Tag: Bad faith insurance lawyers

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!

Insurance claims

Insurance Claims: The Adjuster Wants to Speak with You—And Quickly!

Insurance and handling insurance claims is all about risk management—and this goes for both sides. While you want to protect your finances in the case of a catastrophe, the same goes for the insurance company, with their definition of a catastrophe being paying out too much! The insurance industry thrives on premiums and fees, rolling in over a trillion dollars in the US annually. And while you can bet your insurer is worth millions or billions, they did not attain that position by being friends with everyone.

Your insurance agent may be a different story, and in fact they may be a trusted friend, or someone who was referred to you by a colleague or neighbor as you run in the same social circles. Insurance companies are big business, however, to say the least, and while adjusters may seem warm and even charming in some cases, beware. They are trained to extract as much information from you as possible in the beginning—and do not be fooled, they will use it against you if possible.

Car accidents and resulting claims are a good example of what to expect from adjusters, and how to react. If you have been injured or experienced property damage due to the negligence of another party, you may be especially surprised at how quickly they begin calling you regarding what happened and your current state. This is your cue to begin speaking with an car accident or injury attorney and referring all calls to them. Beyond the most basic facts, you should not share anything with an adjuster. Why? Because, again, any information sharing could inadvertently damage your case.

Adjusters may ask about your injuries—but you may not even know the full scope of what harm what done to you (or to your car!) during a crash. Along with requesting a full account of what happened, they may also request police reports, medical documentation, and may also ask to tape record your conversation. Again, refer them to your attorney.

In the case that you do not hear much from the other side, you may begin to worry that the other insurer is acting in bad faith, evidenced by a lack of investigation, unreasonable delays, requests for outlandish amounts of documentation, or even an outright denial that seems to have no validity.

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

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!

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!

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!

policy

Know Your Policy: Some Conditions May Lead to Denial of Your Claim

As the holidays come and go, most of us have been busy saving up for a variety of purchases—and then recovering from not only multiple food comas, but also financial hangovers! Along with that comes all the usual expenses, including insurance—one of those bills that tends to remain front and center in our lives. While it is not always required, a variety of different policies are recommended, from auto to life to commercial, and more. And not only is insurance a monthly to quarterly to annually bill, it is often a lifelong bill. That means thousands of dollars paid to an insurer, so make sure it is going to a worth cause in the end, if needed, and that would be you!

You may be paying for one or more insurance policies, but do you really know the details? Insurance can be tricky, from choosing the best insurance agent to understanding a variety of different policyholder issues. Most important though is understanding what you are covered for, and whether you are lacking in protection; after all, a catastrophic loss could affect your finances enormously if you do not have enough insurance. The hope is that you will never need to file a claim, but if you do, it is vital to know what financial resources will be available to you through your insurance policy.

The auto policy is always a good example, as most of us own one but still may not quite understand it fully, along with what could cause the insurer to deny your claim—and solidly so. California requires you to carry liability insurance only, but many other options are available such as comprehensive and collision, which may also be required before you can drive a new or used car off the dealer lot. You should understand what you are or what you want to be covered for in terms of medical payments, personal injury protection, uninsured motorists, and more.

More importantly though—and this goes for all your insurance—understand what you can do to make sure you don’t make it easier for the insurer to deny or delay your claim. Again, using car insurance as an example, understand what your policy covers and might be denied due to your actions or negligence—or simple lack of payment and cancellation of policy that could have already occurred.

If you have been injured, get medical treatment immediately. Any delays in going to the hospital or doctor’s office may raise serious questions. Make sure all your concerns are documented, and keep in mind that your medical records may be requested. Be aware that if the accident was your fault due to an issue such as reckless driving or driving under the influence, the claim could be denied. Distracted driving is also one of the top reasons for traffic fatalities and injuries, and it is proved that you were not paying attention to driving but fiddling with an electronic device instead, again there is the possibility for denial.

