Tag: Insurance lawyers

insurance policy

Always Have a Copy of Your Original Insurance Policy

Most of us have one or more insurance policies tucked away somewhere, whether for our car(s), home, business or more. While this is one of the most important contracts you will ever sign, and an extremely important document, as a rule, insurance policies are something we rarely look at again—until there is an unfortunate event that causes us to file a claim. At that point, you may be scrambling to figure out which drawer or file cabinet you stashed the policy in years ago.

The hope is if you have a car accident and experience property damage and/or physical injuries, that the negligent party’s insurer would be contacting you as quickly as possible to make sure you were compensated. Sadly, this is often not the case if you have a substantial case that may require a lot of time and effort and enormous payout. If you’ve had a homeowner’s claim, you may be living in a very uncomfortable situation after a fire or a flood, with many of your belongings demolished. Your world may be turned upside down, and you will be on the hunt for that insurance policy without a doubt!

This is precisely why you should always have a copy of your insurance policy on hand. Although these days, it may be resting in your email, but remember that it is always best to have a copy printed out. You must be able to remind yourself of what is covered, as well as understanding what the insurer is going to expect you after you file a claim. If your home has been vandalized, most likely you are responsible for covering it up and attempting to prevent any further damage to the home, with the same happening after a flood or some other event that has left the home still standing, even if just partially.

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 claim

Filing an Insurance Claim: Communications with the Insurer Should Be Easy

When it comes to the actual process of purchasing an insurance policy the steps are clear. First, and especially if you’re purchasing multiple lines of insurance, you need to find a good agent. Often our best suggestions come from friends and family. You may be having dinner with your parents or another relative and find out that they have worked with the same insurance agent for many years. In other cases, you may read about an agent online, and upon meeting them feel extremely comfortable and ready to purchase. The requirement should be that the insurance agent is educated about the types of insurance you need, that they are able to research and suggest all the facets required to protect your finances and property.

Once you have purchased your insurance, your job is to fulfill the details of the policy, agreeing that you will pay on time, mainly; however, there are of course other stipulations such as not making any changes to the existing property without letting them know, and following the proper steps if you do have an accident or damage to your home. Chances are, you have kept up your end of the bargain and paid the bill. And when you go to file a claim, everything should run just as smoothly for you as it did for them over the years while you were paying untold thousands in premiums.

Payments for premiums are not always easy to come by, and if you have suddenly had a problem or reason to file a claim, you probably feel quite serious about reaping the rewards now of owning that policy.

But what if the insurance company does not respond? What if they are difficult to deal with? What if they are disorganized, or what if they are completely nonresponsive? If you are worried about any of those things, you may be dealing with an insurance company acting in bad faith. This can be a very disturbing realization, and you will need the help of a skilled bad faith law insurance firm like the Bolender Law Firm.

Other red flags surrounding bad faith practices may include unreasonable delays or an outright denial that does not seem right. They may have somehow tried to convince you that the details of your policy are different from what you thought, meaning that you will be denied, or they may request excessive amounts of documentation, Hoping that you will bow out of the claim all together and just forget about it. If you are having difficulty with your insurance company, the first step is to ask what the problem is. It may be a clear-cut issue, or they may have had a snag in their investigation of your claim. But if you see any signs of bad faith, do not try to go it alone and continue communicating with the insurer or trying to set things right. This is the job for an experienced lawyer who will be able to protect your best interests.

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 adjusters

Insurance Adjusters Asking About Your Medical Condition: Why You Should Not Answer

If an insurance adjuster has just called, you may be somewhat startled by the speed in which they not only procured your phone number, but also how quickly they opened communications and began pelting you with questions. This is not always the most thoughtful way to treat someone who may have just been in a major or even catastrophic car accident, but insurance, as we all know, is about business. Insurance adjusters are heavily invested in protecting their company, and often their own finances too as they may be offered extra bonuses and lucrative compensation for saving their company time and money. This means that they have probably become very skilled at convincing policyholders to take the least amount of money as possible in a settlement, and quickly.

So, don’t be surprised if you get a call even while you may still be in the hospital. It may seem like an intrusion, and the truth is that you do not have to speak to them, then, or ever. This is a job for your car accident attorney, and if you do not have one yet, consult with an experienced injury firm as soon as possible. This could be vital to your case, and your settlement.

