Author: rainmakereditor

insurance company

Five Reasons You May Need to Sue Your Insurance Company for Bad Faith

Due to the intangibility and general nature of insurance, you may not discover how unhappy you are with a ‘product line’ or insurance company until long after your grace period has expired (and in that case, you will probably still not get all your money back). In most cases, this is not like a retail item that you discover is a poor fit and decide to return for a refund at a customer service counter with few questions asked. Most of us purchase insurance because it is either required by the state we live in or it is highly recommended, meaning that if you don’t have it you could find yourself in a state of utter ruin.

The process of buying and owning insurance may be completely pleasant, and this could continue for years while you enjoy the basic give and take of paying premiums and dealing with customer service representatives; however, this positive perception of the insurer may come to a screeching halt once you file a claim, and this could be due to adjusters giving you a hard time, or even worse, paying you no attention at all. The term ‘bad faith’ may not be something you were even familiar with until being forced to recognize it via the reluctance of an insurer to pay a claim.

Here are five signs that you may need to sue due to bad faith:

  1. No action at all on the claim – while delays and denials can be disturbing, a complete lack of investigation can be most unsettling of all, especially in comparison to how quickly adjusters set to work when they are motivated to settle a case.
  2. Delays, delays, delays – the insurer may give you a variety of different excuses for delays, some of which seem unreasonable, and perhaps even insinuating that they are investigating you for fraud. This is one of the biggest red flags in bad faith insurance claim issues.
  3. Low-ball offers – this is extremely common as so many policyholders try to deal with the insurer on their own, without the help of an experienced attorney, and find themselves worrying if they don’t take the first offer extended, they may not receive anything at all.
  4. Excessive requests for documentation – this can actually be a form of intimidation by the insurer as they ask you to run around collecting so much paperwork (much of it which may be difficult and time-consuming to put your hands on) that you just give up on the case completely, without receiving any settlement, or by accepting a very low one.
  5. Unreasonable denials – at this point, you need legal help to defend your claim! The insurance company may choose any host of reasons to deny your claim, including misrepresenting the wording in your policy, asserting that there were changes which make the claim valid, and more.

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!

corporate veil

Business Topics: Piercing the Corporate Veil

No matter how long you have been in business, you are probably very aware of issues regarding mixing your personal and business life, as well as co-mingling funds. Financial accounts must be independent of one another, insurance is different, and while some may work from home, the office is usually separate too. Like many entrepreneurs, your business probably started out as a dream, developed into a concept, and then you were driven to do the hard work it took to make it into a reality. And while a positive attitude is key to success in business, there is no turning a blind eye to the fact that many endeavors do fail, and you must protect your personal finances.

While ‘piercing the corporate veil’ may sound like a dramatic and mysterious term, what it really means is that the court has lifted any corporate protection (the veil, previously) and is holding the shareholders of a business personally liable. As a business owner, you may wonder what the point is in separating business from personal if you can be held liable for a commercial downfall and potentially be sent down by the courts on a sinking ship—putting your family in financial peril too. Consult with a skilled business litigation lawyer from Bolender Law Firm to examine your options.

This type of legal action is not taken lightly whatsoever, and there must be evidence of piercing the corporate veil. If some required duties are neglected, this could be what causes the court to hold you and any shareholders responsible for business debts. This may occur during a bankruptcy or when creditors/plaintiffs are attempting to collect from a business that may have been founded for the sole purpose of escaping financial or other responsibility. Irresponsibility on the part of the business could be brought into question regarding issues such as not taking care of corporate administrative duties (even such tasks as not taking minutes), lack of capital contributed to sustain a corporation or negligence in issuing stock, the creation of a corporation for illegal activities, or other fraudulent reasons.

Debt collections are commonly at stake in such issues, with judges examining whether creditors truly need to see the veil pierced for fair treatment.

Do you have questions about a business issue, or do you need legal assistance regarding a 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!

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance & Typical Exclusions

Insurance is a vast industry, taking in trillions in premiums every year and churning out massive profits. Much of it is controversial in nature too in realms such as health, as millions struggle under plans that are still costly and inferior. Car insurance accidents may leave policyholders tied up in court and settlement discussions for long periods of time, and commercial liability cases may be extremely complex to resolve. And although it may be the most important insurance you ever purchase for yourself and your family, your homeowner’s policy could be surprisingly complex. Be aware of what you are buying!

