Orange County Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
Insurance companies present themselves as an ally for policyholders. Insurance contracts are ostensibly supposed to protect the policyholder when they suffer economic or personal losses, but many policyholders struggle to receive the compensation that they are entitled to when they need it. In some cases, insurance companies engage in bad faith practices in an attempt to deny an insurance claim or limit the payout to an unfair amount.
If you believe that you have been unfairly treated by your insurance company when attempting to make a claim, you could be a victim of bad faith insurance practices. Insurance companies that engage in this type of behavior may be held liable if the policyholder files a lawsuit. It is important to act quickly so that you and your attorney can gather sufficient evidence to build a strong, winning case. At Dewitt Algorri & Algorri, our Orange County personal injury lawyers have over six decades of experience helping our clients take on insurance companies. Call our law office today at 626-568-4000 to learn more about bad faith insurance claims.
What is Insurance Bad Faith?
According to the Supreme Court of the State of California, all insurance contracts are bound by the idea of a “covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” A violation of this covenant is a violation of the policyholder’s rights. An insurance company may be considered guilty of bad faith if it unreasonably fails to meet its obligations as designated by the contract with the policyholder. Technically, bad faith insurance practices are a form of fraud, as the insurance company has dishonestly denied the policyholder benefits that were promised to them and that they are fairly entitled to.
Common Types of Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Some common forms of bad faith insurance practices that our Orange County bad faith insurance lawyers regularly see include:
- Unjust denials of benefits included in the insurance policy
- Failure to respond to or investigate a claim in a timely manner
- Misrepresentations of policy provisions to policyholders
- Failure to approve or deny a claim promptly after the policyholder has provided sufficient proof of loss
- Agreeing to unfair settlement amounts
- Failure to provide the policyholder with sufficient reason for a denied claim
- Advising a policyholder not to hire an attorney
- Threatening to appeal arbitration awards to pressure policyholders into accepting unfair settlement amounts
These are only some of the most common forms of bad faith insurance practices, but insurance companies can engage in bad faith in a variety of manners. You can learn more about whether you are a victim of bad faith by having your case evaluated by the Orange County bad faith lawyers of Dewitt Algorri & Algorri.
Damages Available in Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuits
If your insurance provider has failed to meet the contractual obligations of your insurance policy, you could have grounds for a bad faith insurance lawsuit. The types of damages available in these lawsuits generally fall into three categories:
- Contract damages – The amount of money that the policyholder was rightly entitled to under the policy, up to the policy limit.
- Compensatory damages – These damages compensate the policyholder for the difficulties they faced as a result of the insurance company’s bad faith. This could include damages for emotional distress, financial hardships, and other personal difficulties.
- Punitive damages – These damages punish insurance companies for engaging in bad faith practices in an effort to deter the company from victimizing other policyholders in the same manner. Not all bad faith insurance claims will yield punitive damages, but the court will decide whether to assess them based on the circumstances of the case.
The types of damages available to you will depend on the nature of your case. Policyholders who are considering filing a bad faith lawsuit can learn more about what type of damages they may be able to recover by speaking with one of our seasoned Orange County bad faith insurance lawyers.
Third-Party vs. First-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims
A first-party bad faith insurance 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 injury but does not receive adequate compensation from their insurance company may file a bad faith claim. If the policyholder and their lawyer can prove 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. In order for this to occur, you must have a highly specialized attorney, from the start of your claim, who makes sure your claim technically complies with the law. Our law firm is specially trained for this type of claim.
Learn More From Our Orange County Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
If you believe that you are a victim of bad faith by your insurance company, it is important to act quickly. Of course, taking swift action will help you recover the funds that you deserve as soon as possible so that you can use them to cover the various financial and emotional difficulties you face as a result of your losses. Additionally, acting quickly is the best way to build a strong case through witness testimony, the gathering of evidence, and analysis of the policy.
Remember that insurance companies have powerful lawyers who specialize in fighting bad faith insurance claims. Policyholders should strongly consider hiring their own legal counsel with experience representing claimants in bad faith cases. With over six decades of experience, Dewitt Algorri & Algorri is prepared to defend your legal rights and help you seek the full financial compensation to which you are entitled. Call us today at 626-568-4000 to discuss your case.