insurance lawyer

Your Insurance Lawyer Should Be Skilled in the Courtroom

Even without an insurance lawyer explaining it to you, chances are you understand how the basics of an insurance claim work, and are hoping to stay out of the courtroom. If you have been in a car accident, the police are called, a report is made, and you may have been taken to the hospital for injuries or were treated otherwise. Many of these types of incidents end up leaving you with a sigh of relief as they are fender benders resulting in little need for action, while another could be a full-blown car crash that results in multiple injuries due to the negligence of another party, and could escalate into a full-blown lawsuit against the other party’s insurance company.

If you have been injured or experienced serious property damage, you probably feel a sense of urgency to see the claim settled so you can get your finances and your life back in order—and understandably so. This can also be a very difficult time if you are trying to heal or adapt to what could be long-lasting or permanent damage physically – not to mention emotionally.

The best scenario in such a situation is always to hope that the insurance company is going to pay the claim as quickly as possible and everyone can go on their way; however, claim situations can get complicated at times. There is a difference though between complicated and an insurance company that is attempting to get out of paying your claim and practicing bad faith. Know the signs. Are they delaying the process of dealing with your claim? Has an investigation begun? Or, have you already been outright denied?

You may also be the victim of intimidation tactics from your insurance company. This could include requests for so much documentation you don’t even know where to start – along with asking for information that may seem completely irrelevant. The insurer could even go so far as to insinuate that your claim is fraudulent, delaying payment even further as they send out a fraud investigation team. They may try to intimidate witnesses with aggressive questioning—and you as well. In the end, you may receive a lowball offer that they want you to believe is all you will get, and that you should accept it quickly (which you should not!).

If you are being treated this way, do not try to go it alone! Consult with an attorney from the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible if you suspect bad faith practices. There is the chance that your insurance attorney could contact the insurance company by phone or by written communication and resolve everything quickly for you. If not, however, it is vital to your case to have an attorney who is skilled in the courtroom, has experience in the courtroom, and will fight to protect you and your best interests.

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. The Bolender Law Firm is here to help you!

common errors

Avoid the Courtroom: Understanding the Most Common Errors in Business

Owning a business may be one of the most exciting endeavors you ever undertake, and undoubtedly you will make some common errors. However, it is no secret that being an entrepreneur is also full of challenges. While you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are your own boss, you can set your own hours, and can make the rules for the most part, the responsibilities can be endless. The goal is usually to create a product and keep the customer happy, but you must also consider many other behind-the-scenes issues.

Finding yourself embroiled in a lawsuit may be inevitable if you are in business for a long period of time, but there are preventative measures you can take, to include:

  • Creating partnership agreements – your partners may be people you have known for nearly your whole life and trust more than anyone else, but it is important to be realistic and realize that things could go south later, or one or more of you could opt to leave the company. It is critical to have an outline for many different details, starting with the basics such as the hierarchy of the company, responsibilities and titles, profit distribution schedules, to agreeing on what will happen if one partner wants to leave the company or passes away.
  • Protect your intellectual property – this means treating all your branding mechanisms with care, to include your trademark, service mark, and any patents your company may have created, along with any copyrights which are generally defined as expressions of art.
  • Be sure to have employees classified correctly – this is especially important in California with independent contractors, where employees may be categorized incorrectly, and the company may find themselves penalized. Also, be sure independent contractors have a solid agreement signed before they begin working for you to include the span of the project, their duties, confidentiality, and how ownership of any innovations they create while at your company are to be handled later.
  • Employee pay – this is one of the biggest reasons that businesses fall into lawsuits, as overtime may be miscalculated, a paycheck may be late, or there could be errors in accounting. Always make sure that you or your accounting team are completely on top of paying for your employees; after all: that is why they are there!

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!

claim

Why Insurance Companies Are So Reluctant to Pay that Claim

Buying insurance from a company you consider to be reputable is important, especially if you hope to have any claims in the future paid out expediently. And if you have filed a claim with your insurance company recently, chances are you are hoping to hear from them quickly as you must pay medical bills, take care of property that needs to be repaired, or resolve a serious situation where you are being sued or held negligent.

Nothing can be worse than finding out that the insurer you have paid thousands of dollars in premiums to is trying to give you the runaround. And although you may be gravely disappointed, try not to take it personally; after all, if they are being unreasonable with you, most likely that is just how they do business. That may be of little consolation, however, if you have been out of work due to a car or motorcycle crash that resulted in serious injuries and escalation of financial distress after you could not go back to work, or if your home suffered a fire and you have not been able to live there in the interim, or other devastating issues. In most cases where an insurance claim is filed, the policyholder’s finances are affected deeply. You may be extremely worried about your financial future if the insurance company does not come through as you would have expected.

If you suspect bad faith on the part of the insurer when you have filed what you are certain is a valid claim, most likely the insurer is reluctant to pay for one reason: they want to keep their money. And although in many cases, it is obvious they are not doing the right thing, profits, the bottom line, and greed take over. Many red flags may pop up to alert you that something is wrong, beginning with delays that seem to have no explanation. There may be other tactics, however, like investigations that never seem to get underway, or excessive requests for documentation—or even intimidation tactics such as suggesting you should take a lowball offer or you won’t receive anything at all.