Most of us assume our homeowner’s insurance will cover disasters that could potentially render us homeless; however, this is not the case in many instances. If you live in California, it is vital to understand what your policy will cover in terms of an earthquake or landslide, for instance. This usually requires coverage beyond the basic policy. For those living in coastal areas, you may have to purchase flood insurance through another entity, while wind and hail could possibly be covered in an initial policy. Your insurance agent will be able to guide you through what is and what is not available as you navigate the process of getting quotes and applying for a policy but be certain that you know all the right questions to ask.

Something as simple as owning a breed of dog (especially those ‘considered’ to be aggressive like Rottweilers or pit bulls) or purchasing one during the interim while your policy is going into effect could cause problems with the insurer, along with the potential for being turned away for insurance or facing a cancellation later when they find out. This type of exclusion pertains to liabilities that are not covered, and there may be others as well, including issues like injuries due to slipping and falling.

Understand what could be excluded due to lack of coverage regarding maintenance issues or damage caused by environmental hazards. Construction defects are often not covered, and this is extremely important to be aware of if you are purchasing a newer or older home. That leaking roof could destroy much more than just the attic flooring, but has the potential to wreck HVAC units, walls, ceilings, and more. Structural or foundation defects could lead to safety concerns for you and your family, along with enormous expense. Think about the long term when purchasing any type of insurance, but especially that of your home.

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!

patent

What Does it Mean to Have a Patent?

Intellectual property can be extremely valuable to your business, especially if your specialty is innovation. Because understanding what type of intellectual property protection may be best for you, it is important to get educated on the range of applications and licenses available. But first, be aware that as soon as you create intellectual property it is yours. The significance of applying for a patent or trademark or service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is that you have confirmation of the product, therefore leading to stronger legal rights should you have to sue over infringement.

While copyrights refer to artistic expressions of work (such as literature, music, architecture, software, and more), and trademarks and service marks refer to branding, logos, and slogans, patents are relevant to inventions, and give you usually around 20 years of exclusivity to make and sell whatever it is you have created.

The application process for a patent can be complicated and it is recommended that you speak with an intellectual property attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm first. With expert legal help, you will be able to start by searching the USPTO Full-Text and Image Database for similar patents that may already be registered—and although this doesn’t count you out in terms of being approved, you may need to consider what is already out there and what the ramifications are. Upon applying, there may be a waiting period of around two years—but it could last beyond that. What this means is that you should be very serious about what you are registering, have foresight about beginning the process, and then be ready to wait.

Once granted, having a patent means the following, according to the USPTO:

“The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.”

Patents are divided into several categories—utility, design, and plants. Patents must be considered useful and are not viable in the form of just an idea or concept. 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!

 

managing partners

Business Owners & Managing Partners—Keep those Minutes Updated

There may have been a lightbulb moment when you—and perhaps with a partner or two also—came up with a breathtaking idea, an invention that you knew would be in great demand later if you could just turn it into reality and become business owners or managing partners. Along with the latitude to work on and build your own business model, being your own boss means setting your own hours, making your own decisions, and being in much greater control of your life and its direction. Hopefully, there is the potential for making a good living, as well as the possibility for helping other people in your community or maybe even around the world.

There are numerous downsides to owning a company too, from typical daily stressors like managing a team to figuring out how to keep cash flow running properly. There are a variety of different little headaches in between also, and many of them relate to corporate administrative tasks. While they may seem like the easiest to procrastinate on, they can multiply out of control before you realize it. If you do not have someone handling these tasks for you, or if they need to be delegated, do so as quickly as possible. Scheduling corporate meetings, keeping up with all the records, and tending to the minutes is a perfect example. Keeping of the minutes is required for tax purposes and by federal law, and in most cases if you are the head of a traditional corporation or are the managing partner of another type of formal business entity (depending on state law), notes must be taken during at least one meeting per year.

Keeping the minutes for your company may be as simple or as complicated as you deem necessary, with notes usually expected too from meetings between shareholders, activities such as hiring new employees and giving them raises, bringing in new officers, and financial events like taking out loans or opening new accounts.  All in attendance during such meetings or events should be noted, with the minutes kept in a secure location with the rest of your corporation’s important paperwork.