For other insurance policies, know what is expected of you when there is damage or other reason for a claim. If the insurer is not responding, know the signs of impending bad faith practices such as lack of investigation, unreasonable delays, low-ball offers, or a denial that seems unreasonable.

Are you concerned about a recent claim, 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!

 

legal independent counsel

Legal Independent Counsel: It May Be Necessary to Winning Your Case

As adults with busy lives and a list of responsibilities that usually just continues to grow, most of us learn to enjoy the status quo, never expecting to have to worry about something like a lawsuit or further complications like legal independent counsel. Knowing what to expect on waking up in the morning and enjoying the simplicity of working, establishing careers, and taking care of our families can be extremely satisfying from day to day. And while some surprises can be good, others can turn our lives upside down. Insurance companies bank on this type of consumer worry—and unfortunately, it can be a reality too sometimes.

Insurance Is Meant to Protect the Policyholder

Whether you have an insurance policy for your home, car, business, professional liability, or more, it was purchased to protect yourself, your family, and perhaps your livelihood too, from financial risk; in fact, one major catastrophe could have the terrifying potential to wipe out your finances and send you into bankruptcy, whether you suffer from a serious illness or were injured in a car accident, or find yourself liable for a customer slipping and falling at your business. And taking such events one step further, finding yourself involved in a lawsuit can be even more expensive and stressful.

The Insurer’s Attorneys May Not Offer You the Best Representation

Your insurance company may be obligated to defend you in a lawsuit, but in many cases, there may be a conflict of interest with their attorneys. If you don’t think you are being represented properly by your insurer’s legal team, consider consulting with a firm like the Bolender Law Firm for independent counsel resources. Because your future is at stake, it is important to retain as much control as possible over your case, and your insurance company is not only obligated to supply you with a defense, but also one that is conflict-free. Independent counsel means having additional legal assistance that will observe the actions and performance of the insurance company’s attorneys, as well as acting in your stead.

You should have the ultimate in protection for your future, as well as legal resources if you are sued. Hiring independent counsel may be a necessity also if you are a victim of bad faith practices, as well as being forced to deal with an unreasonable verdict in court.

Contact Us for Help Now

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 independent counsel, 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 Policy: What You May Not Be Aware of Until It’s Too Late

While there are many different forms of insurance most of us must explore in our lifetimes, homeowner’s is one of the most important. Whether you are a consumer who plans to purchase one home and live there forever—or the type who enjoys buying and selling or remodeling and flipping—the investment is substantial. Loss of a home, or even moderate property damage, could cause serious stress not only to your living arrangements, but also your finances; in fact, without the correct coverage, you could find yourself unable to rebuild in the case of a fire or other catastrophe.

All insurance you own is important, and reading the fine print is vital in each case. With homeowner’s insurance though, failing to understand your coverage could leave you unprotected, quite literally. Depending on your policy, issues such as fire, windstorms, or even damage from something like a volcano may or may not be covered. When you are purchasing your policy, speak to your insurance agent about your needs, and especially depending on your geographical area (is it prone to earthquakes or landslides?).

In most cases for homeowner’s insurance, an extensive discussion of what is excluded is necessary too; for instance, consider flood insurance. It is usually not available under your typical homeowner’s insurance, but rather through separate government programs. Flood damage could indeed be catastrophic to your home, so if you are in an area that is vulnerable, speak to your agent about how to get coverage. It may also be required by your lender.

The homeowner’s policy is essentially a strict legal contract that you should understand initially, as well as reviewing and updating each year. Be clear on options like whether you are insuring for replacement value or cash value when it comes to property damage, as well as how the structure and surrounding area should be maintained after a problem has occurred. You could be held responsible or a claim could be delayed or denied if the home was not properly cared for after being made vulnerable from a fire or storm, or vandalism, or more.

If you suspect an insurer is delaying payments on a claim or denying them without a valid reason, 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!

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!