Unwavering Commitment to Holding Insurance Companies Accountable
Insurance is intended to provide you with peace of mind that your health, home, automobile, business, or another valued item or person is protected in the event of an accident or disaster. While most people hope that when the unfortunate does happen, their insurance agent will be there to guide them smoothly through the claims process, this is not always the reality. Policyholders will often find themselves struggling to obtain the coverage they deserve. At times, the insurance company will act in bad faith in denying or purposely delaying the claim, giving the policyholder the right to pursue a claim of bad faith against their insurer. In these instances Schwartzberg | Luther are here to go toe-to-toe with the insurance company.
What is Insurance Bad Faith in California?
At its core, insurance is based on a contract. The policyholder agrees to pay premiums in exchange for the insurance company providing coverage and upholding the terms of the policy. Within the insurance contract, as in any agreement, exists the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Bad faith exists under California law when the insurance company violates the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by unreasonably failing to uphold its duties under the insurance contract.
California case law identifies certain acts and conduct that may qualify as bad faith:
- Unreasonable denial of the claim;
- Failing to promptly respond to the claim;
- Misrepresenting facts within the policy;
- Misinterpreting portions of the policy to deny the claim;
- Failure to promptly investigate the claim;
- Failing to deny or approve the claim within a reasonable period after the insured has provided the required documentation;
- Refusing to make good faith efforts to settle the claim reasonably;
- Failing to provide justification for the denial of the claim;
- Forcefully attempting to persuade the policyholder to file a lawsuit when liability is obvious; and
- Misleading a policyholder as to deadlines for filing a claim or lawsuit.
Not every dispute with the insurance company will be considered bad faith. Specifically, the mere denial of your claim, absent other evidence, does not constitute bad faith. If you feel your insurance company may have acted in bad faith, or you have another concern about your claim, contact an insurance bad faith attorney for assistance.
Compensatory and Punitive Damages
If your insurance company has acted in bad faith, you can pursue a claim against it. You have several potential remedies, dependent on the facts of the case. You may be able to recover compensatory damages for breach of contract. These damages will generally include the benefits due under your policy plus interest. You may also be able to seek bad faith damages, which will include related economic losses, emotional distress, and lawyer’s fees. In a select few cases, where the insurance company acted with fraud or malice, you may be awarded punitive damages. Consult with a bad faith insurance lawyer as soon as possible for a complete explanation as to your individual legal rights.
Contact The Law Office of Schwartzberg | Luther, APC, Today for Your Free Consultation!
The Law Office of Schwartzberg | Luther, APC, offers dedicated representation to policyholders whose claims have been wrongly delayed or denied. We understand how devastating it can be to have your claim delayed or denied after years of faithfully making your insurance premium payments. Our experienced Rancho Cucamonga Insurance Bad Faith Attorneys strive to hold insurance companies accountable with our skilled and compassionate representation. We are here to help, with flexible hours and weekend or evening appointments available at our convenient Rancho Cucamonga office. Contact us at (909) 457-4270 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation today.