Do you have questions about a business issue, or do you need legal assistance regarding a 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!

third party claims

Bad Faith in Third Party Claims

Car insurance is a good example of a scenario where third party claims may be involved. And it is up to you to make sure they are covered, up to a point, too, so that they do not come after you personally! Buying insurance is all about risk protection—and considering that traffic incidents on today’s highways just continue to increase, hedging your bets with as much automobile insurance as possible is never a bad idea. And while none of us wants to get into any sort of accident at all, it can be doubly worse if it is our fault. When injuries and property damage are involved, there can also be a great deal of emotional stress and being able to offer financial compensation is key.

Trying to deal with an insurer that is slow in paying a claim may seem excruciating, but such an experience is even worse when they are supposed to be covering an accident where you were found at fault. If your insurance company has refused to settle in bad faith, you could be left extremely vulnerable financially; in fact, you could be sued personally. In some cases, the plaintiff may obtain a judgment against you, making life even worse with the potential for a series of wage garnishments, loss of property, and levying of financial accounts. This is not the time to go it alone! Consult with a skilled bad faith insurance attorney from a law office like the Bolender Law Firm.

If the insurer from your side (or if you are involved in a claim where the other party’s insurer is supposed to pay you) is not responding much at all, you may begin to worry that they are not going to honor the claim. Other signs of bad faith include:

  • Failure to even acknowledge the insurance claim
  • Lack of investigation of the claim
  • Delays with little explanation or unreasonable excuses that hold up all parties involved
  • Low-ball offers to pay the claim
  • Intimidating behavior toward you or toward witnesses involved in the case
  • Intimidating requests for excessive documentation
  • Outright denial of claim without a valid reason

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!

insurance coverage

Was Your Insurance Coverage Misrepresented?

In the beginning, purchasing insurance coverage is all about peace of mind, and as we so often hear, that does not come cheap! When it comes to protecting your health, home, business, livelihood, and so much more though, you most likely will be forced to bite the bullet and pay what could be hefty premiums for insurance—and perhaps for numerous policies. This usually happens via an insurance agent, and while it could be someone you have trusted for years, and who has always taken care of your coverage properly, you may have instead had to look for someone to help with new types of coverage.

Choosing an insurance agent is not an exercise that should be taken lightly, and you may want to speak with several different individuals before making a choice about which agency or insurance company to go with; after all, this person is going to be responsible for helping you make sure your home is protected in the case of a disaster, that your business is protected if someone takes a fall on a slippery floor and sues, that you and loved ones are taken care of in the case of a major car accident, and so much more. The insurance agent is responsible for making sure nothing falls through the cracks!

In some very unfortunate cases though, the insurance agent may be negligent—or customer service agents for the agency or larger corporation may not do their part sufficiently in handling your policy. While it is easy for misunderstandings to arise due to the complexities of insurance—and especially in a policy containing massive amounts of legal jargon—it is up to the agent to be the industry expert and make sure to explain your policy in full as well as answering as many questions as you may have.

Misrepresentation regarding your policy could occur for numerous reasons. While the insurer could be acting purely in bad faith, making changes to or canceling your policy without warning, it could also be that the insurance agent simply did not understand some part of what they were selling to you. They may have been confused about a clause within the policy, forgotten about an exclusion, or failed to tell you about another policy you needed to buy separately for total coverage; or, they may have failed to get coverage as promised altogether. With the help of a skilled insurance attorney, you may be owed significant damages through the agent’s errors and omissions company.

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 infringement

The Legal Implications of Intellectual Property Infringement

Protecting your business is one of the most important things you can do throughout life. This is a multi-faceted endeavor too, as there are so many areas that can become vulnerable, leading to insurance liabilities, security breaches, and more—to include loss or theft of intellectual property. This could be inventions that need to be patented or copyrighted works whether pieces of architecture, software innovation, literature, music, or more. Trademarks such as logos and symbols must be protected, as well as service marks designating what you provide to your specific industry.

And while protecting from infringement is always something to guard against, there may also be true confusion regarding who intellectual property belongs to within the workplace. To avoid any gray area regarding your ownership over the innovations created within your business, employee confidentiality and non-disclosure/non-competition agreements are recommended whenever possible. While they cannot completely ensure you won’t have any problems or that you won’t have trade secrets walking out the door without your knowledge, they are your best preliminary bet for fending off complications and the potential for serious financial loss and harm to your company.

