Bad Faith Insurance: 4 Tricks Insurance Companies Do to Devalue Your Claim

Bad Faith Insurance Attorney Los Angeles County

Disability insurance provides financial relief to employees who can’t work temporarily due to a disability. Short-term policies offer the worker a portion of their salary if they’re unable to work for three to six months, while long-term policies are for those who need more than six months to recover.

However, plenty of insurance companies aim to pay out as little as possible, which puts you at a disadvantage. If your insurance provider fails or refuses to process, investigate, or pay your claim, you have the right to file a lawsuit for bad faith insurance.

It’s critical to know the signs that your insurance is attempting to low-ball you. These four red flags tell you that it’s time to seek the counsel of an experienced disability insurance lawyer and bring your case to court.

1.       Changing your policy term

Some companies modify the terms of your policy to create a loophole that would let them deny or reduce your settlement. Often, they make the changes without notifying you and hide them behind confusing jargon.

It’s important to keep your copy of your original insurance contract and any succeeding amendments to protect yourself from this kind of deception. This will allow you to compare the documents and determine if the insurance company changed your policy term without your knowledge.

2.       Not acknowledging your claim or your evidence

The elements of bad faith claims differ per state, but one of the most common factors is the insurance company’s failure to acknowledge your claim or even the evidence you provide. Although this is not conclusive evidence of bad faith, it can help you build your case.

When your insurer ignores your medical receipts, hospital bills, or damage estimates, it may be a sign that they are planning to reduce or reject your claim. Some companies will also try to dispute your medical claims, weakening your case by arguing that your disability or injuries are not as severe as you say.

3.       Offering a quick settlement

Some injuries may not immediately show symptoms. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, may have subtle symptoms that lead to severe eventual impairment.

Insurance companies have enough experience to understand that some disabilities take time to manifest. So they will rush the process and offer you a quick settlement before you get a clearer picture of the extent of your injuries.

4.       Advising you not to seek legal counsel

This is the most alarming sign that your insurance provider is trying to low-ball you. It can be an attempt to keep you uninformed of your legal rights and options, which prevents you from fully understanding the terms of your policy.

They will try to convince you that lawyers are expensive, which only adds to your medical bills. But this is not always true. Some insurance attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to pay them if you lose the case.

You want a capable lawyer by your side to make sure that you understand your policy, your paperwork is accurate and complete, and your case is as solid as possible.

Disability Insurance Lawyer in Los Angeles

At Haffner Law, our disability attorneys are experienced and aggressive in dealing with bad faith insurance. We will guide you throughout the process and gather as much evidence to establish a strong case. Our lawyers will also assist you in appealing a rejected claim, helping you fight for the settlement you deserve.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER (213-514-5681), and let’s discuss your case.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

Bad Faith Insurance: What to Do When Your Insurer Isn’t Honest With You

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You’ve likely heard the term “insurance fraud” before. It refers to when you misinform an insurance company with the intent of collecting unwarranted benefits. Insurance fraud includes faking an accident, damaging property, or even faking death to collect compensation.

While insurance fraud is fairly common, there are times when it is the insurance company that acts in a less than forthcoming way.

Insurance companies are legally required to be as honest with you as you are required to be with them. But, what if your agent misled or misinformed you when you signed the terms of your insurance contract? Or what if the insurer makes a false statement about your policy, to favor the company instead of you, the policyholder? A seasoned bad faith insurance attorney could help you get the compensation you are rightfully owed.

Understanding Bad Faith Insurance

Bad faith insurance applies to any insurance policy, including auto insurance, health insurance, and life insurance. The action done in bad faith may have been intentional or out of negligence, but the result is the same. A simple mistake, however, does not necessarily constitute as bad faith. When you file a claim, the insurance company may investigate it to confirm that you are owed coverage and to determine the appropriate compensation. They’ll base their decision on the facts and situation surrounding your claim, as well as the terms of your policy. The company may deny your application based on terms that aren’t stated in your policy, or they might lead you into accepting a low compensation amount—these scenarios constitute bad faith

Filing a Bad Faith Insurance Claim

If you think your insurance company isn’t being all that upfront with you, you should submit a bad faith insurance claim. The State of California addresses bad faith practices via the “unfair claims settlement practice” under its Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations.

Here’s a guide to ensure the success of your bad faith insurance lawsuit:

  1. Review Your Contract

Review the full copy of your insurance contract to make sure the conditions of the policy will cover your claim. Make sure that the policy is dated earlier than your claim.

  1. Gather Documents of Your Claim

Prove that your original claim is valid and that it falls under the terms of your policy. Gather all photos, receipts, reports, estimates, and communication with the insurer. It is paramount to prove that the insurer acted in bad faith; that is to say, they favored their gain over your rightful compensation.

