We all rely on insurance policies to help protect the things that are most important to us—our cars, our homes, our health, and those dearest to us. When an insurance policy is obtained, there is an implicit expectation that the terms of the policy will be respected by the insurance company.
When an insurance company fails to fulfill its obligations, it is recognized as bad faith insurance. This not only causes undue stress and concern for the insured party – it is also in violation of the law.
For years, the Dolan Law Firm has successfully advocated on behalf of their clients and their bad faith insurance cases. The experience and competence of our legal team in this field of law enable us to obtain successful outcomes for them.
To speak with a Los Angeles insurance bad faith attorney, call us toll-free at 888-424-5352 or fill out our contact form to get a free consultation.
What is insurance bad faith?
In California, when you experience a loss and make a claim on an insurance policy, it has an obligation to:
- Fully investigate the claim to establish liability;
- Pay the claimant for a covered loss or attempt to settle in a fair and timely manner;
- Represent and defend the policyholder against other claims on the insurance policy.
Bad faith insurance occurs when the insurance company does not fulfill one or more of these obligations.
This may occur for any type of insurance policy including:
- Homeowners / renters’
- Other property
It is important to note that not every denial, delay, or disappointing settlement is necessarily a case of bad faith. For it to meet the legal definition of bad faith, the insurance company has to be acting without cause or good reason.
Types of bad faith insurance
“Bad faith” may cover a variety of different actions the insurance company may take including:
- Unreasonably denying or delaying a claim.
- Deliberately misrepresenting or failing to disclose the full contents of the policy.
- Failing to provide a reason or justification for denying the claim.
- Settling only one part of a claim and ignoring the others.
- Settling for an unreasonably low amount compared to the policy provisions.
- Failure to defend the insured party against a lawsuit or other action(s) involving a claim that is covered by the policy.
- Other deceptive, aggressive, or coercive tactics to force the insured party to settle or abandon a claim.
Insurance providers may engage in bad faith practices when discouraging policyholders from seeking legal representation or pursuing legal action for issues related to their claim. It is important to recognize that their actions may not necessarily be in your best interests. If you suspect that an insurance provider is engaging in bad faith, you should immediately seek the assistance of a qualified insurance bad faith lawyer.
Filing an insurance bad faith lawsuit in Los Angeles
Any insured person who has experienced any of the above situations is legally entitled to pursue legal action against their insurance company, both for breach of contract (i.e., of their insurance policy) and for having acted in bad faith. Thus, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- The original amount of the claim.
- Interest on the claim amount.
- Fines and statutory penalties levied against the insurance provider.
- Additional punitive and emotional distress damages.
- Legal and attorneys’ fees.
Prior to proceeding with an insurance bad faith lawsuit, it is imperative to illustrate that efforts were made to resolve the issue in good faith with the insurance company. In order to establish this, it is recommended that the following steps be taken:
- Double-check the insurance policy closely to confirm that, according to its terms, the insured party is fully covered for the claim. No legal action should be taken without being certain of the coverage and its conditions.
- Follow the appeals process if the claim is denied, including any additional rounds of appeals if executed by the company policy.
- File a complaint with the California Department of Insurance.
- Issue a demand letter for payment, which lets the insurance company know that the insured party may pursue legal action unless the claim is resolved fairly and promptly.
- Throughout the process, every correspondence and conversation with the insurer should be kept (documented and/or recorded) as evidence of the insured party’s attempts to achieve a fair resolution. These records may prove to be valuable evidence if legal action is pursued against the insurance company.
If actions were taken and the insurance company continues to persistently deny or postpone the claim without reasonable cause, the insured party should consider consulting with an insurance bad faith attorney based in Los Angeles to determine their next course of action.
How a Los Angeles insurance bad faith lawyer may help
If the policyholder has tried and failed to resolve their claim with the insurance provider, they may be entitled to proceed with a lawsuit. Under these circumstances, an insurance bad faith lawyer should be contacted immediately. It is important to promptly pursue a resolution for the claim and to avoid any potential complications that may arise from the expiration of applicable statutes of limitation, which may result in the dismissal of the policyholder’s ability to pursue legal action.
At the Dolan Law Firm, we will evaluate the available options and provide guidance on the subsequent course of action. If the decision is made to proceed with the case, support and assistance may be provided to the policyholder by means of:
- Fully investigating the case regarding the incident that led to the claim, the relevant details of the insurance policy, the steps taken by the policyholder to resolve the matter, and the responses (or lack thereof) from the insurance company. A review of the insurer’s reasoning may also be conducted to confirm they deliberately delayed the process.
- Representing the insured party throughout the legal process, including meetings with the insurance company and appointed lawyers.
- Negotiating with the insurance company to settle the claim.
- Litigating with the insurance company. In general, a fair and timely out-of-court settlement is preferred, but if necessary, it may require taking the case to court.
- Offering additional administrative and financial guidance during the investigation of the case, including assistance with finding medical treatment and dealing with bills and collections as needed.
Navigating the legal system in such a time of stress can be overwhelming, which is why having the support of a Los Angeles insurance bad faith lawyer such as the Dolan Law Firm may provide much-needed relief to take on your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
What sets the Dolan Law Firm apart as a Los Angeles insurance bad faith attorney?
Founder Chris Dolan and his team of 15 attorneys have been successfully representing clients in a variety of bad faith insurance claims. As a premier plaintiffs’ law firm in California, we have won millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts and have been recognized by state and industry organizations for our accomplishments on behalf of our clients.
To learn more about how we have helped our clients, view our success stories and contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
How long can a bad faith insurance case in Los Angeles last?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide a specific time frame for the resolution of a bad faith insurance case. Though we go to lengths to ensure a speedy resolution, the effort needed to investigate and prepare any claim, and to negotiate with the liable parties, will take time. As compassionate legal professionals, we make every stride to inform you of any developments regarding your case.
What does it cost to hire a Los Angeles insurance bad faith lawyer?
Though certain law firms may charge legal fees upfront, at the Dolan Law Firm, we are committed to our clients, and we know that in the event of bad faith on the part of an insurer, the client does not want to worry about legal costs on top of other losses they have suffered. That is why we work on a contingency fee basis only, which means that we only get paid if we achieve a winning verdict or settlement. This allows the client to focus on their own needs while we take care of the details and progress of their case.
How much compensation may I expect to get in a bad faith insurance case?
As the circumstances of every case is different, we cannot provide an estimate for your case. As experienced Los Angeles insurance bad faith attorneys, we go over the specifics of each case in detail and advise on the potential outcome they might be able to expect.