Insurance adjusters are very crafty at getting as much information from you as possible and then using whatever they can against you too. And as we often mention, the insurance companies are not your friend, and they did not become billionaires through attempting to win a popularity contest. So, if the insurance adjuster is on the other line and you are flustered or not sure what to do, you may give them some basic facts like your name, policy number, and the date and most elementary facts about your accident.

Insurance adjusters will ask for police records and medical records, and they may ask to tape record any or all conversations. Do not give out any information about your medical condition. Although you may be quite certain you know what is wrong; for example, maybe you have a broken leg. You may be tempted to pass on this seemingly basic fact when you speak to the insurance adjuster but as is common in car accidents, there may be some time before other medical issues emerge.

You could have much more complex health issues or internal damage than you realize, which is why you should not tell the adjuster anything about your health or the current injuries.  In many cases they will try to insinuate that an older injury is what is causing you pain or discomfort, when you are obviously suffering due to a car accident.

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!

mediation

What Happens When an Agreement Cannot Be Reached in Mediation?

Mediation is often an extremely attractive alternative to the courtroom. Formally termed alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation is typically held in a more casual and relaxed setting, led by a mediator. While the mediator may not technically be licensed or may not even have a legal degree, they are usually very experienced in helping two or more parties deal with some sort of legal dispute that has brought them to such serious odds that they cannot reach an agreement or settlement decision on their own.

In some cases, a judge may even send two parties into mediation during a case, requiring them to work it out. While that puts some added pressure on everyone in a mediation, it also takes them out of the stiff courtroom and out of what may be a more adversarial atmosphere. The mediation offers a setting where the mediator can help if the disputing parties have reached an impasse, encouraging them to think outside the box, and perhaps even learn to empathize with the other party’s situation. The mediator usually has prior, extensive knowledge of the case due to meeting with the parties involved before mediation begins, getting to know them both separately, and understand what brought them into the legal arena to settle their differences.

If a stalemate is so serious that the parties involved cannot or will not budge, the mediator may suggest they take an extended break. This could be a few days, a few weeks, or an indefinite period. If the parties are involved in a court case and they still cannot reach an agreement in mediation, this may not be pleasing to the judge, and their case could be delayed, there may be more mediation suggested (or required), or a trial may be scheduled. Such an ordeal is never easy on anyone, but negotiations simply may not be possible if neither side can give at all.

As in any negotiation, it may be up to the mediator or an attorney to keep the conversation going until someone thinks of something that they can give. Perhaps they have a concession they can make that would not paying them too terribly but could mean a lot to the other side. Most mediations are successful, and the exceptions can be frustrating for everyone involved.

Do you have questions about a mediation or a business issue, or do you need legal assistance regarding 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 company

Why Isn’t the Insurance Company Interested in Investigating My Homeowners Claim?

While all forms of risk protection are important and worth investigating, homeowner’s is one of the most critical types of insurance—and especially if you have a family to house. Home may be where the heart is, but often it is strongly tied to all your worldly possessions and the place where you made so many memories, from first birthday parties to many years of holidays and family milestones. Experiencing major property damage may in some cases feel almost as traumatic as having a physical accident, and you may be almost as uncomfortable if you are facing living in a home that is close to uninhabitable. You may have been displaced also, if the damage was catastrophic—with your life being extremely disrupted.

Most types of accidents and damage claims have a sense of urgency to them, so if the insurer is simply not responding at all, they are sending a clear message that they do not want to deal with you. There is the outside chance that their customer service department is completely disorganized and inept and unable to get to you, but you should be able to figure that out quickly. Continued red flags mean it is time to consult with a bad faith insurance attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm.

If you have ever had a claim that was handled properly before, the adjuster probably contacted you almost right away. It was imperative for you to have all your information ready, an attorney for them to communicate with if necessary, all leading to a streamlined claims payment. So, when you hear crickets it is disturbing. And you may be growing increasingly worried about your financial future if your house has partially burned or been flooded or exposed to other serious issues.  Lack of investigation is often a sign of bad faith practices, along with long delays that seem to occur with no reasonable excuse or are followed by an outright denial. Other issues often include intimidation tactics such as requests for excessive documentation, or a pressing emphasis on how important it is to take a lowball offer.

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!

lowball settlement

Why the Insurance Company Expects You to Take that Lowball Settlement

Insurance companies know their stuff. They don’t churn out billions in profits through sheer luck each year, and they certainly don’t do so by being your friend. Adjusters often receive bonuses for keeping payout and time spent on cases to a minimum, and you can count on one thing: they are all usually very good at their jobs. This is precisely why if you are in a car accident, for example, you do not want to take on fighting the other insurance company by yourself.