  1. Keep a Record of the Denial of Claim

If the insurer denies your claim, request the supervisor to go over the claim and denial. Document all your correspondence with the insurance company and their statements about the denial.

  1. Make a Final Demand

If the denial isn’t reversed, send a demand letter specifying your claim. Inform the insurance company of your intent to file for bad faith insurance if you are not adequately compensated. Make sure to get proof of mailing.

  1. File a Complaint

If the insurer doesn’t respond or refuses to reverse the claim after 60 days, file a complaint in the state’s department of insurance.

Buying an insurance policy means securing protection and peace of mind that your insurer will have your back when something happens. If the insurance company denies your claim for unfair reasons or gives you a low compensation, pursue a bad faith action.

Secure Favorable Compensation with Haffner Law

Don’t let an insurance company exploit you when you are at your most vulnerable. Improve your chances of winning your case and securing the compensation you deserve by hiring experienced lawyers from Haffner Law.

Our Los Angeles-based law firm makes the legal process easy and will provide you the experience and wisdom to determine the steps to take for your case. Our team commits to your case and will not give up until you recover the full compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation with one of our bad faith insurance lawyers by calling 1-844-HAFFNER or filling out our online contact form.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

A Look Into California’s Wildfire Insurance Denial Problem

Wildfire Damage Lawyer Los Angeles

About 26 million residents in the states of California and Arizona are under red flag warnings because of the recent wildfires in the area, according to CNN’s most recent coverage of these events. These fires have scorched acres of natural, residential, and commercial land and continue to threaten thousands of California homes as they spread.

While these blazes pose severe threats to human life and properties, some insurance companies may be backing off their services for residents in the state. Know all about these fires and why insurance claims for them are being denied.

State of the Wildfires

As of late November, there have been 6,402 wildfires in California for 2019. Here are the most significant ones in the year.

  • The Kincade Fire – This was the state’s largest wildfire in 2019, with over 77,758 acres of land razed in Sonoma County, and destroyed or damaged more than 120 structures. It started in late October and was declared 100% contained in early November.
  • The Maria Fire – This started in late October and burned 9,999 acres of land. The Ventura County Fire Department contained it on November 7th.
  • The Tick Fire – The Tick Fire charred 4,615 acres of land in the Santa Clarita area and raged from October 24th to 31st. One of the properties it completely destroyed was a family farm. The owners were only able to save 20 animals from their burnt-down property.
  • The Cave Fire – This brush fire in Santa Barbara County has threatened several residential communities, prompting evacuations. It has been mostly contained by rain and the efforts of the fire crews. At the time of this posting, it is still ongoing, and has already damaged 4367 acres.
  • The Getty Fire – This started in late October and took eight houses in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Fire Department fully contained the blaze on November 5th, after it burned 745 acres of land.

Denied Claims

Despite eight wildfires ravaging the state this year, causing an estimated $80 billion worth of damage, a lot of Californians are still having their insurance claims denied. A report by CBS News found that insurance companies refuse to protect over 350,000 property owners in the state.

And the 33,000 people who were successfully insured before were barred from having their contracts renewed.  Insurers don’t want to provide coverage because they deemed the properties as too much of a fire risk.

These conditions are unacceptable, especially if you’ve lost thousands of dollars in property, or worse, your loved ones in a wildfire. This is why it’s crucial to hire a law firm that handles wrongful death and bad faith insurance claims. Companies that may have unwittingly started some of the fires with their equipment ,and insurers who deny claims or protection from wildfires must be held accountable.

Conclusion: The Way Forward

Wildfires are often unavoidable natural occurrences. As such, people who live in wildfire-prone areas must have their properties insured. Those who were denied coverage are now getting the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan to protect their valuable homes. FAIR was explicitly created for individuals who are denied insurance because they live in high-risk areas. While this plan is only seen as a last resort, it gives owners peace of mind knowing that they’ll receive compensation for the items and properties they may lose in the event of another fire.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

If you’re one of the residents or business owners whose wildfire insurance claims were denied, speak with an experienced lawyer immediately. Haffner Law provides representation for those who were injured, lost their loved one, or had their property destroyed because of other people’s negligence. We offer our legal services in Los Angeles and neighboring cities.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER or 213-514-5681 today for a free, no-obligation case review from an experienced lawyer.

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What You Need To Know About Contingent Beneficiaries for Life Insurance

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Like a will, a life insurance policyholder needs to keep documents updated to reflect changes in circumstance and to avoid problems with claims when the time comes. For the policyholder, the beneficiary designation requires checking to ensure those nominated are still legible and relevant.

When a primary beneficiary cannot or will not receive the insurance benefit, for whatever reason, secondary nominees become eligible to receive the payout. When filling out your beneficiary designation, you have the option to name contingent beneficiaries to accommodate this situation.

Read more to find out.

 What are contingent beneficiaries?