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!

commercial intellectual property

Is Someone Else Benefiting from Your Commercial Intellectual Property to Sell Merchandise?

Although you may not even realize it at the time, when you create a business, you also begin creating an ongoing reputation within your community and industry, which also leads to a brand and commercial intellectual property—no matter how formal or informal it may be–and you certainly do not want anyone else benefiting from the hard work you put in. Along with your brand usually comes slogans, logos, information about your services, and perhaps even innovative products that make you known worldwide and must be patented.

Protecting your intellectual property is about more than just attaining status through registration and having a piece of paper to go with your work. Going through the application process and receiving the proper registration and licensing (which can sometimes be complex) can be critical to your business, and in many ways protecting intellectual property is just like protecting the inventory at your company or warehouse.

Just as you lock the door on your property at night onsite or at your warehouse, intellectual property protection allows you to secure rights to avoid theft by others. You can then move on and give your attention to exploring new innovations and expanding research and development within your company. There may be no further complications unless someone tries to threaten your IP license.

If you do realize there may be a threat to your intellectual property—known as infringement in most cases—consult with the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible to protect your valuable work, which may currently be part of or eventually lead to substantial income for your company. Many intellectual property ‘thieves’ just assume no one will come after them for stealing a copyright, trademark, or even perhaps a complex patent to be reproduced and sold for a tidy profit. Others may simply not believe in or may not agree with the idea of intellectual property altogether, justifying theft in that manner. Be aware also, that many infringers are international.

Each type of intellectual property has its own protections, and if you are trying to deal with an infringement issue, this is certainly not an area of law to try and go it alone. 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!

 

Why You Should Speak to Your Attorney About Non Compete Contracts

Most business owners are aware that their companies are only as good as their employees, but paperwork like non compete contracts are often necessary. You can have the best business model in the world and the greatest product to sell, but without an excellent team of employees to keep all the cogs in the machine spinning, there is nothing. Whether you are a new business assembling a team, or a well-established company maintaining a group of great employees and hiring intermittently, you may need to farm work out to independent contractors at times or bring them in as specialists.

Independent contractors may only be part of minor projects at times, but in other scenarios, they could be responsible for the bulk of the work in an important project, and they could also be the ones behind creating a significant intellectual property like patents. And while such creative results could be an incredible boost to your business, even opening new doors to innovation and establishing your position within an industry, it is critical to protect not only information and data surrounding your business but also whatever products are created there in exchange for payment to full-time employees or contractors.

Questions regarding how to handle hiring independent contractors are very common, and especially in California where it is vital to make sure that they are classified properly, along with following all IRS guidelines. Along with that, you should speak with an experienced business attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm about creating a comprehensive independent contractor’s agreement. Your attorney may create specific contracts each time depending on who you hire and the importance of the work, or they may be able to help you develop a template that you can repeatedly follow throughout the years in hiring.

The contract/agreement should outline how long they will work for you and in what capacity, pay information and any benefits offered to contractors, confidentiality regarding the company itself and any projects they are working on, details on ownership rights and a clear description of repercussions should those be violated, along with any other details regarding their time of temporary employment (although feasibly this could be years). Your attorney may also want to create a nondisclosure agreement or make amendments later.

Do you need legal assistance with a business or contract issue? 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!

denial

Understanding Your Options When a Denial Needs to Be Challenged

No matter what type of insurance claim you may have filed, chances are you are hoping to have it settled quickly, and fairly, without any worrying about a denial. And while many cases are open and shut, black and white, and present no trouble at all, all too often, trying to get your settlement paid can be a massive headache. Consumers in the US should not have to live in fear of large corporations like insurance companies when something has gone wrong and their finances are deeply at risk, but sadly, insurers do hold much of the power due to their massive financial resources, with billions of profits pouring into their businesses each year.

For many policyholders, anxiety and panic set in quickly as bills start piling up due to an issue like a car accident due to the negligence of others that may have resulted in serious injuries; or, if you have experienced a huge homeowners claim, you may have nowhere to live during the interim. Insurance companies are aware of their power, however, and they use it to their advantage. And while they do not have your best interest in mind, a skilled bad faith insurance attorney from the Bolender Law Firm will.

You may have been worried from the beginning, after filing a claim and then not getting much response. Most adjusters are very quick to begin calling and asking questions (all of which should be referred to your attorney) so it can be discouraging when a claim is not being followed up on, and there does not seem to be any initial investigation. While delays are concerning, if you have received an outright denial that seems completely unreasonable, you may want to take legal action, but it is critical to understand your options first.

