Category: Bad faith insurance lawyers

bad faith

Bad Faith: When the Insurance Company Does Not Fulfill Duties to Policyholders

Most of us would prefer not to have to send any amount of cash to an insurance company—whether it is monthly, quarterly, or annually—but just as dealing with issues like household debt and jobs and a hectic lifestyle are often considered the American way, so is buying insurance, and one can only hope not to run into an issue with bad faith. Without it, you could be left miserable, homeless, and penniless in the event of a catastrophe. The problem is, however, if you have had a serious accident or suffered property damage to your home, you may already be feeling injured and miserable or even homeless and worried about your residence—and worried about finances.

This is where the insurance company is supposed to step in and save the day. Even though you are the one who purchased the policy and have been keeping up with your end of the bargain in paying premiums for countless months, when something does go wrong you are suddenly at the mercy of the insurer. You should not have to wait an excessive amount of time to hear back regarding your claim—especially if you are hurt after an accident—and you should not be held off indefinitely if you have had to move out of your home after a flood or fire. If red flags are waving all over the place, it is time to called a skilled insurance lawyer from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm.

Insurers may be used to throwing their weight around in attempts to avoid paying out claims, and to keep their money mounting in the bank, but they could be in substantial legal trouble over bad faith practices, forced to pay compensatory damages, and fines too. Delays are a common issue in bad faith, but you may also be experiencing other frustrating issues like a complete lack of response and complete lack of investigation of your case. Adjusters may try to intimidate you, and even witnesses, and they may also offer you a low-ball settlement that is so low you can’t believe your ears. They continue to get away with this behavior because often, policyholders are stressed out and intimidated, and may be worried that the one settlement offer they are receiving is the only one they will get. This may be exactly what the adjuster wants you to think too. The key is to reach out for expert legal help so that you receive fair compensation for what you are owed.

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!

Bad Faith: You May Be Due Compensatory & Punitive Damages

The insurance industry is built around protecting risk. You probably don’t want to pay out thousands of dollars each year, writing checks that usually just seem to sail into thin air for lots of nothing, but it is worth it to protect your car(s), that home you just built or the wonderful apartment you are renting that holds all of your furniture and valuables, your business, your health and your life (estate planning), and so much more. And while sometimes it may seem like we buy ‘things,’ just to have to pay more money to make sure we can keep them, it is the way of life in the US currently.

You may be surprised to learn that the average consumer is spending twelve percent of their yearly income on insurance. Costs may rise in your area too, depending on changes in infrastructure, areas where traffic incidents or crime have escalated, or pockets of activity with storms and serious natural disasters. Purchasing insurance can be a serious endeavor, but once you have it, you expect to enjoy peace of mind in knowing that you are protected by your insurer in the case of an accident or other major issue covered y your policy. If that turns out not to be the case later, you may be devastated in dealing with injuries or damages to your home or business. Finding out the insurance company is going to give you a hard time can be extremely frustrating.

Evidence of bad faith on the part of the insurer includes massive delays (and this is where massive frustration usually sets in for you initially) and in some cases, there may be not even be any sign of an investigation at all, which is usually confusing and disturbing. The insurer may ask for massive amounts of documentation, to include items like tax returns even—usually if they are gearing up to cause delays and even to insinuate that your claim is fraudulent. You may receive a low-ball offer from the insurer, with the underlying tone being that if you don’t take it you will probably get nothing. Once these red flags set in, you need serious legal help from the Bolender Law Firm.

While punitive damages may not be possible in many other types of contract lawsuits, that is not usually the case when the insurer is found to be acting in bad faith. Let us review your case and discuss your options with you, considering whether you may be due both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages will cover the expenses you were originally supposed to be paid plus damages and compensation for injury; punitive damages are much more serious and often more challenging to get as they ‘punish’ the other party. In this case, the insurance company would be punished, and in forcing them to pay punitive damages it is hoped that they ‘learn a lesson’ about doing it again, as well as serving as an example to other corporations that might be thinking about acting the same way toward customers.

