Category: Bad faith insurance lawyers

Fighting insurance companies

Fighting Insurance Companies When They Want to Underpay—Or Not Pay at All

If you have filed a claim against and are having trouble getting paid, it may feel like a real struggle, as is common in fighting insurance companies. Not only that, you may already be dealing with enough stress, depending on why the claim was filed. You may have endured a car crash or motorcycle accident and need to recuperate or learn to adjust to an injury that has left you permanently debilitated. There may have been damage to your business causing you to lose significant income or perhaps there was catastrophic damage to your home. These challenges may leave you drained in many ways—and having to worry about whether the insurer is going to pay a valid insurance claim (and when) can cause enormous strain.

Refer All Adjuster Questions to Your Attorney

The claims process can be simple in many cases, while others require more complex investigations due to the nature of the incident. Adjusters are brought in to compile and evaluate information regarding what happened, whether it was a personal injury, property damage, or more. While they may hope to interview you (as well as any witnesses who were on the scene and proffered up contact information), it is in your interest to work with a skilled attorney who can handle the insurance company. And it is best to do so from the onset.

While the adjuster’s questions may seem harmless enough at first, keep in mind that their agenda is to see that the insurance company pays out as little as possible. They may begin delving much deeper, asking when you received medical care (examining how long it took you to seek help), requesting release of medical records, all related reports, and they may even want to tape your conversation(s). Hopefully all these requests, and all communication, are referred to your attorney who can decide what it is appropriate to share.

The Adjuster Assesses & Comes Up with Settlement Amount

Afterward, the adjuster should arrive at a figure for a settlement. If you are working without an attorney, you may find that they offer you a very low settlement; and while there may be greater respect from the insurer toward your case if you have legal representation, the adjuster may still offer a very low amount. There are various reasons behind this: that may be all you are owed realistically, they may not have gathered all the proper evidence, or sadly and more likely, it may just be that they are attempting to get out of paying the settlement you are owed. Insurance companies make billions of dollars in profits each year, and unfortunately, they are not your friend.

Contact Us for Help!

Even worse, the insurer may delay your claim or deny it altogether. 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 company investigations

Insurance Company Investigations: How They Are Performed

If you have been injured or forced to file a claim with your insurance company for any number of reasons, most likely you want to see action as soon as possible, in the form of insurance company investigations. This could be the case for many different types of claims, but incidents where someone has been injured—and perhaps seriously—tend to be the most sensitive. Finances may be extremely tight too if you have been harmed due to the negligence of others and suddenly cannot work or must stay home to care for a family member who is suffering.

Car accidents are a typical example. If you were hit by another motorist who may have been reckless for any number of reasons ranging from distracted driving to drunk driving, drowsy driving, speeding, or more, it could be that the insurance adjuster for the other party is on top of things at an alarmingly fast speed. They may be calling immediately, asking for police reports, medical documents, and squeezing you for information regarding any injuries. Although they are doing their job and can be quite good at seeming like they care about your well-being, most adjusters are skilled at what they do. This often includes receiving extra compensation for settling for as little as possible and clearing out cases as quickly as possible.

Investigation begins with the obvious, in finding out details about the case. And while the adjustor may want to get much of the information from you, this is where you will need to refer them to your auto accident attorney (or, if the insurance agency is denying your claim in bad faith, consult with a skilled insurance lawyer from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm). Along with information from law enforcement who were on the scene and any medical professionals who treated you, the adjuster will probably want to talk to witnesses if contact information is available for any of them too. They may request photos from the accident as well as asking to look at your car and take more pictures for their files. The adjuster will often visit the scene of the accident for further documentation.

Once they have finished their investigation, the adjuster will arrive at a settlement amount. This may be much less than what they should pay you, which is why you need an experienced attorney to represent you. If the insurance company does not seem to be investigating the accident or if they have presented you with a lowball offer, there is the possibility they are acting in bad faith. 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 insurance

Third Party Insurance: Understanding Bodily Injury Coverage

You may consider yourself an excellent driver and find yourself worrying little as you travel on busy roads each day. Some of us have a short commute, while others are in the car all day for work or perhaps shuttling kids around from school to activities to appointments. If you live in a larger city, there is a lot of ground to cover for all of life’s responsibilities and the car may seem like your home at times; in fact, studies show that not only do US drivers as a whole spend over 84 billion hours behind the wheel each year, they spend 17 hours annually just looking for parking spaces!

And while the government overall—along with city administrators around the country—continually work to improve infrastructure and make the roads safer, traffic accidents and fatalities continue to rise overall, to include greater threat to bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists too. Negligence may occur due to distracted driving, motorists who are under the influence, drowsy, or those who are reckless in myriad other ways. Car insurance is not just a plus, it could save you from ruin—in terms of your physical and financial health.

