as reckless driving or driving under the influence, the claim could be denied. Distracted driving is also one of the top reasons for traffic fatalities and injuries, and it is proved that you were not paying attention to driving but fiddling with an electronic device instead, again there is the possibility for denial.

For other insurance policies, know what is expected of you when there is damage or other reason for a claim. If the insurer is not responding, know the signs of impending bad faith practices such as lack of investigation, unreasonable delays, low-ball offers, or a denial that seems unreasonable.

Are you concerned about a recent claim, or are you trying to understand your insurance policy? If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, the Bolender Law Firm will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!



Neutrality in Mediation: How Does That Really Work?

Mediation is one of the most popular forms of alternative dispute resolution today, yielding great success rates over classic litigation. Many parties—especially business owners—who would have ended up in the courtroom otherwise are relieved to find that they can resolve their differences in a more affordable and casual atmosphere, sometimes even able to meet with the mediator during weeknights or on weekends to work around busy schedules.

The success of mediation centers around the willingness of the disputing parties to compromise and reach an agreement, but the mediator plays a starring role in helping the process move along, from meeting with everyone beforehand to understand their issues, helping to prod the discussion along when there may be a stalemate, as well as drafting all the necessary documents for the court in the end. This is not a venue, however, where the mediator performs any of the decision-making.

Styles may vary when it comes to mediators, but neutrality is key. As the third party in the room, the mediator also has a responsibility to create an air of safety for opinionated discourse about the topic that has landed the individuals present in dispute. It is also vital that the primary individuals involved in the dispute (and authorized to sign off on the agreement) are present and engaged in the mediation, with the understanding that the mediator does not have a stake in either side. For them to take a side would severely disrupt the mediation, along with the credibility of the mediator—and the process itself.

Relying on the neutral mediator to keep the process flowing smoothly means that much of the adversarial quality is removed from the case, as well as the constant focus on blame. Instead, both parties face each other instead of a constant focus on ‘telling it to the judge.’ While some cases may be better resolved through litigation, those who agree to or seek out mediation often do so because they are interested in protecting a long-term relationship, which may not only be an investment in friendship and partnership, but also financial as well. You may be involved in a mediation which involves a vendor or a contractor who you may hope to continue working with later despite current conflict.

The Bolender Law Firm will advocate on behalf of clients through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Registering with the USPTO: What if Someone Already Has the Same Trademark as Mine?

Intellectual property can be exciting to create—and especially when you realize you are onto something truly innovative that will be in demand from the public. Along with everything your business owns over time, you may realize that it is one of your greatest assets, and one that must be protected with great care.

Trademarks Are a Very Common Form of Intellectual Property

While copyrights protect artistic expressions and patents grant rights to inventors, the trademark is one of the most ubiquitous forms of intellectual property—so much so that you may not even realize you are recognizing a company unconsciously in the blink of an eye, due to a basic symbol on a website or street sign. And if you think of trademarks for some of the most famous companies in the world, you may be amazed at the simplicity of their logos or crests. Unfortunately, legal issues can arise when it comes to intellectual property, and although it does become yours (or that of your business) as soon as you bring it into inception, registering it gives you much greater protection if someone infringes on what you believe to be yours.

Be Aware of Other Trademarks Like Yours

Before you register your trademark or service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, consult with an intellectual property attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm to research whether or not there is already something identical or similar in place that could lead to legal headaches later. Although your attorney will be able to advise you further on registration issues, most likely if there is another trademark or service mark that resembles yours and is owned by another company offering the same types of products and services, it will be rejected by the USPTO. State-to-state searches may be recommended as well.

While the registration process may take anywhere from three months to a year or more, you could be protecting one of the most important facets of your brand—a valuable commodity in the modern business world. Work with your attorney to make sure you are setting yourself up for success with a strong mark and an understanding of what you need to do to continue to protect your trademark throughout the years.

Contact Us for Help

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

domain name

Protecting Your Domain Name

Building a business today consists of numerous new factors, in comparison to times past. There is very little focus on getting those business cards printed and letterhead made—after all, it’s a paperless world, and most of us spend time communicating about commerce online rather than in person these days. The major priorities are still the same. Do you have enough capital, and will it last long enough to keep you going through the lean startup years? Are your products or services innovative enough? What about partnerships, establishing a team of employees, and contacting vendors?

Bringing customers in the door is key as always, but your domain name can be the portal to millions online—even around the world. It may or may not be accompanied by a trademark but is in many cases even more vital to your success. While other intellectual property is maintained through application, registration, and licensing through government entities like the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office, your domain should be registered and protected through a reputable registrar. There, you are able not only to purchase your domain name (something like but also a select a variety of different intervals for renewing, or auto-renewals—with this being central to the protection of your address. If you forget or neglect to renew (a more common problem for those with multiple domains to manage), this is where you could become vulnerable, as someone else could intercept or purchase what could be a very popular domain name choice address for their own.

Having a strong password is vital, as well as a domain transfer lock so that it can be switched to anyone else without your permission. You may also be able to register your domain through the USPTO if it clearly identifies the products and services that your company offers to the public. Aside from that, you may also have your trademark (denoting products, usually with a symbol or design meant to gain familiarity with the public) or service mark (often this is a slogan describing what you do) listed on your website, and it should be duly protected no matter what. Even though intellectual property technically does belong to you as soon as you create it, registration through the proper office means that you have much greater legal recourse in the case of infringement.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

legal independent counsel

Legal Independent Counsel: It May Be Necessary to Winning Your Case

As adults with busy lives and a list of responsibilities that usually just continues to grow, most of us learn to enjoy the status quo, never expecting to have to worry about something like a lawsuit or further complications like legal independent counsel. Knowing what to expect on waking up in the morning and enjoying the simplicity of working, establishing careers, and taking care of our families can be extremely satisfying from day to day. And while some surprises can be good, others can turn our lives upside down. Insurance companies bank on this type of consumer worry—and unfortunately, it can be a reality too sometimes.

Insurance Is Meant to Protect the Policyholder

Whether you have an insurance policy for your home, car, business, professional liability, or more, it was purchased to protect yourself, your family, and perhaps your livelihood too, from financial risk; in fact, one major catastrophe could have the terrifying potential to wipe out your finances and send you into bankruptcy, whether you suffer from a serious illness or were injured in a car accident, or find yourself liable for a customer slipping and falling at your business. And taking such events one step further, finding yourself involved in a lawsuit can be even more expensive and stressful.

The Insurer’s Attorneys May Not Offer You the Best Representation

Your insurance company may be obligated to defend you in a lawsuit, but in many cases, there may be a conflict of interest with their attorneys. If you don’t think you are being represented properly by your insurer’s legal team, consider consulting with a firm like the Bolender Law Firm for independent counsel resources. Because your future is at stake, it is important to retain as much control as possible over your case, and your insurance company is not only obligated to supply you with a defense, but also one that is conflict-free. Independent counsel means having additional legal assistance that will observe the actions and performance of the insurance company’s attorneys, as well as acting in your stead.

You should have the ultimate in protection for your future, as well as legal resources if you are sued. Hiring independent counsel may be a necessity also if you are a victim of bad faith practices, as well as being forced to deal with an unreasonable verdict in court.

Contact Us for Help Now

If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through independent counsel, litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!