Spotting a Bad Faith Insurer: Red Flags to Look Out For

bad faith insurance lawyer los angeles

California law states that all drivers and car owners must “establish financial responsibility” by buying auto liability insurance. As a law-abiding citizen, you pay your premiums diligently every month. In return, you trust that your insurer will compensate you accordingly when the need arises.

If your insurer fails in this regard, you may need the services of a bad faith insurance attorney.

As a law practice that has handled hundreds of personal injury and car accident claims in Los Angeles, we’ve become aware of the poor practices of insurance providers who act in bad faith — namely, avoiding to fulfill their obligations to their paying customers.

Practices of Bad Faith Insurers

How do you know that an insurance provider is acting in bad faith? Below are examples of their tactics:

  • Denying compensation and citing vague or complex clauses in the contract to justify their decision.
  • Denying compensation without explanation.
  • Refusing to provide the full compensation that clients are entitled to receive based on their policy coverage.
  • Misrepresenting the contract’s language to justify why the company is denying a claim.
  • Asking for an unreasonable amount and scope of documentation about the accident or injuries.
  • Citing laws that are outdated or do not apply to a client’s claim.
  • Delaying investigations or failing to thoroughly investigate a claim.
  • Lack of communication; failing to get in touch with the relevant parties in a claim.
  • Delaying payments for awarded compensation.

Signs of a Bad Faith Insurance Provider

If you’re already in business with bad faith insurers, all that’s left to do is identify any bad faith practices being exercised against you and pursue a resolution you believe is best for you.

If you’re still in the process of searching for an insurance provider, here are red flags to be mindful of:

  1. Abysmal customer ratings – Client feedback on online forums and social media can give you an idea of an insurer’s shortcomings. Unhappy clients are rarely silent, especially in the age of social media.
  2. A track record for low settlement offers – Some would argue that low ratings do not automatically implicate an insurance company of bad faith practices, so another indicator would be if the company has a reputation for lowballing settlements.
  3. Vague contracts with unnecessarily complex wording – Have a trusted and experienced attorney review your insurance contract before signing it. If the document uses too many vague terms that leave a lot of room for misinterpretation, they might be used against you when you file a claim.
  4. Aggressive sales tactics – Agents who pressure you to sign on an insurance policy as quickly as possible are only looking to increase their commissions and aren’t too concerned whether the policy you’re buying is best for you. If you bite, you could be signing on to a policy with minimal coverage, a vague contract, and probable bad faith disputes.

Claim the Compensation You Deserve with Haffner Law

If you recently got involved in an accident and feel like your insurance company is dragging its feet in compensating you, consult Haffner Law’s bad faith insurance attorneys as quickly as possible.

Our L.A.-based lawyers have successfully won bad faith insurance claims for many clients in California. You can rest assured that we will do our utmost to do the same for you.

Contact Haffner Law at 213-514-5681 or submit an inquiry on our website.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

What Non-Centralization of Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuits Mean

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The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on the insurance industry, specifically on the business front. One of the outcomes was the increase of bad faith insurance claims against business interruption insurance providers. As with most things regarding the pandemic, the surges in business interruption coverage claims and lawsuits against insurers that fail to pay up are unprecedented. So, to better serve policyholders and business owners, motions were passed to centralize bad faith insurance lawsuits.

Haffner Law explains what centralized lawsuits mean, and why federal courts rejected the motions involving business interruption insurance claims.

The Pandemic and Its Impact on Businesses

When the outbreak first started and state and city governments imposed lockdowns in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, small and medium businesses were the first to experience significant declines in their daily and monthly revenues. Brick-and-mortar businesses in the leisure and hospitality industries, in particular, were severely affected by social distancing regulations and the widely implemented work-from-home employment arrangements.

As is the practice of sound business ownership, the owners of these small and medium businesses religiously paid insurance premiums for business interruption coverage. They have every right, therefore, to file insurance claims when business declined thanks to the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acts of “Bad Faith”

Under normal circumstances, businesses will have no issue claiming what they’re due from their insurance companies. Unfortunately, the overwhelming number of businesses that went under during the pandemic has put a strain on the insurance industry as a whole. As business entities themselves, insurers are also looking out for their own interests. Hence, reports about an increasing number of insurers denying business interruption coverage claims increased, and along with them, the bad faith insurance claims against insurance companies.

