When you buy an insurance policy, whether it’s for automobile, home, or life, you are expecting to be protected within the limits of the policy. Sometimes, however, a person can find himself in a dispute with the insurer when the company denies a claim or won’t pay the full amount of the damages.
If this has happened to you, it’s recommended that you seek the help of a qualified Riverside car accident attorney who handles bad faith claims.
The personal injury attorneys at Avrek Law Firm in Irvine and Riverside take the time to explain what is occurring, keeping you in the loop the whole time so you are never wondering what is happening. We have over 30 years of combined experience and we know how to get results. You can reach us at 1-877-959-5556.
What is an Bad Faith Insurance Claim?
An insurance carrier has the duty to act in good faith by paying legitimate claims in a reasonable amount of time (within policy limits). A common example of an insurance bad faith claim is one that involves auto insurance. If you get into an auto accident and the other driver is at fault, you ordinarily make a claim against the other carrier. You want them to pay for your car damages and any medical bills for injuries sustained. You may also need to be reimbursed for a rental car. Perhaps you missed work and therefore lost income. If the injuries were very serious, the bills could be massive.
The insurance company could be practicing bad faith if they deny your claim, take too long to process it, or don’t pay the full amount of the claim (within policy limits). If it can be determined that the insurance company acted in bad faith, they could be sued.
Bad Faith Insurance: Breach of Contract
Just because an insurance company denies, underpays, or delays processing your claim, it doesn’t automatically mean they are acting in bad faith. It could be determined there was only a breach of contract, and if so, they would have to pay the fair value of the claim. For a bad faith claim to prevail, it must be proven the insurance company was unreasonable in its denial or underpayment or took longer than necessary to investigate or handle the claim.
When it is proven the insurance company acted in bad faith, the recoverable compensation could be substantial. This could include the actual amount of the damages from the claim plus additional related costs that were incurred due to the denial, attorney fees, and punitive damages.
There could be a case of bad faith with a first party claim as well. A claim could be made against a homeowner’s policy for a broken water pipe that caused water damage. The company could deny the claim without proper cause, or refuse to pay for all the covered damages incurred within policy limits, for example.
Legal Help in California for a Bad Faith Insurance Claim