Adjusters, unfortunately, may be quick to take advantage of you if you are not prepared. They may begin asking a lot of questions—and because most of us are naturally polite, it is often hard to shut them down—but that is exactly what needs to happen. Your injury attorney should be handling all communications with adjusters. This could be vital to your case, especially as they may begin asking if they can tape record your conversations, have access to medical records, and more. What you say to them, however, is what can make you most vulnerable, and many individuals walk right into such a trap after being assured everything is confidential.

With expert legal assistance, you can avoid many of the pitfalls possible if you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of others, and have a case. Without any help, adjusters may try different tricks on you such as the delay. This could mean you are left hanging for unreasonable amounts of time as they try to find a reason to deny your claim, whether accusing you of fraud or other shocking reasons to get out of paying. One of the most common techniques on the part of the insurer is the lowball offer. With an attorney on your side, it is likely this would not happen to begin with—but if you are on your own, the adjusters may jump at the chance to give you the lowest offer possible and then also convince you that you should take it because there will not be another one.

Other intimidation tactics may ensue as well, to include asking you for so much accompanying documentation that you will be quickly exhausted and run the other direction, giving up on your case altogether. They may also try to intimidate witnesses. As soon as you begin experiencing any red flags that could indicate bad faith, your case is in peril. An experienced attorney will be able to help you fight the insurance company, along with helping you to understand more about bad faith practices.

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!

 

fraud

Are You Being Accused of Fraud? Why This is So Serious

Purchasing insurance can sometimes be a pleasant experience, in the beginning; in fact, as you get a referral for an insurance agent and begin looking around and getting quotes, you may be impressed with their level of knowledge and guidance. Once you settle on a policy, a check is written, documents are emailed or sent by regular mail and they get put away for safekeeping. And there they stay, until there is a claim. In most cases if there is a claim, the insurer opens an investigation, and hopefully it is open and shut, with your payment being collected easily so you can go about your normal business and get back to your normal life.

There are other instances, however, that spell out trouble from the beginning. Let’s use a homeowner’s insurance claim as an example. This is a good one, because home fires are often an extreme point of contention. It is all too easy for the insurer to bring up the word arson and suddenly drum up a fraud investigation team that may scare the dickens out you. Obviously, no one feels comfortable being accused of fraud, and especially if there is the potential of going to jail too. This is an all-too-common tactic however, and insurers use it to their advantage to intimidate, delay, and deny.

Your first tipoff may be when there is no investigation of your claim. There may be no phone ringing at all from the adjuster, insurance representatives trying to get more details, or anything. This is a common red flag of bad faith practices, along with unreasonable delays—and often that is exactly where the fraudulent fraud investigation comes in! Such an experience can be extremely challenging too if your home has serious fire damage and you have had to move out. The disruption to your life can be epic, and a fraud investigation may add more stress than you feel like you can manage.

This is not the time to go it alone. You need an attorney to defend you against the fraud accusations, as well as help you get your claim paid. An insurance company acting in bad faith—and especially putting you through an extended period out of your home—may not only be severely fined in court, but they may also owe you compensatory and punitive damages.

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: You May Be Due Compensatory & Punitive Damages

The insurance industry is built around protecting risk. You probably don’t want to pay out thousands of dollars each year, writing checks that usually just seem to sail into thin air for lots of nothing, but it is worth it to protect your car(s), that home you just built or the wonderful apartment you are renting that holds all of your furniture and valuables, your business, your health and your life (estate planning), and so much more. And while sometimes it may seem like we buy ‘things,’ just to have to pay more money to make sure we can keep them, it is the way of life in the US currently.

You may be surprised to learn that the average consumer is spending twelve percent of their yearly income on insurance. Costs may rise in your area too, depending on changes in infrastructure, areas where traffic incidents or crime have escalated, or pockets of activity with storms and serious natural disasters. Purchasing insurance can be a serious endeavor, but once you have it, you expect to enjoy peace of mind in knowing that you are protected by your insurer in the case of an accident or other major issue covered y your policy. If that turns out not to be the case later, you may be devastated in dealing with injuries or damages to your home or business. Finding out the insurance company is going to give you a hard time can be extremely frustrating.

