Tag: Insurance lawyer

examining bad faith

Examining Bad Faith & Common Tactics

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

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

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

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

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

bad faith

The Insurer Acted in Bad Faith: What Happens Next?

Despite so many horror stories (and you may have already been through a few yourself), most of us choose to—or are required to—purchase insurance policies based on trust. Whether you are buying car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, commercial insurance, or another type of protection, the transaction is based on a mutual promise. You provide honest information to the insurer, their underwriters approve one or more policies for you, and then you are responsible for paying premiums on time—but be aware that although the insurer may have no problem presenting you with delays on their end, missing just one payment could be the difference between having a claim paid, or completely denied.

Unfortunately, the insurance company usually has every right to deny a claim if the policy already canceled, but there can be other complexities (see previous blogs on policies with longer-lasting coverages such as malpractice tail coverage, the claims made policy, or occurrence policy) too. In most cases though, if you have paid your premiums and the need arises to file a claim, you expect the insurer to follow through on their promises. In the case that there was a damaging fire at your home, however, or a car accident (although there could be many other examples) resulting in property damage or physical injury, and you filed a claim, there could be numerous indicators that the insurer was acting in bad faith.

Although delays do happen, they could be a sign of bad faith. There may be delays in any type of investigation by the adjuster. They may be waiting on more information, or it could be a simple case of disorganization. If, however, there does not seem to be any investigation at all going on—or if they have requested torrents of documentation from you (some of which hardly seems relevant and may be extremely inconvenient to collect and provide to them), there may be an issue of bad faith. Other red flags may include delays that are followed by low-ball offers (and pressure or intimidation to accept them), presenting erroneous information as to why a claim may not be paid, or denying it altogether.

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

malpractice tail coverage

Malpractice Tail Coverage: Is it Necessary for Physicians?

The particulars involved in taking on insurance can be often be complex. This could apply to any type of policy, but if you are trying to protect your business or professional livelihood with liability insurance, there are many facets to consider financially and for the long-term. If you are sued due to an injury affecting a third party or if property is damaged, without insurance you could be responsible for an astronomical sum. The proper insurance may also protect you against libelous claims.

Although insurance is critical for many different types of professionals, doctors are often under legal fire, and while some malpractice suits may be solid, there are many frivolous ones too. This means that medical professionals must dedicate a significant amount of their income to protecting themselves from a devastating malpractice suit. Without it, they could experience a financial catastrophe that would send them reeling back despite all their many years of hard work in the hospital, private practice, or both.

Malpractice insurance is almost always required, and the claims-made policy is common, often including a short-term extended reporting period or ‘tail.’ Needs may vary, but it is crucial to understand the differences in the policies available and make sure there is an ERP if necessary. A basic 30- to 60-day tail included with malpractice insurance certainly would not be enough if, for example, the medical professional is thinking about retiring but wants to be smart about covering themselves for the possibility of a claim arising even afterward.

While previously there were not a lot of options regarding tail coverage, malpractice insurers offer physicians a much wider range of extended reporting periods today, with varying rates in premiums. The need for such specialized insurance is there especially for doctors who may not receive notice of a pending claim or lawsuit until long after the insurance policy was canceled or terminated for whatever reason. Cost can play a major role in whether tail coverage is purchased though, and what kind. Medical facilities often cannot afford to provide doctors with the extended coverage, but they may be required to provide it for themselves. This could even be written into a contract regarding their departure from a facility, requiring the tail to be purchased then so that the hospital or office is not held liable.

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!

property damage appraisers

Property Damage Appraisers: Should I Trust Them?

If you have not had a reason to file an insurance claim recently (and your premiums are not exorbitant), it may have been easy to put the subject of insurance out of your mind for quite a while; however, if you have been in a car accident or were forced to file a claim regarding damage to your home or business, or more, dealing with insurance and property damage appraisers may suddenly become a central focus. And nothing can be more frustrating than being interrogated or stalled when you have done your part in paying premiums for years, fulfilling every requirement as requested by the insurer. Along with spending far too much time stressing about what is going to happen to your property or how you are going to pay medical bills, you have probably pored over your insurance policy too, wondering what the deal really is in the face of your insurer delaying the investigation or paying out for your claim.

The property damage appraiser works for the insurance company in evaluating the condition of your car, for example, if you have been in a wreck and have filed a claim—or they may be working for another party’s insurer if you were in an accident due to the negligence of someone else. The goal of the appraiser is very clear: to assess and advise on whether or not the insurance agency should pay the claim. They do this by investigating, ruling out fraud, examining insurance policies and other information such as medical records, and negotiating settlements and payments. They are also used to speaking with attorneys while they do their jobs. Keep this in mind if you are feeling helpless, alone, or intimidated during the appraisal, claims, and settlement (or litigation) process, as it is in your best interest to refer all questions to your attorney—and especially if you suspect the insurer may be acting in bad faith.

Insurance is about big money, and those involved are often given highly motivating compensation to see that cases are closed as quickly as possible and with as little cost as possible. While they may seem very friendly as well as neutral when it comes to assessing damage, never forget that they work for the insurance company and have a major role in deciding the outcome of your case. All questions from the appraiser should be referred to your attorney pleasantly, but firmly. Do not agree to hand over any files or participate in any recorded conversations without the advice of your attorney first.

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!