Author: jbolender

Understanding the Examination Under Oath (EUO)

For most of your adult life, buying insurance has probably been pretty cut and dry, black and white, consisting of the insurer helping you protect your property—and you writing checks in exchange for such services, never expecting to be subjected to something like an examination under oath. This is often the case with car insurance, and even homeowner’s insurance, if you have been lucky enough never to have damage or to have to file a claim. And while no one enjoys making endless payments to protect a risk that in the end never had a claim filed on it, the bottom line is that you never know what could happen. If the worst does occur, it means everything to know that you are dealing with an insurer who will handle a claim expediently and honestly. It also means everything to know you will not lose your property or business or medical care.

If you are concerned that you are running into trouble with an insurer though, it is time to get out the insurance policy and read it from beginning to end, if you have not done so previously— along with making an appointment to meet with a skilled insurance attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm.

There can be much more to an insurance policy than you may realize, which is why it is critical to read every word, although realistically that may be a long and boring endeavor. You are protecting yourself in understanding everything the insurance company could ask of you in the event of a claim, along with what provisions they have in place to protect themselves.

If you have been handling a claim on your own, you may be surprised to find that the insurance company has asked you to participate in an examination under oath (EUO). This could seem very intimidating, and the insurance company may be putting you through aggressive motions so that they can get out of paying a claim; however, most insurance policies do outline the possibility of such measures, also making it clear that your claim could be denied if you do not agree.

Unfortunately, the EUO usually emerges as part of the claim process when the insurance company is investing fraud. During the EUO, which can be a formal proceeding, there is usually someone responsible for transcription, recording the process, and all your answers to what intricate legal questions. At this point you need strong legal expertise to guide you, and especially if a large insurance claim is at stake.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  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 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!

 

claim

Am I Going to Have to Fight the Insurance Company to Get My Claim Paid?

The last thing you probably want to deal with is buying insurance or having to deal with a claim either. It is a necessary evil, as most of us are aware though, whether we are dealing with the purchase of a car, a new home, a commercial site, a boat, or other assets. If you own something valuable, insurance gives you the peace of mind in knowing that it is protected in the event of an accident, whether that may be moderate or catastrophic.

No one wants to feel like they are making a deal with the devil in purchasing insurance. This should be an above-board, honest transaction where you choose what lines of insurance you need in working with an insurance agent, purchasing your policy, with an understanding of when premiums are due and how much they cost. If changes are to be made, you should be given notice well ahead of time—not left hanging later after a disaster has occurred and you find there are problems with coverage.

If the time comes to file a claim, you may be under an unfortunate but understandable amount of stress. Your home may have been so damaged that you are forced to live in one small area or move out altogether. You may be without a car. You may be concerned about an incident that occurred at your business, or a potential lawsuit. At this point, the insurance company should be taking care of you. After all the premiums you have probably paid, it is now their job to set your mind at ease, pay your claim quickly, and allow you to get back to your normal way of life. If that does not happen, it is time to hire a skilled bad faith insurance attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm.

You may sense trouble from the onset if there is little response to your claim. While adjusters often are quick to begin calling and opening investigations, if that is not happening, chances are you should be worried—and any delays should be well-documented with clear reasoning for any substantial wait. The insurer should be offering you excellent customer service, rather than tasking you for excessive amounts of documentation, insulting you with lowball offers, harassing any witnesses who may have been on the scene at the time your property was damaged or you were injured, and ultimately, seeing to it that you are taken care of expediently.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  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 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!

 

intellectual property

What Should I Do If My Intellectual Property Has Been Stolen?

Discovering that you have been stolen from is always a jarring experience, no matter the value of an item. And while there are steps you can take legally upon realizing you have been a victim of theft, the situation may become more complex when dealing with an intangible item or a mere concept—but a valuable one— related to intellectual property.

As a business owner, you may eventually find that intellectual property is one of your company’s greatest strengths; after all, what could be more important than your logo for branding? Or your slogan so that the public understands what you do? Copyrights and trademarks often cover the basics at the beginning of your business, but patents could represent the most substantial part of your intellectual property portfolio later.

While you may have a simple patent, it is also possible that you have one or more patents for inventions that are extremely complex and could have been the result of decades of work whether you were involved or your team handled the bulk of the design. You may also have had the assistance of independent contractors who have worked with you continuously throughout the years, are on an ‘as-needed’ basis.