Evidence of bad faith on the part of the insurer includes massive delays (and this is where massive frustration usually sets in for you initially) and in some cases, there may be not even be any sign of an investigation at all, which is usually confusing and disturbing. The insurer may ask for massive amounts of documentation, to include items like tax returns even—usually if they are gearing up to cause delays and even to insinuate that your claim is fraudulent. You may receive a low-ball offer from the insurer, with the underlying tone being that if you don’t take it you will probably get nothing. Once these red flags set in, you need serious legal help from the Bolender Law Firm.

While punitive damages may not be possible in many other types of contract lawsuits, that is not usually the case when the insurer is found to be acting in bad faith. Let us review your case and discuss your options with you, considering whether you may be due both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages will cover the expenses you were originally supposed to be paid plus damages and compensation for injury; punitive damages are much more serious and often more challenging to get as they ‘punish’ the other party. In this case, the insurance company would be punished, and in forcing them to pay punitive damages it is hoped that they ‘learn a lesson’ about doing it again, as well as serving as an example to other corporations that might be thinking about acting the same way toward customers.

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!

rule of thumb

How Did ‘Rule of Thumb’ Become a Saying?

There are many terms you probably hear so much—or say so much—that you rarely stop to think about how funny they sound or wonder how they originated; for instance, how many times have you found yourself uttering a saying like, “well rule of thumb says…” meaning this is how something supposedly should be done, and often is thought of as a general principal based on practice, often approximated. And obviously, you probably aren’t using your thumb for a ruler, although hundreds of years ago, that may have been the idea as a thumb was supposed to be a good measurement for an inch. Check out your thumb though, and you can see that probably wasn’t very accurate at all for anyone!

The term is said to have come about in the 1600’s and may have actually been connected to marital law in England. The law may have said something closely related to the idea that a husband could beat his wife with a stick, as long as it was no thicker than his thumb, although many think this could be a myth too (the Idioms). Typical examples of using this idiom in context might be that as a rule of thumb, you add pasta to a pot once the water starts boiling, or as a rule of thumb, you never work past 4 p.m.

There are also many other very amusing rules of thumb you may never have heard, offering tips for etiquette (even that of cell phones), how to dress (if your shirttails hang below the palms of your hands, tuck them in), when to take your car in for repairs (never on the weekends), where to sit on an airplane (that depends), and more.

In the legal world, the way words are construed can make a huge difference in a case—and as we deal with insurance policies and insurers acting in bad faith far too often, it is important to delve into the truth of words, as well as dissecting exactly what is meant in something like an insurance policy. This can be extremely difficult in some cases if you are not a legal professional, and if you are going through an issue that feels exasperating (and frightening) to handle on your own, call us for help as soon as possible.

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!

emotional distress damages

Bad Faith: Can I Sue for Emotional Distress Damages?

You may have felt some amount of emotional distress just trying scrape the funds together to pay one or more insurance policies over the years! The situation may become very trying, however, when you have filed a claim, and nothing has been resolved. This can be extremely disconcerting considering anytime you were on the verge of being slightly late with a payment or returning a document to the insurance company, they expected an immediate response or consequences (in the form of having your policy canceled) would follow.

If you have reported a homeowner’s claim, for example, time may be of the essence in getting it paid so you can then make repairs to your home. Some cases may be extreme, too, due to a natural disaster like an earthquake or a landslide. Your home may uninhabitable, or very uncomfortable to live in, at best. Chances are, you will know something is wrong quickly as the adjuster simply does not come around to do an investigation at all, or they are right on time—but you are promptly denied without a reasonable excuse. Other red flags regarding bad faith practices on the part of your insurer may include long delays. They may put you off repeatedly, and without any reason. They may ask for voluminous amounts of documentation and begin making you feel as if you are under investigation for fraud due to specific questions and delays.

Often, bad faith practices occur simply because the insurer does not want to relinquish the funds for big claim—they are much better off with that cash in the bank earning interest, and they may not want to take the hit on their financial report for that quarter or year. Their customer service department may be disorganized, or your adjuster may be trying to earn an extra bonus for keeping claims to a minimum. If you are a victim of bad faith, however, this is not the time to go it alone. Contact a skilled insurance attorney from a firm like the Bolender Law Firm and along with taking the insurer to court for bad faith, they may also sue for punitive damages to include emotional distress, time you were forced to leave work without pay, 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!