Bad Faith Attorney Los Angeles
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Insurance bad faith refers to a claim that an insured person has against an insurance company for bad acts. Under the law of nearly every U.S. jurisdiction, Insurance companies owe a duty of good faith in dealing with the persons they insure. If they violate that obligation, many states allow the insured person (or "policyholder") to sue the insurance company.
An insurance company has many duties to its policyholders. One, it usually has a duty to defend a claim (or lawsuit) even if some or most of the lawsuit is not covered by the insurance policy. Two, it has a duty of indemnification, which is the duty to pay a judgment against the policyholder, up to the limit of coverage, but only if the judgment is for a covered act or omission. As a result, most insurance companies exercise a great deal of control over litigation.
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Bad faith is a fluid concept and is defined primarily in case law. Examples of bad faith include undue delay in handling claims, inadequate investigation, refusal to defend a lawsuit, threats against an insured, refusing to make a reasonable settlement offer, or making unreasonable interpretations of an insurance policy. The policyholder must be damaged, for example, if an insurance company refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer which the policyholder wants, and the policyholder is later subject to a judgment in excess of the policy limits, that is damage.
In some cases, the tort or the governing state statute allows punitive damages against insurance companies as a mechanism to prevent future behavior.
You may have a Bad Faith insurance claim and your attorney may be able to get you substantial compensation if the insurance company has engaged in any of the following conducts in handling your claim:
If the insurance company or its agent has misrepresented certain important facts about your insurance policy provisions relating to coverage, policy limits, deductible, etc.
If the insurance company fails or refuses to acknowledge a valid claim you have made under your own policy and fails to promptly and reasonably communicate with you the potential claim arising out of your insurance policy.
If the insurance company failing to start and conduct prompt investigation of your claim and to hire investigators and/or experts to promptly and properly assess the value of your claim.
If the insurance company refuses to pay your claim at all or offers to settle your claim for a lower amount without first conducting a reasonable or complete investigation based upon all available information.
If the insurance company fails to promptly confirm and accept coverage, or deny coverage or liability within a reasonable time after evidence of loss has been submitted by you and a proper statement of loss has been furnished.
If the insurance company refuse to make a good faith effort to reach a fair settlements of your claim in which liability is or has become reasonably clear.
If the insurance company is forcing your to file a lawsuit against it to recover money it should pay under the insurance policy. This could be done by offering far less money to you than reasonable.
If the insurance company deliberately makes it known to you that it will appeal if you win in arbitration to force you to accept a settlement far less than the amount awarded in arbitration.
If the insurance company is playing games with you by delaying the investigation or payment of your claim by requiring you to submit to a preliminary claim report and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof of loss forms, both of which contain substantially the same information.
If the insurance company fails to settle your claim where liability has been determined under one coverage in order to influence settlements under another coverage.
If the insurance company fails to promptly provide a reasonable explanation of applicable law for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement.
Contact us and speak with a personal injury lawyer now to discuss your case. CALL 888-212-7463