Were you denied the complete benefits listed in your insurance policy? Offered less compensation than what is due in the contract? Was the insurance payment unreasonably delayed? Let our bad faith insurance attorneys in Los Angeles help. With our in-depth knowledge of the insurance industry, we represent individuals and families who have been victims of insurance carriers’ bad faith tactics.
Being in an accident, suffering from an illness, or being affected by a natural disaster is already bad enough. But if the insurance company is not dealing with you fairly, you’re being victimized the second time around. We can’t let that happen. We believe that insurance is all about peace of mind knowing that if the worst happens, you get your needed support from your insurance company.
Understanding Insurance and Insurance Law
Insurance is a unique contract. It is virtually the only contract where people enter into it hoping they never have to use it. Insureds who purchase insurance are generally seeking protection against misfortune, not commercial advantage. When an insurance claim is made, it is because the insured has suffered a loss. At that point, the insured has already performed his or her part of the contract and paid premiums, and is in a vulnerable position. Conversely, insurance companies are in a strong position once a claim is made, as they have received the premiums, know all the rules and pitfalls, and have unlimited resources to resist the claim.
California law has developed the tort of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, also known as insurance bad faith, in an effort to level the playing field. An insurance bad faith claim is a powerful tool for insureds who have been mistreated by their insurance companies. It allows for recovery from the insurance company for damages beyond the insurance contract, including emotional distress and in some circumstances punitive damages.
To prove insurance bad faith, the insured must prove, with the help of a bad faith lawyer in Los Angeles, that the insurance company acted unreasonably, which resulted in the delay or denial of insurance benefits. The insurer's unreasonable conduct can occur in connection with the investigation of the claim, coverage issues, damages evaluations, and a number of other areas. The critical factor for insurance bad faith is whether the insurance company acted unreasonable impeding the insured's ability to obtain insurance benefits.
The tort of insurance bad faith can be alleged under the right circumstances in connection with any type of first party insurance claim. A first party claim is a claim by an insured directly against his or her own insurance company. Whether it be a disability, automobile, homeowners, commercial general liability, or any other type on insurance, an insurer's breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing gives rise to a tort claim by the insured.
Importantly, however, insurance bad faith claims are not available in third-party claims. A third party claim involves a claim made by a person who is not part of the insurance contract against the insured. An insured can generally only sue their own insurance company, not another person's insurance company, for bad faith denial of a claim.
The Los Angeles bad faith insurance lawyers at Haffner Law have extensive experience handling all types of insurance bad faith claims. If you believe you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company, Haffner Law is available as a resource to assist you.