In the case that your intellectual property is being used without your permission and simple communication with the other party asking them to cease such activities is not effective, you do have legal recourse and should consult with a skilled intellectual property attorney as soon as possible. You may have questions about what makes intellectual property yours, and technically, it is yours as soon as it comes into being—as soon as you or an employee or independent contractor make it. In some cases, this could be enough to fight against infringement, but depending on the value of the items at hand you may not ever want to take that risk.

The other party may have considerable or unforeseen resources to fight you, even if they have taken what was your original creation. That could make suing more challenging if you have not applied for registration or licensing. Again, this is a job for your attorney, who can advise you on what type of applications and licenses to pursue, whether from the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, or other entities for items like domain names and more.

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!

Errors and Omissions

What is an Errors and Omissions Insurance Claim?

Purchasing insurance can be a stressful experience in some cases, and having to file an errors and omissions insurance claim is most likely something you will never expect to have to do. Chances are, your life is busy (like so many consumers today), with little time to research what your needs really are for protecting your home, your business, your car—and even your health. We rely on insurance agents to know the facts and present them to us in a more consolidated form, informing us about our options as well as laws, exclusions, other needs we should consider, and of course—the financial end regarding cost, payment schedules, and more. Your insurance agent may also want to examine any existing policies to see where they are lacking and then make improvements, along with continuing to maintain them over the long run; in fact, some policyholders may work with the same agent for years.

Insurance agents are often recommended by word of mouth, through friends or other business peers, known for their industry expertise, and above all—excellent customer service. They should be skilled at helping you target exactly what you need regarding a variety of different lines of insurance, as well as assisting you in the claims process should that be necessary. But what happens when you must file a claim against them? This is where errors and omissions insurance kicks in for the agent as you file an E&O claim with the help of an attorney from a law office like the Bolender Law Firm.

Negligence may have occurred on the part of your insurance agent due to a wide range of reasons such as failing to explore your needs appropriately and leaving you or your business vulnerable, failing to procure coverage as promised or not letting you know about an impending cancellation, required change to your policy, or other issue that causes negative consequences.

In some cases, the insurance agent may also have failed to send in information regarding a claim to the carrier at all, which could cause massive issues all around—and leave you emptyhanded after a disaster to your home or business that required immediate resolution from the insurer you trusted and paid diligently (even when some premiums may be exorbitant!). You could be owed significant damages to be paid out through the agent’s E&O insurance, depending on what happened—and the scope of their negligence in providing the proper care to you as a policyholder.

If you suspect negligence on the part of your insurance agent or insurance company, contact the Bolender Law Firm. We 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!

Which Form of Intellectual Property Protection Applies to Your Work?

Businesses of all sizes are innovating more than ever, as so many industries in the US continue to grow, with designers, engineers, and many different types of hardworking individuals finding new ways to improve processes or create new ones altogether, often requiring intellectual property protection. But if you are the owner of a company, whether it is new or has been in business for decades, you may just be learning about how to protect your work. This can be complex, and some find it intimidating to deal with from the outset which is why it is easier—and best—to work with an intellectual property attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm.

Interestingly, intellectual property does belong to you as soon as you create it—without your having to do anything else at all. And while registering your work with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or the U.S. Copyright Office, no matter which type it is, does give you more legal recourse should there be reason to sue or have to defend yourself, it is important to have confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in place for employees just so that it is completely understood that your business retains ownership of the projects created within the company—and that trade secrets are not to be shared with any outside interests.

Your attorney will be able to advise you regarding which type (or types) of protection you need, but following are the basics in intellectual property:

  • Copyrights – this protects what are generally known as artistic works of expression, which could span everything from literature to pieces of architecture or even software. Such protection usually spans the lifetime of the creator and 70 years after that.
  • Trademarks – these are vital to businesses usually in the form of logos or symbols, and allow your customers to recognize you, often from far away (think of those ubiquitous golden arches!). Protecting your trademark means that other companies cannot infringe on branding that denotes the products you sell or service marks, denoting what services you offer to the public.
  • Patents relate to inventions and are usually good for around 20 years, meaning you have sole rights to distribution and manufacturing.

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!