Having all the evidence in hand will be very important to your case, so save all documents and communications with the insurer to pass on to your attorney. Often, the best option is to start by having your insurance lawyer call the insurance company. You may be amazed at how quickly matters are resolved; however, if that does not work, letters may need to be written, reviews may need to be requested—and all the while you may be dealing with repair bills, medical bills, and you could even be healing from an accident while waiting. Do not attempt to go it alone against the insurer, especially if the only recourse is serious legal action requiring you to take the insurer to court for bad faith processes and an unfair denial.

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!

When Another Party Blatantly Steals Your Copyright

A copyright can be extremely important to your business if you are producing valuable intellectual property—and while that may be a matter of perspective to some regarding ‘artistic works’ (the definition of what can be copyrighted), such ‘property’ often grows in value exponentially over time. In most cases, though regarding a business venture, artistic expressions that must be registered for serious legal protection may have been long-term projects resulting in intellectual property that your company values deeply, and could include work like software, architectural works, and more. These items can be thought of almost like business inventory and must be guarded just like everything else.

Are you trying to decide whether you want a copyright? If so, ask yourself how you would respond if you found out that someone else had taken your work or replicated it for their own gain. Having a formal copyright establishes with the rest of the world that you own a work; however, many copyright owners are not aware that as soon as they bring the work into existence, they do own it; the question is then how to keep it safe. Registration means taking your current level of ownership one step further by making it formal with the U.S. Copyright Office. If the copyright lapses or expires, it then enters the public domain. Most copyrights are good as outlined by the U.S. Copyright Office:

“As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors.”

But what about when another party just takes off with your work blatantly? That is theft, and it must be dealt with by a skilled legal professional. If you have worries regarding infringement, contact the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible. Infringement cases can be complex, as not only must you provide evidence of the intellectual property infringement but also defend your copyright against fair use issues and more. You may also want to consider whether the offending party has the resources to pay damages should you engage in a lawsuit over your copyright.

Do you need legal assistance with an intellectual property matter? 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!

 

Before Buying that Insurance Policy: Know What to Ask Your Agent

Although you may be excited about making a large purchase such as a car or a home, the dream and the concept of doing so could be much more exciting than the actual process as there are many details to take care of, whether you are buying a piece of property, opening a business, or taking on a new profession. Most of these endeavors require risk protection, in the form of insurance. As a consumer, you may require multiple lines of insurance, but no matter what, you will need to work with an experienced, ethical insurance agent.

While you may have found a suitable agent online or even nailed down all the details without leaving your desk and computer or phone, it is also common to meet an insurance agent through networking with friends and family. Many insurance agents work for the same companies throughout long and profitable careers and have knowledge of the insurance industry and products that can be extremely valuable to you. If you are getting ready to buy one or more insurance policies, know what to ask your prospective agent:

  • Ask what types of coverage they think you need. While you may be aware that you need insurance for your car, home, or business, there are many different facets of insurance, and items that need to be covered. Your insurance agent may shed light on many details you are not aware of.
  • Ask if the agent can help you find the best rates. If a prospective insurance agent does not work for a competitive company, you may find yourself throwing money into an unnecessarily unexpected policy.
  • Understand what the ramifications are of carrying minimum limits. While you may want the cheapest policy, that could get you into trouble later if you must file a claim.
  • Inquire about the claims process. What type of reputation does the company have? Would there ever be a reason to worry about bad faith? Try to avoid problems from the beginning.
  • Are there exclusions or added types of coverage that you should purchase? For instance, will you be covered if there is a bad storm or an earthquake?
  • What happens if you are sued by another party? Your insurance policy should cover you in terms of liability, but it is critical to understand how far those limits will extend.

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!

Insurers: The Differences Between Good & Bad Faith

When you buy an insurance policy, it is more than implied that the insurers will act in good faith if you must file a claim – it is expected! Consumers today spend a substantial amount of their income on protecting their property and livelihoods, often purchasing multiple lines of insurance. You may have a simple portfolio and only require car insurance for one or two cars, or you could be a business owner ensuring a fleet of vehicles, several different facilities for your business, along with multiple different types of liability insurance. No matter how you slice it, for most of us, insurance is not cheap, and we would all rather be putting that money somewhere else.

If an unexpected event such as a car accident or damage to your home, perhaps after a fire or a storm, has occurred, your first thought is probably to be glad you have insurance, and begin wondering what will be involved in filing a claim. Once you have done so, you probably expect to hear from the insurance company quickly, and for your claim to be processed efficiently, with a settlement received so that you can recoup your loss.

An insurance company acting in good faith will contact you quickly, and open an investigation so they can determine what type of settlement is in order. If red flags erupt, you may begin to worry about bad faith, especially if they are slow to handle the claim, delay without obvious reasons, deny you, or try to intimidate you into taking a lowball offer. Duplicitous insurance companies have countless ways to try and discredit a claim (or even you), making accusations about fraud or tearing down witnesses who could have been on the scene when damage or an accident occurred.

A bad faith insurer may delay your case by asking for excessive amounts of documentation – even to include tax returns. They may even go so far as to request interviews that are tape-recorded or ask you to participate in an examination under oath, which can be an extremely stressful process. As soon as you suspect bad faith, consult with a skilled insurance attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm.

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!

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!