For many car owners, insurance is purchased in a hurry as they are buying a new car or moving to a new state. It is easy to go with the required limits and get back to other tasks in your day, but always be aware how your decision on car insurance purchases could affect you later if there were a serious accident. Understanding how you and other parties are protected is key, along with deciding how much bodily injury coverage to purchase.

California is a ‘fault’ state in terms of car accidents, meaning that you must assume responsibility if you have an accident. Liability insurance is required as follows: $15,000 to be paid to one person if they are injured or die, and $30,000 to be paid total if there is injury or death to more than one person. Considering how astronomical healthcare rates can be, if a third party is injured, the bill could be enormous. Speak to your insurance agent about protecting yourself beyond basic limits, as you could be responsible for the medical bill of a third party that far exceeds $15,000.

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!

Commercial truck crashes

Commercial Truck Crashes: The Potential for Damage & Injury is Greater

You probably travel numerous roads each day for any number of mundane tasks. While there is the daily commute, other responsibilities call too such as carrying children to and from to school and activities, the endless grocery shopping, trips to pick up a range of different consumer items, and often visits to doctor’s office and other appointments. On most days, the drive will be just as uneventful as the day before, but chances are you will have at least one car accident in your life time. Busy roads, often with a melee of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, can be deceptively dangerous for everyone traveling—and in fact, car accidents and fatality rates continue to rise at an alarming rate, showing a 13 percent increase just over two years.

Trucks Weigh Exponentially More

Just as pedestrians and bicyclists are more vulnerable due to the potential of a 4,000-pound car striking them, cars (and everyone else) are at significantly more risk when hit by a truck—and mainly commercial trucks which could anywhere from 10,000 pounds to 80,000. In the case of an accident where a large truck hits a car, the collision could be much more complex as a smaller vehicle could be completely crushed, resulting in serious injuries if not death. There may be trailers involved and 18 wheels to contend with as trucks jackknife or contort with the pressure of a crash. Along with that, there is the concern of the truck’s contents at the time of an accident. While there may be many pounds of inventory, serious environmental hazards could arise with a chemical spill or other toxins.

Injuries in an Accident with a Truck Can Be More Serious or Fatal

If you were harmed in an accident due to negligence on the part of a commercial truck driver (or any other motorist), you could have sustained major injuries (brain injuries, spine and neck injuries, broken bones, and more are common) and been out of work temporarily or permanently. An experienced injury attorney should be the one to speak with any insurance adjustors who may call—and especially if they are prying for information or offering you a quick settlement. Keep in mind that their goal is usually to pay out as little for your accident as possible—and to tie up the case with as little time and effort as possible.

Contact Us for Help Now!

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 Insurance Practices

Five Reasons You May Need to Sue for Bad Faith Insurance Practices

You may have several different insurance policies you are responsible for, including auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and a range of different insurance coverages for your business–none of which you probably ever expected to have to deal with bad faith insurance practices on. And although the details of each policy may sometimes seem overly complicated and hard to understand, the idea behind purchasing insurance is simple: you pay your premiums and the insurer agrees to pay out for the agreed upon items if there is a loss. And although some claims may seem to have some understandable gray area or offer ways for the insurer to wiggle out of paying, there are many cases where they are just hoping to settle for as little as possible, and with minimal time and effort expended.

The best-case scenario is for a claim that is cut and dry—and one that leaves you with as little trauma as possible in the end. Unfortunately, bad faith insurance practices are not uncommon today. Here are five reasons you may need to consult with a skilled bad faith attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm though if you are not able to reach a suitable agreement:

  1. Lack of investigation – this can be incredibly frustrating for you as a policyholder if you are left waiting endlessly for resolution to your case, only to find out that the insurer has not even performed an investigation or that the claim has been denied with virtually no research or attention paid to the details.
  2. Delay tactics – again, being made to wait indefinitely with no results can make for a tortuous experience as the insurer tries to ‘wait you out,’ hoping you will have weakened resolve when it comes to accepting a settlement, or that you will forget about the process altogether.
  3. Lowball offers – if you have been injured and unable to go back to work or are in financial straits, insurers may hope to take advantage of your situation with a quick and lowball offer. Their goal is to make big profits each year and paying out as little as possible is almost always their mission.
  4. Denied claims – when an insurer outright denies a claim that may be completely valid, it may be an example of bad faith practices. Such behavior means that you must work with your attorney to uncover the problem and prove that your case is indeed valid and that you should be compensated.
  5. Intimidating or threatening behavior – it is no secret that while adjusters usually start out in a very friendly manner, they could become quite intimidating while collecting details about the case. You need a skilled attorney to field all questions and give out information; not only that, insurance companies usually have much better behavior when they realize they are dealing with legal professionals.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