If you fear that your intellectual property has been stolen, take action as quickly as possible with the help of a skilled attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm. While so many different types of theft, including identity theft and cyber theft are prevalent today, intellectual property theft can be extremely damaging as another party could begin to import, export, manufacture, and sell something you worked very hard to create.

If there has been infringement, your intellectual property attorney will begin by issuing a request for the infringement to cease, taking more aggressive action later if that does not prove effective. This also applies to copyrights, trademarks and service marks, as well as inventions you may have put many hours and expense into creating. While intellectual property technically is yours as soon as it comes into being (at your hands, or those of your employees), registering it gives you much more recourse later if there is a legal dispute.

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!

 

claim

I Submitted a Claim and The Insurer Is Ignoring Me

Insurance is all about risk protection. And although we would like the process to proceed as seamlessly as possible, unfortunately, there can be stress involved from the beginning. Just finding a reputable insurance agent can take some amount of effort, unless you can network through friends and family who have worked with someone for years and had good results. In working with an insurance agent, you should learn about all the different types of insurance and policy coverages, along with understanding what you need and how much it will cost.

Once you have a policy in place, there is the added and ongoing responsibility to make substantial payments to the insurer, whether on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, and these are not always easy to keep up with – which is why you expect to get what you pay for in the end. Unfortunately, insurers may not always want to let go of their money, and it can be extremely frustrating to find out that they are not going to follow through on their end of a bargain after you have been so diligent.

Every insurance claim should begin with an investigation. This usually involves the adjuster calling and asking basic questions about what happened and setting an appointment to look at damage if there is any, or possibly to interview you (this could occur over the phone or in person). If you have a substantial case against another party and the insurer, it is in your best interest to have an attorney handling all communication and transferring of pertinent files.

But what about the insurance company or adjuster who seems to make an initial call and then drops the ball completely after that? You may find this to be unexpected and confusing behavior. An insurance company will usually only avoid an investigation altogether if they have made a mistake and forgotten about you due to disorganization within their company—or they are trying to avoid paying the claim altogether. No matter what the case is, if you are getting nowhere with an insurance claim that probably needs to be paid expediently, it is in your best interest to have skilled legal representation to fight for your rights.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  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 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!

Patents May Protect Improvements to An Existing Invention

Intellectual property can be one of your company’s greatest assets. This is often not a priority at first, and many business owners may not realize the importance of copyrights, trademarks, and patents until they are in the midst of creating something, or realize they are onto something big—and perhaps even internationally.

While much intellectual property is centered around branding mechanisms such as logos, slogans, and products delineating what you may provide for the public, patents are usually even more important as they represent inventions. And while copyrights are technically registered as artistic expressions, the patent often represents something along the same lines that may be exponentially more creative or innovative, and a product that endures through many decades to come. Because of that, it is critical to protect such works for the long term.

But what if you want to make an improvement on an existing patent, whether it is your own or someone else’s? Improvement patents are extremely common today and are often known as ‘addition patents’ or ‘substitution patents.’ These often include much smaller but vital inventions that could be a tipping point for the success of a product overall. Many improvements occur today as new technology is becoming so readily available and may offer significant benefits over conventional methods such as greater affordability, better performance, and less labor needed when operating a machine or a system.

If you are interested in registering to improve a patent, begin by searching for it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. File your temporary patent while you complete the formal application process and expect to have to make revisions. It is highly recommended that you work with an intellectual property attorney as applying for a patent of any kind can be a lengthy, complex process; however, it is well worth it to make sure any type of invention is protected from infringement by others.

A patent gives you exclusive rights to an invention for up to 20 years, usually, meaning that no one else can make, sell, or use it. If the registration expires, it then becomes open to the public domain.

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!

business partnerships

Business Partnerships: Do You Share the Same Future Vision?

Entering into business partnerships—and choosing the partner—can have a major impact on your business for decades to come, which is why you should share a future vision; in fact, you may not have formally chosen someone to share your company to begin with, but rather you may have worked together for years, and perhaps even before your business was started. Many business partners come up with an idea, product, or business model together, sometimes in high school or college, and work for years until they are actually able to open a company of their own.

