Category: Bad faith insurance lawyers

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!

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!

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!

bad faith claims

Bad Faith Claim: Delays and Denials

Insurance is meant to be your saving grace in the case of a disaster, and most of us would never expect to be on the end of a bad faith claim. This could be an event that is damaging or even catastrophic to your health, your home, your car, your business, or your professional reputation. Protection against such risk is supposed to offer you peace of mind, but there are often numerous complexities behind the purchasing of insurance to include choosing the best agent or agency to deal with, understanding what your needs are, and finding a policy that suits your budget. Afterward, you are ‘protected,’ but still may be struggling to pay exorbitant premiums. This is a problem for many citizens in the US today, and while there is a lot of attention paid to the high sums charged for health care insurance premiums, many other types of policies are difficult for policyholders to afford too, whether you are trying to insurance your residence or a commercial building or a vehicle for yourself or one of your children.

Considering the amount of time and effort you put in to finding the best insurance—and then paying for it—finding out that the insurance company is not holding up their end of the bargain can be extremely disappointing. Along with that, you may be under incredible stress if your home or business has been damaged and you are unable to move forward with daily life as you know it until the claim has been paid. It is important to understand the difference between valid claims issues, however, and those that are caused by bad faith on the part of the insurer. There are many different types of claims denials that are valid, such as lack of payment of premium, a breach of the policy, or lack of coverage.

There are numerous red flags to look for if your insurer is acting in bad faith, to include:

  • Delays that may be ongoing with little or no explanation
  • Outright denial of the claim
  • Requests for enormous amount of information/documentation that may be hard to get
  • Changes to your policy you were unaware of
  • Lack of investigation/lack of communication

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!

damages

Understanding Legal Damages: The Different Types

A legal dispute can erupt for a multitude of reasons in a commercial atmosphere, along with the need for understanding legal damages, whether you might own a construction company, restaurant, retail store, or offer a variety of different services to customers in your area. Even the smallest business may be dealing with a variety of different players in each day, to include:

  • Business partners
  • Employees and independent contractors
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Landlords
  • Banks or other financial institutions

While some of these issues may be easily solved in a less formal venue than the courtroom, such as arbitration or mediation, speak to your business litigation attorney about what types of damages you are due, and which route is best for you. While litigation may be the best route for resolution, despite taking longer and being less affordable overall, arbitration or mediation can be very successful. Arbitration is somewhat like the courtroom setting, but decisions are usually reached by the arbitrator much more quickly and while testimony and evidence are allowed, it is much more limited. In mediation, a settlement agreement is reached in a much more casual environment; in fact, some mediators may even agree to meet on weeknights or weekends to cater to busy parties. The mediator acts neutrally, helping the motivated parties to look at different ways of understanding the conflict and resolving it.

No matter how you settle or how justice is served, you should be compensated for what you are owed after negligence or misdeeds on the part of another individual or entity. There may also be concerns about preserving long-terms relationships whether that is for personal reasons or protection of the future bottom line.

Damages from the defendant may be compensatory, paying you back directly for a financial loss—or they may be incidental, due to an indirect loss for you in terms of money. There may also be cases where a breach occurred in a business relationship and damages were considered liquidated but had already been considered and outlined in a contract. Punitive damages are awarded when the other party has done something so offensive or negligent that they are being fined with what could be severe financial punishment—with the outcome also serving to warn others about the consequences of their actions.

insurance claim payments

Delays in Insurance Claim Payments: Know What is Unreasonable

Insurance is meant for those unpredictable situations, whether you’ve had a tree fall on your home after a bad storm, a serious car accident or motorcycle crash resulting in injuries, a client slipping and falling on your business premises, or more–all to be covered by insurance claim payments. These types of issues can be catastrophic alone, but without insurance coverage, they could also be cause financial ruin.

Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean you couldn’t run into serious trouble though, unfortunately. It is vital to understand your insurance policy and make sure that payments are up to date. Having a misunderstanding later or finding that your claim has been denied to a previous cancellation could be difficult to swallow—but what is even worse is an insurer that is not paying out due to bad faith practices. It doesn’t take long to get it if you are being jerked around by the insurance company. No matter what type of claim you have filed, if there is not a pending investigation, red flags should start springing up in your mind.

If you were in an accident where there were injuries, for example, you should expect an adjuster to be jumping on that case quickly; in fact, sometimes it may seem you have barely pulled back into the driveway from the emergency room before they are calling! Silence may indicate an issue that should be dealt with immediately by your injury attorney, who may need to refer you to a skilled bad faith insurance firm like the Bolender Law Firm. Another common red flag is an excessive need for documentation. While there are typical forms of paperwork and records commonly requested, if you find the insurer asking for documents that seem irrelevant, they may be trying to put the pressure on you to back down and take a low-ball settlement, or nothing at all.

The insurer should also, in good faith, examine all evidence you have submitted, as well as taking time to interview any witnesses who may have been on the scene. On the flip side, if they are intimidating witnesses to discourage them from participating in giving information, this is another example of bad faith that must be addressed. Policyholders should not be forced to jump through unnecessary hoops either, with delays caused by unreasonable suspicion or allegations of fraud.

If you suspect an insurer is acting in bad faith against you, review your insurance policy to make sure you understand your coverages first. This may require legal expertise, along with skilled representation in the courtroom should you need to take legal action against the insurer. If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, the Bolender Law Firm will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Automobile Insurance Policy: Five Things You Should Know

While driving is one of those typical, daily activities that many of us almost perform on autopilot (along with owning an automobile insurance policy), there can be a lot of details involved behind the scenes in getting to that point—unless you are a fan of public transportation, or one of the individuals in the growing population of those dependent on private transportation services becoming so popular today. Once driving privileges have been established, however—and some millennials today are holding off because there are so many other options—there are substantial details to attend to such as finding a suitable vehicle, attaining the capital to buy one or finding financing, and procuring car insurance.

