When an insurance company sells you a policy, many promises are made about what the company will do when you need them. Unfortunately, companies sometimes fail to deliver on the policy’s assurances when you have a claim. When an insurance company takes your money and does not provide the protections that you paid for, you have a right to sue them for bad faith. If you believe that you or a loved one has experienced such a situation, call the Evans Law Firm today. Our experienced insurance bad faith attorneys will hold insurance companies responsible for their agreements. Our goal is to help you recover all the benefits that an insurance company owes you under the policy.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Under California law, an insurance company has a contractual duty to act in good faith in handling policy claims and to honor all claims that are valid. If an insurance company unreasonably or willfully fails to honor the terms of a policy and pay a legitimate claim, they are said to be acting in bad faith. All insurance companies have the following responsibilities and duties to their policy holders:
•· to treat all policy holders fairly
•· to protect policy holder’s from third-party claims
•· to protect the policy holder’s interest when settling a claim
•· to negotiate the policy holder’s claim rather than just protecting the company’s own interest
Examples Of Insurance Bad Faith
Not every denial of a claim constitutes bad faith. There could be many valid reasons for a denial. However, when an insurer acts unreasonably they may have committed bad faith. Some examples of bad faith include the following:
- failing to promptly investigate a claim
- inadequately investigating a claim
- refusing to defend a lawsuit
- settling a claim for less than the insured is entitled to
- misrepresenting insurance coverage
- unreasonably interpreting policy language
- failing to protect the insured’s interests
- putting the company’s interests above those of the policy holder
- withholding policy limits
- refusing to sufficiently explain a claim denial
- making threats against the policy holder
- refusing to make a reasonable settlement offer
Damages Allowed In Insurance Bad Faith Cases
In an insurance bad faith case, there are several types of damages that may be recoverable:
- Actual damages: include all the benefits that the policy holder is entitled to under the policy.
- Consequential damages: include damages the policy holder suffered because of the unreasonable claim denial. This might include injury to the policy holder’s health due to the denial, lost wages from denial or delay of an automobile claim, or out-of-pocket expenses.
- Emotional distress damages: it may be possible to recover damages for mental or emotional distress from an unreasonable denial due to worry over finances, stress, sleeplessness, etc.
- Punitive damages: may be awarded in some cases if the insurer has acted in an extremely despicable manner. A showing of oppression, fraud or malice is usually required.
California Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
Many times people have paid insurance premiums for years to protect themselves in the event of accidents, disability or loss of income, the death of a loved one, damage to a home, and other catastrophes, only to have their insurance company unreasonably deny or delay a legitimate claim. If you have been the victim of insurance company bad faith, you need expert legal help from the attorneys at the Evans Law Firm. We handle all types of insurance bad faith cases including homeowners, auto, commercial, medical, life, disability, fire, flood, earthquake, theft, and employer’s benefit plans. Call the Evans Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.