You may spend more time with your business partner than you do your marriage partner in some cases, and at times the stakes may be high as you are forced to make serious professional and financial decisions that affect not only you and your ability to make an income, but that of your entire team of employees too. Because there will be many important decisions to be made over the years, it is important to work with someone who shares your vision.

Although you and your partner may have started a company together, and there was never any sort of selection or interviewing process, many details should be worked out as you create your business partnership contract with the help of your business attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm. Many of the details regarding your company vision should get worked out naturally when creating the contract, on deciding who will act as the head of the business or CEO, how profits will be paid out, how job duties will be designated, who will be in charge of the hiring and firing, and how shares will be passed on if a partner were to leave the company or to pass away unexpectedly.

A vision for the future is vital to the success of any company, so, along with many of your other employees most likely too, establish what you want to achieve in the present and in the long-term. Various business models should be created, with goals set and monitored closely. It is also critical to discuss how you want to hire employees, whether in part time or full-time capacity, or as independent contractors. You may also need to establish whether intellectual property requires registration, and how to handle such issues with contractors who could feasibly walk out the door with company designs.

While the challenges may be great, the rewards are often even greater when it comes to owning your own business. In many cases, every day is exciting, but most entrepreneurs or even large corporate owners will find themselves running into conflict at some point. Because of this, you should have a dispute resolution clause built into the business partnership contract. This can be created while everyone is still on good terms, allowing you to decide how any dispute would be decided—whether in arbitration or mediation—or litigation. You can also discuss who would be responsible for attorneys’ fees and where any proceedings will take place, in terms of the courthouse or county.

Do you need legal assistance with a partnership or business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm. 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!

delays

Sketchy Behavior? Delays? Denials? Get It All in Writing!

No matter what type of insurance claim you have submitted, there are bound to be many details that must be attended to—and some could be complex, whether you have filed a car accident claim, homeowners claim, or one pertaining to your profession or liability at a commercial site–but delays can be very frustrating.

Being forced to communicate with or wait on another individual’s insurer if you have had to file a car accident claim can be extremely frustrating, especially if you have been seriously injured and are worried about finances due to mounting medical bills and inability to work. The situation may be even worse, however, when your own insurance company gives you a hard time – adding insult to injury after you have been paying your premiums for what could have been many years as a devoted customer; in fact there may never have been any problem of any sort until you actually had a demand. It can feel like a real slap in the face to have maintained your standing in a contract with the insurer for so long, but when you actually need to cash in on the insurance that has been protecting you for so long, the company you trusted may not be there for you.

If you have begun to worry about bad faith practices, you may have experienced strange or disorganized behavior from customer service representatives or the adjuster, or even your insurance agent. You may have experienced long delays, a complete lack of investigation about your claim, or outright denials for no good reason. At this point, everything should be requested in writing as you may have to sue the insurer to get your claim paid. If there is a delay, ask for a reason in writing. If there is a denial, you certainly want that in writing and should have received a comprehensive notice regarding the reason. If there has not been an investigation at all, try emailing the company and seeing if you get something back in writing – but better yet, have your attorney handle as much of this is possible.

If you are forced to take an insurer to court for bad faith practices, you may be owed an exponential amount of damages after enduring such an experience.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  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 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!

car crash

After the Car Crash: Do I Need to Hire an Insurance Attorney?

After a car crash, what you will probably notice most of all is how shaken you are. No matter what type of accident you have had, from a fender bender to a catastrophic crash, the adrenaline flow may feel shocking, and it can take some time to get over, depending on the level of trauma.

If you have been in a collision in your car, truck, or motorcycle (or even while traveling on foot or on a bicycle), what is most important at first is to establish your physical well-being, and whether you need an ambulance—or whether any of your passengers do. After taking time to pull your car over, catching your breath, and collecting yourself so that you can get out of the vehicle to further survey and understand what just really happened, you will need to do all the routine exercises such as getting contact information from everyone, establishing whether there are witnesses, taking photos of the scene, and seeking medical help at some point if necessary.

Afterward, if you have been seriously injured due the negligence of another driver, chances are the other insurer will be contacting you quickly. You may not even make it home before the phone starts ringing, and you find yourself suddenly presented with many questions—some of which may seem almost aggressive and difficult to answer. If you are in the hospital, or at home recuperating, speaking to an insurance adjuster can be stressful. This is not something you should have to handle on your own though, and upon speaking with your injury attorney, most likely you will discover they want you to refer all calls and questions to them from that point forward.