Motion to Centralize Lawsuits

A milestone ruling in August 2020 put an end to several plaintiff’s motions to centralize lawsuits filed by businesses seeking fair business interruption coverage against insurance companies.

Seeing that many of their peers have been victims of “bad faith” acts by insurers, many business owners (the plaintiffs) and law firms that do not specialize in insurance coverage lawsuits thought it beneficial to have coordinated, multidistrict litigation (MDL) in federal court. This motion is based on the premise that business interruption insurance claims related to the pandemic, the structure of the insurance policies, and the insurance laws governing them are broadly the same around the country.

MDLs are usually applied to lawsuits involving vehicular crashes, defective medical devices, drugs, etc. that involve many people. MDL proceedings allow courts to manage cases with a common issue better and more efficiently by centralizing or consolidating them into one case.

The Problems with Centralizing Business Interruption Insurance Lawsuits

The federal courts decided to decline the motion to establish an MDL for business interruption insurance lawsuits for these reasons:

  • The common core issues raised by the plaintiffs that sought centralization were superficial.
  • There are still too many unique variables for each lawsuit, and litigating them as one case might undermine the excess coverage that some plaintiffs are justly entitled to receive.
  • Forms and policy language between insurers may be similar, but each might have unique terminologies that would make each coverage different from one another.

The federal courts advise businesses to pursue claims and lawsuits individually instead. It is the most optimal approach to recovering claims considering the factors that make each business interruption claim unique.

Pursue Your Just Compensation with Haffner Law

These times have surely been difficult for you and your business. We can help ease your financial burden with our bad faith insurance claims services.

Assert your right to receive the compensation your business interruption insurance policy promises. Hire Haffner Law’s bad faith insurance attorneys to defend your claims and negotiate an optimal payout from your insurance company. Call us at 213-514-5681 or fill out the contact form on our website.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

How to Appeal for Denied Health Insurance Claims

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A health insurance policy is not a guarantee that you will get reimbursed for all your healthcare expenses, or that your hospitalization costs will all be shouldered (whether in part or entirely) by your insurer. Insurance might be marketed as a customer-centric product, but remember that behind these products are companies that must look out for their financial welfare. In all fairness, they also need to vet applications so that only qualified claims will be reimbursed.

What happens if your insurance claim is denied? You can file an appeal if you think the outcome has no basis and is unjust. If all else fails, our bad faith insurance attorney in Los Angeles is only one phone call away; but for now, let’s focus on your appeal.

What to Do If Your Insurance Claim Gets Denied

If your insurer denies your claim, they will send you an official letter stating the reason for the denial and possibly quote clauses in your policy that presumably justifies this decision. Don’t panic or be disheartened right away if you get such a response because you can still file for an appeal.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Review the appeal process for your insurance company. It differs for every company. Talk to your agent, and ask whom to address your appeal, what documentation you need to prepare, the deadlines for submitting an appeal, and so forth. The information may be available on their website, but it always helps to discuss it with someone knowledgeable about this process.
  2. Review your policy. Take note of the reason your insurer cited for the denial of your claims. Review the clauses that supposedly invalidates your claim. It’s not yet necessary to consult an attorney at this point, but it would be helpful if you can go through those clauses with people who know how to pick apart the legalese and show the key points of your contract.
  3. Prepare your letter of appeal and supporting documents. It must contain your personal information and insurance details. State the reason cited for your claim’s rejection. Explain why you think the resolution should be the opposite and that your policy covers your recent medical procedure or treatment (this is why it’s advantageous to have an attorney advise you on the details of your insurance policy and how to argue your position). If it supports your claim, include other documents like a letter of medical necessity by your doctor, results from first tests and second opinions. These documents should explain why the treatments you received were necessary for your health condition. Finally, produce and keep copies of your appeal documents in case you need references later.
  4. Submit your appeal documents. You must make sure that your insurer has officially received your appeal, so consider sending the documents via:
  • Fax (you can get a confirmation for a successful transmission)
  • Certified mail (you can request a Return Receipt)
  • Personal delivery (you can note the time, date, and name of the staff who received your appeal documents plus note your delivery at the receptionist’s log)

If your insurer still denies your claim, you may persist with yet another appeal, or you can escalate your response by filing a bad faith insurance claim.

Haffner Law can assist with your filing. We have years and years of experience in dealing with bad faith insurance cases, and we always work our hardest to help our clients get the compensation they deserve.

Contact us via our website and schedule an appointment.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

 

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

bad faith insurance attorney in los angeles

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)