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!

adjusters

Be Very Careful What You Say to Adjusters in Confidence

If you have had to file a claim, dealing with insurance adjusters is probably just exacerbating all the ills you may feel after being hit by another car, or a truck, or in having to find a way to have major home repairs made as quickly as possible. Those are only a couple of examples, obviously, as there are so many different types of insurance to be purchased—to include business liability insurance, health and life insurance, professional insurance policies, and the list goes on.

After being injured due to the negligence of another party, you may be shocked to hear how fast that phone starts ringing regarding your case. The adjuster for the other side will probably want to get down to brass tacks fast, and this means getting as many facts about the accident out of you as possible. While you may give them some basic information, remember that in no way are these people your friends. They may seem incredibly friendly, charming even, but it is their job to be smooth about many things—from extracting information from you to trying to get you to agree to a low-ball offer as quickly as possible.

You may also be told that anything you tell them is completely confidential. This can get tricky, however, and especially if you are roped into giving them a statement, or if you admit that anything was your fault. Keep in mind too that even if you think you are offering a description of the full scope of your injuries, there may be more than you know about if you have not had X-rays or a complete medical workup yet. The best rule is to consult with an injury attorney and upon working with them, let them do what they do best, which is communicating with the insurance companies. If bad faith is suspected, please contact our office as soon as possible. Do not go it alone!

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!

Why an Insurer May Ask for Tax Returns During an Investigation

No matter what type of insurance you must buy, it is never as easy as it sounds—and filing a claim with an insurer is often the same way, unfortunately, even sometimes spurring on an investigation. Today, insurance companies bring in billions of dollars in profits, and some of that money is in thanks to you, paying premiums. Consumers in the US have much to protect, from their health to their estates, to cars, homes, businesses and professional liability, and more.

The transaction is supposed to be simple enough really, overall. You find an insurance agent you can trust and discuss all the details of what you are trying to insure. They sell you coverage that should offer you comprehensive risk protection according to what you need, money and policies and handshakes are exchanged, and everyone goes on their way. If you pay your premiums, you probably won’t hear from the insurer very much, unless there are changes or additions to your policy—and those are all details which you should be apprised of clearly.

On filing a claim, you may be expecting the same straightforward behavior you received before you were asking anything of the insurer. For many policyholders, this is a rude awakening. Suddenly, with the prospects of a substantial payout looming for your claim, the adjusters may not be as quick to complete an investigation—or worse, there may not be one at all. Delays upon delays may occur, and while for some this may not be a dire situation, but for example, if you have lost your home due to a disaster or if it has become uninhabitable due to a construction defect, there is probably a great sense of urgency to make repairs and get life back to normal. If your insurer begins acting in bad faith, it may seem like the world is turning upside down.

Outright denials, low-ball offers, and sudden differences in translation of how your policy works are all good examples of bad faith, but there may be other subtle ways that the insurer will try to intimidate you. Asking for excessive amounts of documentation, for instance, is not okay. Although the insurer may make it sound like asking for large amounts of paperwork is just routine—thus snowing you under with completing tasks—it is usually a tactic used to ‘encourage’ the policyholder to back down.

They may even require documents like your tax returns. This could be part of intimidating tactics asking for you to run around and find paper to supply them with, but a request for tax returns could also be their way of inspecting your finances to see if you would be motivated to file a fraudulent claim—or their backup for asserting so. Accusing or insinuating fraud is not only another common tactic, but a way to delay making a payout for a long period of time.

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!

emotional distress damages

Bad Faith: Can I Sue for Emotional Distress Damages?

You may have felt some amount of emotional distress just trying scrape the funds together to pay one or more insurance policies over the years! The situation may become very trying, however, when you have filed a claim, and nothing has been resolved. This can be extremely disconcerting considering anytime you were on the verge of being slightly late with a payment or returning a document to the insurance company, they expected an immediate response or consequences (in the form of having your policy canceled) would follow.