Insurance adjusters are skilled at what they do: closing out cases as quickly as possible and paying out as little money as possible! Because of this, if you have a case, you will need an experienced attorney to act in your best interest. And if the insurer shows signs of acting in bad faith, you may need to change direction and hire a bad faith insurance attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm.

If you are worried about signs of bad faith, red flags may have erupted like major delays without any reasonable excuse, requests for overwhelming amounts of paperwork, and even intimidation tactics such as instructing you to take a lowball offer (because it may be all you will get) or even going so far as to harass witnesses in the case.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  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 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!

mediation setting

What is the Usual Mediation Setting?

Along with arbitration—and in California, also judicial reference—the mediation setting is one of the most effective forms of alternative dispute resolution outside of the courtroom. Growing in popularity throughout the past few decades, this type of ADR involves a mediator who leads the process, acting in a decidedly neutral manner, rather than a deciding one. Unlike most court cases, the mediator usually meets with everyone involved before the process begins, calling to set up a time before the process is scheduled. This allows them to get to know everyone involved, and they will usually take extensive time to learn about the background of the dispute, and how everyone came to be involved.

Often, business parties involved in mediation have long-standing commercial relationships, and may even be friends or relatives in some cases. Because of this, voluntary mediation is popular when preservation of the relationship is perceived as important. The setting may have a lot to do with the ongoing success of mediations in the US. Most of them are successful, and most settings are much more laid-back, casual, and conducive to bringing forth a good discussion between the parties involved.

The dress is more casual, and the mediator may even be able to work around office schedules and allow all the processes to occur after work in the evenings, or on weekends when the ties are loosened up and the attitudes are more relaxed too. Most of us do not enjoy having to get all dressed up in formal business attire and sitting in a stuffy courtroom for hours, leading to some of the greatest benefits in mediation.

Mediation (with most being successful) often leads to faster resolution as people are more comfortable and motivated to reach a settlement that works. While mediators do not have to be licensed, they are usually extremely comfortable in the legal arena and may in fact be practicing attorneys or retired judges. Although there are some expenses involved in the process (mainly in paying the mediator), and it is becoming more expensive than it used to be, mediation is still usually exponentially less expensive than litigation—and offers much greater success.

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!

insurance premiums

Insurance Companies Rely on Insurance Premiums to Make Profits

If you filed an insurance claim recently and found the insurer lacking in their timely response, you may be outraged—not to mention disappointed, frustrated, worried, and a whole lot of other not so positive reactions to their behavior; After all, insurance premiums usually do not run cheap, and you may have had to work hard to make your payments in a continual and timely manner.

It could be devastating to invest so much money and trust in a large company and receive nothing in return at the time you need it the most. Homeowner’s insurance is a good example here. If you have paid in your money for homeowners insurance and had to file a claim, it may be imperative that you are paid as quickly as possible because your living arrangements may have become extremely uncomfortable or you may have even had to move out of your home. In the case of a fire, your home could have been rendered completely uninhabitable, or a portion of it may be burned—still making it exceedingly difficult to live in such a situation. If the insurance company does not seem to be paying any attention to your claim, you may be panicking. They may have even issued a denial outright. If ongoing delays or sudden denials are occurring, you should be receiving reasonable explanations.

If you are not getting anywhere with the insurer despite the urgent need to have a claim paid, most likely the issue is unrelated to their financial health. The insurance industry reports billions of dollars in profits every year, and most large companies are in healthy shape, living quite large off from policyholder premiums. That is how they make their money, and giving it away easily is certainly not a habit or their business model. In fact, insurers may make it as hard as possible for you to have your claim paid. And in the case of a claim like a fire at your home, you may even find yourself at the mercy of a fraud investigation unit—causing the panic to set it exponentially.

And while you may have had nothing to do with a fire at your home (it could have burned while you were not even there and had an ‘alibi’) such an investigation may be quite routine for the insurer. If you are concerned that the insurance company is going to try any method possible to get out of paying your claim, it is time to consult with a bad faith insurance attorney.

If you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm. 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 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!