Category: Bad faith insurance lawyers

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!

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.