Inland Empire Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
Insurance policyholders pay their premiums each month with the expectation that their insurer will have their best interests in mind if an emergency happens, such as a serious injury or property damage. However, many policyholders are blindsided when their insurance provider unfairly denies them coverage through unscrupulous bad faith insurance practices. Fortunately, policyholders who are victims of bad faith have legal recourse. Insurance providers that fail to abide by the conditions of their contracts with policyholders can be held liable through bad faith insurance claims.
If your insurance company has offered an unfair settlement or has unjustly denied your claim, the team of Inland Empire bad faith insurance lawyers at Dewitt Algorri & Algorri is prepared to help you fight for the fair compensation you deserve, along with other damages. You can learn more about your legal options by discussing your case with us in a free initial consultation: call today at 626-568-4000.
When Can an Insurer Be Held Liable for Bad Faith?
Insurance contracts are based on an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which requires the insurance provider to fairly and honestly abide by the terms of the contract. Insurers that fail to meet their contractual obligations during the claims process have acted in bad faith and can be held liable for violating the policyholder’s contract.
An experienced insurance claims denial lawyer can analyze the policyholder’s case and determine if their insurer has acted in bad faith. If so, the policyholder likely has a viable bad faith claim, which can help them secure the insurance funds they are rightfully entitled to. Additionally, in some bad faith claims, the claimant may be entitled to compensatory and punitive damages. Policyholders who believe they have a viable claim should speak with an insurance claims denial lawyer serving San Bernardino & Riverside as soon as possible to determine if they have a case.
First-Party vs. Third-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims
A first-party bad faith claim is made by a policyholder against their insurance provider based on a wrongful denial, delay, or inefficient payment of an insurance claim. For example, someone who suffers a serious car accident injury but does not receive adequate compensation from their insurance company may file a bad faith claim. If the policyholder and their attorney can show that their claim was wrongfully denied or that the terms of their policy were violated in another way, they may have a viable bad faith claim.
Third-party bad faith insurance claims typically arise when the policyholder is facing a lawsuit for alleged negligence that resulted in another person’s injury. In these cases, the insurance provider may come to the defense of the policyholder. If the insurer fails to act in the best interests of the policyholder during this process, they could be held liable for bad faith. An example would be declining a settlement offer that would likely limit the policyholder’s liability.
As a claimant, you may be entitled to collect more money than that provided by the wrongdoer’s insurance policy if the insurance company fails to pay your settlement demand. For this to occur, you must have a highly specialized lawyer – from the very beginning – who makes sure your claim technically complies with the law. Our lawyers are specially trained for this.
Examples of Bad Faith Practices Under California Law
Section 790.03(h) of the California Insurance Code has identified 16 different forms of unfair settlement practices that insurance companies are forbidden from committing. Any of these violations can prompt a viable bad faith claim from the policyholder whose rights were violated.
The legal violations that apply directly to insurance policyholders include:
- Misrepresentation of relevant facts or insurance policy provisions to policyholders
- Failure to acknowledge or respond promptly to insurance claims
- Failure to promptly investigate and process claims according to reasonable standards
- Neglecting to affirm or deny claims within a reasonable amount of time after the policyholder has submitted proof of loss
- Failure to attempt to settle claims in good faith when liability is reasonably clear
- Pressuring policyholders to seek funds through litigation by offering significantly less money that the policyholder could ultimately recover
- Offering settlements that are lower than what the policyholder should reasonably expect to receive based on the company’s advertising
- Attempting to settle a claim using an application that was altered without the policyholder’s consent
- Failure to inform the policyholder of the coverage under which a payment has been made
- Intimidating a policyholder into accepting an unfair settlement by using the threat of arbitration appeals
- Unreasonably delaying the investigation or payment of a claim
- Failure to quickly settle claims when liability is apparent under one section of the insurance policy in order to encourage settlements under other sections of the policy
- Not providing a reasonably prompt explanation for the denial of a claim or a compromise settlement offer
- Directly encouraging a policyholder not to seek legal guidance from an attorney
- Misleading a policyholder regarding the statute of limitations for claims
- Delaying payments or provision of benefits for individuals with AIDS for more than 60 days after a claim was submitted.
Learn More From Our Riverside & San Bernardino Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
Filing a bad faith insurance claim is a complex legal process, so many individuals who have had their policyholder rights violated seek legal guidance. The Inland Empire bad faith insurance lawyers of Dewitt Algorri & Algorri serve clients throughout San Bernardino and Riverside, California and can evaluate your claim and help you develop a plan for securing the damages you are entitled to. Contact us today at 626-568-4000 to learn more.