If you have reported a homeowner’s claim, for example, time may be of the essence in getting it paid so you can then make repairs to your home. Some cases may be extreme, too, due to a natural disaster like an earthquake or a landslide. Your home may uninhabitable, or very uncomfortable to live in, at best. Chances are, you will know something is wrong quickly as the adjuster simply does not come around to do an investigation at all, or they are right on time—but you are promptly denied without a reasonable excuse. Other red flags regarding bad faith practices on the part of your insurer may include long delays. They may put you off repeatedly, and without any reason. They may ask for voluminous amounts of documentation and begin making you feel as if you are under investigation for fraud due to specific questions and delays.

Often, bad faith practices occur simply because the insurer does not want to relinquish the funds for big claim—they are much better off with that cash in the bank earning interest, and they may not want to take the hit on their financial report for that quarter or year. Their customer service department may be disorganized, or your adjuster may be trying to earn an extra bonus for keeping claims to a minimum. If you are a victim of bad faith, however, this is not the time to go it alone. Contact a skilled insurance attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm and along with taking the insurer to court for bad faith, they may also sue for punitive damages to include emotional distress, time you were forced to leave work without pay, 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!

low ball settlement

Do Not Be Pressured into a Low Ball Settlement

The game of insurance can be a difficult one, and unfortunately, that may be exactly what you feel like you are caught up in if you are having trouble getting a claim paid and being asked to take a low ball settlement. This is frustrating for so many consumers who have paid their claims on time, kept up their end of the agreement in terms of their policies, only to be given a hard time when they needed the insurance company to follow through on their promises.

You may start to wonder if you are in the wrong yourself when accused of fraud or other concerns that cause a claims payment to be delayed; in fact, some policyholders could even find themselves on the other end of an investigation when they have done nothing wrong; for example, if you have had a fire in your home and need to file a homeowner’s claim, you may be horrified to find yourself on the other end of an arson investigation.

Such measures allow insurance companies to hold out on paying off big claims though. While there are often valid reasons for questions to arise or for a claim to be delayed, if the insurer is acting in bad faith there are red flags to watch for—whether you are dealing with your own insurer or that of another party. You may find yourself being asked to fill out repetitive paperwork or come up with voluminous amounts of documentation. Other forms of intimidation may be more aggressive such as unnerving witnesses or using tactics to persuade you to take whatever settlement they offer. Producing a low-ball offer and then making it sound like it is the only one you are going to get, in a now-or-never stance, is one of the most common tactics seen by bad faith insurers, and you should not be dealing with such behavior alone! With good legal advice and a skilled attorney behind you, there is a much better chance of getting the settlement amount you deserve.

Other more glaring bad faith tactics are changing the details of your policy without you knowing (apparently) or translating them different all the sudden, delaying payment without any valid reason, and of course—denying your claim outright.

Speak with an attorney from the Bolender Law Firm to review your options. We 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!

bad faith

Bad Faith Insurance Claims: Defining ‘Timely Compensation’

If you have filed a claim recently, you probably expected attention to the issue—and quickly; after all, isn’t this what you have experienced in the past before when you were in a car accident and adjusters wanted to get the matter settled—or if you were at fault? No matter what has happened, insurers are expected to respond to the matter expediently. If you are the receiving end of bad faith practices on the part of an insurance company, you may be shocked at such behavior. Unfortunately, however, it is all too common today that policyholders receive unfair treatment at the hands of companies bringing in billions of dollars while you wait

After fulfilling all the requirements asked of you upon purchasing a policy and working with an insurance agent, you are probably extremely frustrated to find that what you are receiving in reward for paying all your premiums is, the possibility of nothing. If you are in that position, however, seek legal help from a skilled bad faith insurance lawyer from the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible to get the protection and financial compensation you are owed. Fighting a big insurance company is not something you want to do on your own, and especially if you are just hearing crickets after filing a claim for what could have been a devastating accident or issue at your business.

In California, if you have filed an insurance claim, the company you are with should have contacted you within 15 days, with an outcome communicated to you within 40 days; of course, this is based on the insurer receiving proof of the claim too. If they do communicate to you that they are accepting the claim, you should receive the payment within 15 days.

