Did Your Insurance Company Handle a Claim Poorly?
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You probably do not think about your insurance coverage until you pay the premium and make a claim. It is just something you know is there, and you assume you can count on coverage if and when you need it. That may be a false assumption. Your insurance company may be far more interested in getting your premium than paying for a legitimate claim. AGNEWBRUSAVICH helps people like you when insurant companies fail to live up to their obligations.
Bad Faith is Much More Than Denying a Claim.
In California, insurance companies can be sued for “bad faith” if they unreasonably handle a policyholder’s claim. In every insurance contract, there is an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing which requires companies to treat policy holders fairly. Some examples of insurance bad faith include:
- Unreasonable denial of a covered insurance claim.
- Underpaying an insurance claim.
- Unreasonable refusal to defend you if you are sued despite your liability coverage.
- Unreasonable delay in paying your insurance claim.
- Refusing to authorize reasonable and necessary medical treatment.
- Failing to conduct a fair, objective,e and thorough investigation into your claim.
- Arbitrary or capricious interpretation of the policy or the facts of a claim.
- Providing a misleading response/denial letter.
- If the insured is in a difficult financial situation, to use that as leverage in negotiating a settlement more favorable to the company than what is justified by the facts.
- Abusive tactics and threats of charging the insured with a crime to avoid the payment of a claim.
- Failure to make reasonable efforts to keep the insured informed as to the status of the claim.
Damages Available for Those Impacted by Bad Faith.
If an insurance company unreasonably handles your insurance claim, that implied covenant is breached, and the insurance company could be subject to legal action. In addition to recovering the direct financial loss suffered due to the insurance company’s actions (or failure to act), if you prove the company unreasonably handled your claim, you could recover the following types of damages:
- Emotional distress.
- Reasonable attorney’s fees.
- Any loss you sustained because of the unreasonable conduct, including
- Lost earnings from your business,
- Medical expenses if the stress from the bad faith harmed your health,
- Opportunity cost in your business, and
- Lost use of your property.
- Punitive damages (damages meant to punish the insurance company for its acts) could be obtained if you can show,
- The insurance company acted with malice, oppression, or fraud as defined by California law, and
- It was approved or ratified by a managing agent of your insurance company.
Contact Us Today, Time Limits Apply.
If you think you are the victim of an insurance company’s efforts to limit its exposure to your claim, there is a limited time frame to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations, or the time limit a plaintiff has to file a claim against a party in the court of law, depends on the nature of the claim.
- If it is based on a breach of the insurance contract, there is a four year time period.
- If the claims are for bad faith, the time frame is two years, and that starts when the insurer refuses to arbitrate the matter.
- Failing to file in the applicable period will, in all likelihood, result in the dismissal of your claims.
AGNEWBRUSAVICH has a well-earned reputation with the insurers for both the quality of our work and the tenacious representation we provide for our clients. Our reputation and record of success often brings about a more cooperative and reasonable approach by the insurer compared to what our clients may be able to achieve by themselves. Most of our insurance cases are resolved with a fair settlement.
If you find yourself trying to collect on a claim filed with your insurance company and you feel you are getting the run around, you are not being treated fairly, you have been told things that simply are not true, or you feel your claim has been unreasonably denied, contact AgnewBrusavich. We will deal with the insurance company so you will not have to. We can make sure that company gives you the proper treatment you deserve and that you receive the settlement you are entitled to.