Contingent or secondary benefits are people, organizations or other entities identified by the policyholder as beneficiaries if the primary beneficiary refuses, cannot be located or is ineligible.

Minors can be named as contingent beneficiaries. However, they will need an appointed legal guardian who will receive and manage any payout until the child reaches 18 or 21, depending on state law. The policyholder can also extend the guardian’s management of the benefit until a later age.

 When can contingent beneficiaries receive the benefit?

Primary beneficiaries may become ineligible to claim life insurance benefits for many reasons. Out-of-date information, such as significant life changes of the primary beneficiary, including marriage, divorce or birth, can compromise their claim.

Another example is if the primary beneficiary is directly involved or is an accomplice to killing the policyholder to receive the benefit. Most insurance policies cover death by murder. This means beneficiaries still receive the insurance benefit if the policyholder was murdered, provided that they died after a two-year contestability period. However, if the primary beneficiary was directly involved or is an accomplice to the murder, then the insurance benefit will go to the contingent beneficiary.

 How many contingent beneficiaries can be assigned?

As with the number of primary beneficiaries, a policyholder can list multiple contingent beneficiaries. If the primary beneficiary does not receive policy payments, the named contingent beneficiaries will share the death benefit. Each recipient receives a percentage of the total sum as determined by the policyholder or the court.

A contingent beneficiary receives the death benefit as stipulated in the insurance policy for the primary beneficiary. For example, if the policyholder wanted the primary to receive a monthly sum for ten years, then the contingent beneficiary will receive it the same way.

 What to do for denied life insurance claims

Insurance providers may deny a claim for several reasons, including out-of-date beneficiary designations or if the contingent beneficiary is a minor.

If you have any concerns or find yourself denied what appears to be legally yours, seek a life insurance lawyer to assist you. The lawyer will review your policy, determine your eligibility and help you in your next steps.

Haffner Law is a trusted law firm in Los Angeles. We have helped countless people in their fight against wrongly denied insurance claims. If there is evidence that the death benefit of your partner or relative was wrongly denied, we can help you file a complaint.

Get a free consultation today. Call us at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637).

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

 

Bad Faith Claim: Should You File for Tort Damages?

bad faith insurance lawyer in los angeles

When your insurer refuses to accept your claim after conducting an improper investigation on your property, it’s only right to sue them for bad faith. But while bad faith claims are usually contract damages, you may also get compensation for tort damages, such as emotional distress and economic losses. Here’s what you need to know about tort damages in Los Angeles and when you should file for it.

Your Responsibility as a Policyholder

Bad faith laws vary from state to state, but no matter where bad faith occurred, the policyholder is often asked to prove two things, according to legal information website FindLaw: that the insurance claim was withheld and that the reason behind it was unreasonable. You should have documentation regarding your insurance claim and papers or history pointing to how it was denied.

Work with a bad faith insurance lawyer to reinforce your claim that your insurance provider misinterpreted facts about your policy, failed to investigate according to set standards, was unable to respond to your claim within a reasonable time, or failed to give a proper explanation on why your claim was denied.

What the Research Says

A recent study called “Does the Threat of Insurer Liability for ‘Bad Faith’ Affect Insurance Settlements” showed that bad faith claims filed as tort yielded higher settlement amounts and reduced the likelihood of a claim being underpaid compared to non-tort cases. It found that the first time a court allowed the application of tort liability was in 1973, as part of the case Gruenberg v. Aetna Insurance Company. The California Supreme Court ruled that third-party claims and first-party claims are “two aspects of the same duty.”

From here, states who implemented tort liability soared through the early 70s and stagnated in the early 90s. Only a few places like New York, Virginia, and Minnesota haven’t applied bad faith tort yet.

The review, published in The Journal of Risk and Insurance 2014, analyzed automobile insurance claims for accidents in the U.S. from 1972 to 1997. It compared settlements before and after selected states like California enforced tort-based bad faith regimes. The results after tort-based regimes were enacted were significantly positive, according to the researchers. The percentage of claims settled under bad faith tort rose from just under 20% in 1973 to around 80% in 1997, according to the paper’s figures.

The researchers showed that being able to sue for tort damages gave policyholders more power when they’re going against large insurance corporations. It’s a viable option for the insured to take to get proper compensation from the damages caused by the denial of their insurance claim.

Should You Sue for Tort Damages?

If you’ve lost income from not getting treatment on time because of claim denial, sue for tort damages on top of your bad faith claim. However, you’ll need an experienced lawyer in Los Angeles to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Haffner Lawyers has experience in insurance negotiations and filing bad faith claims. We help clients recover bad faith damages like economic losses and emotional distress. We’re ready to work tirelessly to give you the value you’re owed according to the law.

Call 1-844-HAFFNER or 213-514-5861 now to get legal representation.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)