claim denied

Claim Denied Due to the Assault & Battery Exclusion

The purpose of insurance is very clear, and it is a financial one. In exchange for paying premiums that could be considered nominal in the long run should there be a major claim, you have the security of knowing that you are ‘covered.’ You may sleep better at night too like so many other policyholders do, dealing with all the stresses of home and business, but knowing that if there were an accident, a fire, a negligence claim, or even a major catastrophe, that the insurance company has agreed to take care of you.

The insurance policy can be complicated though, and one or more of yours may be so full of legalese that you feel like you are mired in trying to understand a different language upon reading it. Not only are there the usual basics such as your personal information and general coverage details, but insurance policies are often also full of a wide range of differing explanations of limits, conditions, riders, and endorsements which add extra protection. And although the individual who sold you the insurance policy may be experienced and knowledgeable, the rules of the insurance industry change so often that it is possible they may not even understand the policy fully.

Exclusions are common in insurance policies, spanning nearly every type; for instance, your homeowner’s policy may exclude damage from earthquakes or construction defects, while your automobile policy excludes other limitations regarding traffic accidents. Business and professional liability insurance may be even more complicated though, and there may be exclusions you never think you would have to worry about such as those pertaining to issues like assault and battery.

Assault and battery exclusions may arise in general liability, but usually such a policy is expected to pay claims for any type of bodily injury or property damage. Some insurance policies may clearly state, however, that they will not cover the insured if an assault and battery claim is filed asking for damages due to injuries. While it may seem understandable that the insurance company would want to exclude themselves from paying legal fees and damages for what could clearly be a criminal act, in many other cases the claim could be complicated and the terms ‘assault and battery’ could be used only technically, or as a complete stretch.

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!

comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive Insurance and Collision: Know the Details

Car insurance (comprehensive insurance, for example) is usually a necessity, and one of the typical financial responsibilities most of us take on as soon as we purchase our first car. Not only can it be expensive in some cases, it can also be hard to understand as you wade through trying to figure out which details you need in a sea of different coverages, deductibles, limits, and so much more. While not every state asks you to carry insurance by law, California does require you to have the following:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage

And while both collision and comprehensive insurance are optional, most of us have at least one or both; in fact, if you have financed a car they may require that you carry ‘comp and collision’ until the balance of the vehicle loan has been paid off.

No matter what types of insurance you are purchasing, it may be tempting to get the bare minimum with the lowest premiums—and as we all know, even that can be high! Collision insurance is not hard to understand, just based on the term itself. If you collide with someone or something—in an accident—your collision coverage (assuming your policy is in force and there are no other extenuating circumstances) will kick in whether you hit another car, an inanimate object, or even a pothole. Deductibles vary. You may not have one at all, but of course that raises the rate of your premium. If you have a $500 deductible in the case of a collision, you would have to pay that before the insurance kicked in to have your car fixed.

Comprehensive insurance covers collisions with different types of obstacles such as animals or falling objects. Along with that, you also have coverage for theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and more. There are limits as to how much it will cover, and again, you may or may not have a deductible—depending on how much you want to pay for a premium.

If you aren’t sure about what types of coverage are best for you, have an in-depth discussion with your insurance agent and consider how much your car is worth, how much time you really spend on the road, and what your budget can realistically afford, whether you pay your insurance by the year, quarter, or month.

Are you concerned about a recent accident, or are you trying to understand your insurance policy? 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!

claims made policies

Claims Made Policies and Occurrence Policies: The Differences

If you own an insurance policy (or two or three…), chances are it is either an occurrence or claims made policy. And as a business owner or a professional, when you begin working with an insurance agent to explore different policies, it is extremely important to know the differences and understand which will work best for you in terms of liability protection so that your livelihood is protected.

Protect Yourself as a Business Owner or Professional

Being in business for yourself offers so many rewards. You have the freedom to follow your dreams, control to develop your own products and services and innovations, create the schedule you want for yourself (and your team too), and perhaps even make a significant impact within your own industry. Along with that, you may have daily contact with the public and a growing client base. While that can be incredibly rewarding—and especially if you feel like you are making a difference in their lives—there may also be instances where you need protection; for example, if someone is injured on your property and you do not have the proper liability insurance in place, you could be completely drained financially trying to pay for the damages yourself.