If you are buying a car, but did not have much time to think ahead, you may find yourself in a hurry to get insured before driving off the lot. Or perhaps you have been price-hunting and are thinking about switching insurers. Car insurance may be easy to get, but there are numerous features you should consider before taking on a new policy and submitting payment:

  1. How to shop wisely, being aware that insurers and their rates, customer service, and methods and timeliness for claims payouts can vary widely. Be sure you are going with a reputable company that has a track record of treating their policyholders in good faith rather than issues with delays, lack of comprehensive investigation techniques regarding claims, or denying cases unreasonably. While you may just be in a hurry to get your insurance and carry on with your day, that policy could be the center of your focus in the future if there is an accident or damage to your property.
  2. What is required in terms of liability insurance, and how far beyond that you should go. In California, drivers must have the following: $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, $5,000 for damage to property. Choosing minimum requirements may be easy enough to do, and pay for, but consider the amount of assets you need to protect and have a comprehensive conversation about how much liability you really need in the case of catastrophe or legal vulnerability.
  3. The need for comprehensive and collision insurance. Discuss the worth of your vehicle with the insurer, as well as understanding what a potential lender will require of you.
  4. Medical payment benefits (Med Pay) and personal injury protection (PIP), neither of which are required in California. This coverage is usually recommended whether you have health insurance or not, as medical bills in the case of car accident injuries can be exorbitant.
  5. Uninsured motorist coverage. Again, while this is not required by California, it pays out if you or a passenger are injured in a car accident due to negligence by another party who does not currently have insurance. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage is an option too.

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 practices

Bad Faith Practices: Are Witnesses Being Intimidated?

Insurance can be a simple type of purchase for many years; and while you should be sure to update it at least annually, you may have been paying your premiums faithfully for years without giving it much of a though—except to know that it was in force and there should you need it. Something like a car insurance policy may have been filed away or put into a drawer and forgotten about. You may have absolutely no reason to feel negative about your insurance company, much less harbor any ill will. This could change abruptly in the case of a car accident though, for example, where your insurer did not seem to be following through on their promises as outlined in your original policy—or if they seem to be acting out of line, and surprisingly so.

You May Find It Hard to Believe that the Insurance Company is Being Shady

In a ‘normal world,’ dealing with a claim should be cut and dry. But sometimes disorganization and greed take over, unfortunately, and you may find yourself feeling like the claim and settlement process is a bit like dealing with gangsters lurking in dark alleys as they find one way after another to shut you down with intimidation tactics. Bad faith practices are probably more common than any of us would like to think—after all, who wants to imagine that nice insurance agent we bought our policy from leading us into an eventual nightmare with adjusters?

Witnesses Should Be Respected as An Integral Part of the Case

A homeowner’s property damage issue or car accident and resulting claim should not resemble anything close to dealing with gangsters lurking in dark alleys, but if you are being harassed or if witnesses are being treated in a poor manner, you may be shocked, as well as feeling helpless. This is when you need a skilled bad faith insurance attorney on your side, whether there is the possibility of settling the case or moving forward to the courtroom. Bad faith practices may include adjusters or other representatives for the insurance company trying to intimidate you with making embarrassing allegations, accusing you of fraud unjustly, making you feel like you have no case and any settlement should be enough, causing delays, or just denying you outright.

In Bad Faith, the Insurer May Bully Defendants or Witnesses

Witnesses can be an integral part of any case, and they are commonly called on after an automobile accident. And although it may seem farfetched, the insurer may try to bully them—just as they have bullied you too. They may attack their credibility or character in a variety of different ways or use verbally abusive tactics in the hopes that they will back down, just as they hope you will.

Contact Us for Help

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!

examining bad faith

Examining Bad Faith & Common Tactics

While it’s obvious that the insurance industry revolves around money (and big, big money at that), it also revolves around contracts, promises, that can lead to enormous conflict when broken. And there are many different types of insurance that are vital to our financial survival. While insurance companies may think little of delaying investigations, offering payment on a claim or denying one altogether, their actions can have devastating consequences to you as the policyholder—as well as your family, business, and professional life.

You may be in the dark at first regarding bad faith practices; after all, you probably have little reason to expect any problems, and you may not have ever filed an insurance claim before, much less had to worry about suing an insurer for dubious denial or delay of claims. After a lifetime of no problems with insurance, it may be extremely difficult to swallow the fact that they want to hold out on paying for a homeowner’s claim, or one for car insurance, life insurance, or more.

Your first inkling that there is something strange going on is that well, nothing may be going on. Most insurers are quick to get an adjuster on the job, with them calling to ask about injuries, damages, and more. There may also be delays, occurring without any good reason. Beyond that, an insurer acting in bad faith may begin putting the responsibility on you to provide voluminous amounts of information—much of which may seem difficult to connect to the claim you have filed. In many cases, this is a form of intimidation meant to wear you down in hopes that you will give up and they will not have to pay out a large sum of money.

Other intimidation tactics may include verbal abuse or humiliation on the phone or during interviews, suggestions that you should take the settlement offered or you will get nothing, as well as accusations regarding fraud or other allegations. You may also find yourself being offered a settlement, but it may be unreasonably low. Because insurance companies are in many cases quite wealthy—and powerful within their own realm—they are used to being able to push around consumers who may be in dire straits financially after an accident or a catastrophe. When filing a serious claim, do not try to go it alone against the insurance 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!