Otherwise, be aware of the red flags to watch out for regarding bad faith, such as lack of action from the insurance company, but many requests for you to produce documentation. This is a common intimidation tactic, as they hope that they will ask for more information than you have can find or have time to produce. The insurer may also try to intimidate witnesses who are willing to speak up in your defense, as well as trying to convince you that whatever low figure they are offering as a settlement is the only one you will probably get—and you should take it quickly.

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!

homeowners

Suspicions of Arson Can Make Homeowners Claims Tricky

Over our lifetimes, most of us will own more than one insurance policy, and we may have multiple lines of coverage in force over the long term—whether for our cars, businesses, health and life needs, homeowners, or more. And while purchasing coverage may be simple for some lines of insurance, along with filing claims that are cleared up quickly, other policies may present complications that are not atypical but can leave policyholders feeling frustrated, unsettled, and even unfairly targeted.

If you have been in an accident or experienced damage to property, even if you were not seriously injured you may have been left feeling extremely shaken. And while insurance adjusters may seem friendly enough at first, do not be misled by an affable demeanor as they work to extract information that could be used against you later; in fact, you may want to consult with an attorney as soon as possible, and especially if the claim you are dealing with was caused by negligence on the part of someone else.

Dealing with a fire in your home is usually a very stressful situation, whether moderate or catastrophic. This could have been caused due to a variety of different reasons, to include a construction defect such as a faulty electrical or mechanical system, issues with lighting, the kitchen, furnace, or more. Arson may be the last thing from your mind—but first on the insurer’s. Accusing someone or even just insinuating they may have been responsible for a fire is a grave matter as it is considered a serious and malicious criminal act; unfortunately, if there was no solid explanation found by the fire department, delaying due to an arson investigation could make it much easier for the insurer to avoid paying out a substantial claim—or at least to hold out as long as possible.

Attempting to deny your claim when there are no grounds to prove arson could be a sign of bad faith. If you have any type of claim that is being delayed for unreasonable or undisclosed reasons, or if you or witnesses are being intimidated, or if there is an outright denial without validity, this is not your fault but more likely an angle being used by the insurer to keep their money in the bank earning interest as long as possible or to try and get out of paying the claim completely.

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!

bad faith

Bad Faith: When All You Hear Are Crickets Regarding That Claim

For the policyholder, insurance, and the option of being able to file a claim, is central to one goal: protection. While mainly this is regarding protection of your finances, insurance can also help guard your health, your home, your business, and your property such as vehicles and valuable possessions. Most of us don’t find shopping for insurance enjoyable or entertaining, and while research should be thorough regarding what you need, that’s some dry reading too! Because of this, we rely on insurance agents to guide us through the process of quotes, applications, approvals, payments, and maintenance of policies.

The insurance agency expects you to comply with everything agreed upon in your policy, which mainly refers to paying on time. There is not much flexibility when it comes to payments, and cancellations may occur before you even realize you forgot to pay. If, however, you have performed all your required duties as a policyholder, you may be confused and very worried about why your insurer is not responding to a claim. In some instances, this may be due to an issue that requires more time for examination due to complexities in the case, but if red flags are popping up and alerting you to a potential problem, consult with experienced attorneys from the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible.

Signs that you may be at the mercy of an insurer guilty of bad faith include:

  • Complete lack of investigation – this is where hearing only ‘crickets,’ may occur in terms of bad faith, as in most cases, you will begin to hear from adjusters right away
  • Long delays – if long periods of time are passing during communications with the insurer, you may have concern to worry, and especially if excuses seem unreasonable.
  • Intimidation tactics – this could take many different forms, from intimidating witnesses in a case to intimidating you through asking for excessive documentation that insurers know it could be hard for you to get, along with trying to strong-arm you into taking settlements by making you think that is all that will be offered at any point.
  • Lowball offers – this is one of the most common forms of bad faith, and many policyholders fall prey to taking lowball offers simply because they are worried it may be their only chance to receive compensation.
  • Denials – unfounded denials are common in bad faith cases, and you should not attempt to fight the insurer without skilled legal assistance.

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!

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!