Occurrence Policies

With an occurrence policy in place, coverage is provided as long as the incident happened while your policy was in force—and even if it is reported later (yet still establishing a date within the policy coverage period), you should still be covered. That applies even if once the incident that occurred during the policy period has later been canceled when the claim is made. To be clear, let’s say you had a policy in force from 2015-2016. Obviously, it has since been canceled, but a claim was just brought forth regarding a liability issue from 2016. The occurrence policy should cover it—and most general liability is written this way.

The Claims-Made Policy

The claims-made policy introduces some other nuances, however. You must have been continually insured when a claim was brought forth, and although the incident may have occurred outside of the coverage period, it is covered if the claim is brought forth while your policy is in effect. It is also possible to buy further insurance referred to as a ‘tail.’ This offers extended coverage is a claim is reported after the claims-made policy has been terminated. While this type of coverage is helpful for many professionals, and often for doctors, it is not available to everyone. Dealing with claims could be complex later too.

Contact Us for Help Now

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 topics

Insurance Topics: Defining Bad Faith

When you purchase an insurance policy, there may be many complexities within the policy and the outlined details of coverage, but one thing is simple: you are paying established premiums to the insurance company in exchange for financial protection if something goes wrong; for example, if you have an automobile accident, you expect the insurance company (or the insurer of the other negligent party in many cases) to pay for damage and injuries. If you are sued by a client, you expect your professional liability insurance to protect you and your business. Other products like life insurance can act as protection for your family, offering an inheritance or income to them after you are gone.

Coverage is outlined in your policy, specifying who the insured and the insurer are, what is covered, how much insurance there actually is, and how much it costs—along with any deductibles. Although many are just generic templates, policies and wording regarding coverage can often be difficult to understand. Keep in mind that your insurance agent may be a great salesperson, but even they may not even understand everything about the policy, and especially if it has riders attached to it, or a variety of other addendums. Skilled, experienced attorneys from the Bolender Law Firm can help you understand your policy better, and especially if you suspect there may be a possible bad faith claim.

Making sense of an insurance policy can be difficult—and so can paying the premiums. In some cases, they may be very high, and as a consumer, you may struggle to pay for several different types of insurance products in your personal life—as well as for your business. Because of that, you may be extremely frustrated when the insurance company is not following through on their promise to see that your car, home, or business are financially secure in the case of an accident or negligence claim. A bad faith claim is brought forth when the insurance company is not following through on their promises, resulting in a bad act toward the policyholder.

Examples of your insurer acting in bad faith could be: not investigating your claim sufficiently—or at all—or only extending an extremely low offer. They may be dragging their feet on paying the claim also, only paying part of it, or denying it altogether. Contact us as soon as possible if you need an experienced bad faith litigation attorney, concerning the following types of insurance:

  • Commercial property and liability insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Automobile insurance
  • Directors & Officers insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Accidental death insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Specialized insurance products

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!

life insurance claim

Five Reasons Your Life Insurance Claim May Be Denied

Unless you work within the insurance industry, you probably find purchasing insurance to be somewhat of an odious task–not to mention figuring out a life insurance claim. Most of us are forced to own more than one type of policy, whether it is required by law or for our own peace of mind in knowing that if something happens, we are covered. Life insurance is a bit different though. In most cases, you do not have to own any if you don’t want to, and even if you lack direct descendants, leaving behind life insurance helps with funeral and burial costs, any outlying debts, and more.

No one enjoys thinking about their own mortality, and life insurance certainly brings the topic to the forefront. It may be an important part of your estate after death though, not only covering your final expenses but also leaving behind an inheritance for those who succeed you in death and may also rely on you for income. Unfortunately, collecting on life insurance may be a hassle for your beneficiaries later. Your surviving spouse or children may have been relying on it to survive after you are gone, but in some cases, it could be denied because of reasons like the following:

  1. Coverage was not what you expected or was not put in place as you expected—and this is another good reason why you should review all your insurance policies at least once a year.
  2. Information on your original application was not completely truthful—often this is just due to the applicant guessing about something or perhaps being forgetful, but if the insurance company can find a reason to deny your claim, they will. The application most likely will be scoured for any inaccuracies, so be certain to take your time and be sure about what you are telling the insurance company; for example, a pre-existing issue that was not disclosed could cause denial of a claim.
  3. Premiums were not paid. Keeping up with insurance payments can be challenging, but your policy could lapse even if you miss one premium.
  4. Suicide—historically, this is usually a reason for life insurance claims to be denied; these days, the rule is normally that a claim regarding suicide would be denied if the policy was less than two years old.
  5. Lack of beneficiaries listed on the life insurance policy—obviously this is critical to dispensing life insurance funds and reinforces the reason to review your policy every year.

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!