Insurance Companies Have A Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing When Denying Claims
Los Angeles Insurance Bad Faith Attorneys
Insurance companies must respect a duty of good faith and fair dealing when working with their policy holders. When an insurer denies a benefits claim unreasonably or without proper cause, it has acted in bad faith. California insurance law protects consumers against unfair practices by insurance companies. Below are a few of the ways in which the law protects policy holders against unfair claim settlements.
Insurers Must Be Truthful And Act In Good Faith
- Insurers may not misrepresent to claimants pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to any coverages at issue. They are also not allowed to mislead a claimant as to the applicable statute of limitations.
- Insurance companies may not compel insureds to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by the insureds, when the insureds have made claims for amounts reasonably similar to the amounts ultimately recovered.
- Insurers may not attempt to settle a claim by an insured for less than the amount to which a reasonable person would have believed he or she was entitled by reference to written or printed advertising material accompanying or made part of an application.
- Insurance companies cannot directly advise a claimant they should not contact an attorney.
- It is against the law for insurance companies to attempt to settle claims on the basis of an application that was altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of, the insured, his or her representative, agent, or broker.
They Must Act In A Reasonable Time Frame
- Insurers must act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies.
- Must have, and apply reasonable standards for the prompt investigation and processing of claims arising under insurance policies.
- Must affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof of loss requirements have been completed and submitted by the insured.
- Must attempt in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear.
- It is against the law for insures to fail to settle claims promptly, where liability has become apparent, under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage.
- Delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring an insured, claimant, or the physician of either, to submit a preliminary claim report, and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof of loss forms, both of which submissions contain substantially the same information is also illegal under California law.
Insurance Bad Faith
The implied covenant of good faith carries several duties, including, but not limited to:
- Thoroughly investigate the insured’s claim and to fully inquire into all possible bases that might support payment of the claim;
- Objectively evaluate the insured’s claim and to give at least as much consideration to the insured’s interests as it does its own;
- Promptly investigate the insured’s claim;
- Timely respond to the insured’s inquiries and otherwise communicate with the insured.
If the insurance carrier breaches any of these, or any other duties of good faith, we can file an insurance bad faith lawsuit. In these situations, you might be entitled to financial compensation over and above the benefits which are owed to you. These amounts can include damages for emotional stress, economic damages and punitive damages. Contact our firm to learn more about your options.
If you or a loved one has been unreasonably denied benefits, it is crucial that you contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options.
There are many ways in which an insurance company may have acted unfairly that you may not realize are illegal. Before you except a settlement offer, sign away your rights to sue, or even accept that an insurance company’s decision if the final word call our law offices for a free initial consultation and get an honest answer about your rights.
At Donahue & Horrow LLP, our insurance bad faith lawyers have more than 50 combined years of experience helping clients throughout Southern California. We have handled cases including long-term care, disability insurance, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Clients rely on our extensive knowledge of the law to guide them to a successful resolution.
Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation With a Glendale Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
To learn more about how our attorneys can help you, schedule a free consultation today. We represent clients in Glendale, Los Angeles and other communities throughout Southern California. Call us at 877-664-5407 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.