Tag: 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!

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!

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.

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!