Category: Insurance lawyers

insurance company

Five Reasons You May Need to Sue Your Insurance Company for Bad Faith

Due to the intangibility and general nature of insurance, you may not discover how unhappy you are with a ‘product line’ or insurance company until long after your grace period has expired (and in that case, you will probably still not get all your money back). In most cases, this is not like a retail item that you discover is a poor fit and decide to return for a refund at a customer service counter with few questions asked. Most of us purchase insurance because it is either required by the state we live in or it is highly recommended, meaning that if you don’t have it you could find yourself in a state of utter ruin.

The process of buying and owning insurance may be completely pleasant, and this could continue for years while you enjoy the basic give and take of paying premiums and dealing with customer service representatives; however, this positive perception of the insurer may come to a screeching halt once you file a claim, and this could be due to adjusters giving you a hard time, or even worse, paying you no attention at all. The term ‘bad faith’ may not be something you were even familiar with until being forced to recognize it via the reluctance of an insurer to pay a claim.

Here are five signs that you may need to sue due to bad faith:

  1. No action at all on the claim – while delays and denials can be disturbing, a complete lack of investigation can be most unsettling of all, especially in comparison to how quickly adjusters set to work when they are motivated to settle a case.
  2. Delays, delays, delays – the insurer may give you a variety of different excuses for delays, some of which seem unreasonable, and perhaps even insinuating that they are investigating you for fraud. This is one of the biggest red flags in bad faith insurance claim issues.
  3. Low-ball offers – this is extremely common as so many policyholders try to deal with the insurer on their own, without the help of an experienced attorney, and find themselves worrying if they don’t take the first offer extended, they may not receive anything at all.
  4. Excessive requests for documentation – this can actually be a form of intimidation by the insurer as they ask you to run around collecting so much paperwork (much of it which may be difficult and time-consuming to put your hands on) that you just give up on the case completely, without receiving any settlement, or by accepting a very low one.
  5. Unreasonable denials – at this point, you need legal help to defend your claim! The insurance company may choose any host of reasons to deny your claim, including misrepresenting the wording in your policy, asserting that there were changes which make the claim valid, 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!

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!

Rescission or Reformation: What is Best for Your Business Contract Now

Although you may have heard the saying more than once that ‘contracts are just made to be broken,’ in most cases that is not easy to do, and such action may result in unpleasant repercussions such as lawsuits and resulting monetary damages. As the owner of a business, you have probably signed your share of contracts, but it when it comes to creating them, it is vital to enlist the help of a skilled business attorney from an office like the Bolender Law Firm.

A legal professional will guide you in the basics of what you need in a contract. If you are hiring new employees, it is vital to have an airtight contract that not only outlines the details of their position, pay, hours, and benefits, but also includes any necessary confidentiality, non-disclosure, and non-compete clauses. If you are creating a contract for one or more partners that you will be sharing your business with, the basic points should cover who does what, business titles, who gets what in terms of shares and profits (and when), and how to handle any potential dissolution of the partnership and their shares in the business. Many other contracts may be needed too over the years, from agreements with vendors to real estate contracts or those regarding other property and inventory.

And while many of your contracts may be solid from beginning to end, and working relationships may span decades, agreements may need changes—some of which are required by the court. Contract reformation means that some parts of your contract may need to be changed due to confusion over the way it was initially worded. There may have been actual errors in the contract, or it may become obvious that one or more parties misunderstood and were uncomfortable with upholding their end of the current agreement.

If the contract is problematic overall, contract rescission may be necessary, terminating the contract completely—although there is always the possibility of creating a completely new one later. This may happen in the case of a contract that was not drawn up properly or was contributed to or signed by parties under duress. Once rescission occurs, all parties are freed from the terms of the contract.

Do you need legal assistance with drawing up a business contract or handling a business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm.  Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

insurance agents

Why Insurance Agents Make Mistakes

Insurance agents usually possess myriad and impressive abilities which convince us to go with their companies in the beginning. Shopping around for the best policies, rates, and customer service skills can be a formidable task—not to mention exhausting. The key is to work with an agent who is licensed in all the areas of insurance that you are considering purchasing, and who possesses a great deal of wisdom and knowledge about the industry that you most likely do not. They and their office should also demonstrate excellent organizational skills and put their customers first.

You may have also chosen an insurance agent through word of mouth via friends, or perhaps you are friends with them yourself from years past or just in getting to know each other via the business transaction of purchasing coverage. Depending on the scope of a resulting claim, if something goes wrong, you may be extremely frustrated. The problem in many cases though—no matter the severity of the claim—is that sometimes policies may be so complex that even an agent does not have a clear understanding of every detail, or they may not be apprised of many of the constant changes occurring in the industry.

Making a mistake as an insurance agent can lead to very serious repercussions for everyone involved, which is why errors and omissions insurance exists; however, you may have to go through some headaches to see a claim paid even if the oversight was on the part of the agent. Other reasons for a major error could be:

  • Simple lack of knowledge
  • Carelessness when writing a policy
  • Lack of attention to your needs as a policyholder
  • Failure to procure correct coverage for you
  • Failure to report the claim

Measures you can take on your end to avoid insurance issues or claims denials are to make sure you are working with an agent or company that has a good reputation, understand what type of coverage you require personally or for your business, and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions! Negligence on the part of your insurance agent could mean that you are owed significant damages, and this is not a legal issue you should attempt to handle on your own.

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 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.

claims payment

Five Valid Reasons for Your Insurer to Delay Claims Payment

While some insurance and receiving claims payment can be extremely straightforward, purchasing other policies can be tricky; for instance, if you are buying a used car and just want liability insurance with standard limits, you may just be able to call an insurer and set everything up over the phone in less than 30 minutes. All your paperwork arrives over email shortly after or you may receive a hard copy in the mail later, ready to be tucked away in a drawer or file cabinet. Other policies require a lot of shopping, thought, and discussion with your agent, such as health insurance, homeowner’s insurance, commercial insurance, and more. The more assets you must protect—the more complex the policy will probably be.

No matter what type of insurance you buy though, and no matter how complicated it may be to get, one thing is certain: if you pay your premiums on time, you expect the insurer to pay out as promised if there is a problem. When that doesn’t happen, many policyholders become extremely frustrated—and understandably so. And if there are red flags such as lack of investigation, major delays, low-ball offers, and more, you may be ready to consult with a bad faith insurance attorney from a law office like the Bolender Law Firm. And although the insurer may be at fault for not handling your claim properly, there could be other explanations.

Here are five valid reasons they may delay:

  1. Unfortunately, there could be a problem from your end such as late payments or unpaid premiums which caused the policy to cancel or caused complication. This could lead to a denial, ultimately.
  2. They are waiting for evidence or more information in an investigation. They may also need to interview you and go over details regarding a claim.
  3. The company may not be dishonest, but just disorganized. While they may not have any plans to act in bad faith, their office may not be as fast as expected in terms of gathering all the facts.
  4. They may be struggling to pay out one claim after another as quickly as expected if there has been damage due to a natural disaster. This could go either way in terms of a claim just being paid out more slowly than you would like or turning into a bad faith lawsuit with the help of a skilled attorney.
  5. They may be taking time to eliminate fraud as a cause in the case. While most likely you have nothing to worry about, some claims may take longer to assess—like a fire—and if there is any doubt, adjusters may have a lengthier investigation.

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!