Disaster has struck—you crashed your car or a tree fell on your house—and you are facing overwhelming repair bills. Luckily, you have insurance. All you have to do is make a claim, and you will soon get a generous check in the mail—right? Unfortunately, it does not always work that way. Despite faithfully making your premium payments, your insurance company may give you the runaround.
The ultimate goal of any insurance company is to make money. They accept your premium payments with the hope that you will never need to make a claim and they will not have to pay out. Even when you do have a legitimate claim, some companies will engage in tactics to avoid or delay paying you to protect their profits. This is known as acting in bad faith and, when this happens, you are entitled to take legal action against them.
Examples of Insurance Company Bad Faith Actions
It is hard for the average person to know when they are being taken advantage of by an insurance company, but at Case Barnett Law, we know how insurance adjusters operate. If you believe your accident or mishap should be covered under your insurance policy and your insurance company does any of the following, they are acting in bad faith:
- Fails to respond to your claim in a timely manner
- Denies, terminates, or suspends your legitimate claim
- Underpays your claim
- Tries to dissuade you from making a claim
- Misrepresents coverage during the application process
- Misrepresents the terms and benefits of your policy in any way
- Makes unreasonable demands for documentation
This is not an exhaustive list; there are many ways an insurance company can act in bad faith. If you are having any difficulty with your insurance company, contact Case Barnett Law for assistance.
Remedies Under California Law
When you hire an attorney to take on your insurance company for bad faith, you may only be out to get your claim paid. But under California law, you may be entitled to more than that. Possible damages that could be awarded in a bad faith insurance claim include the following:
- Benefits due under the policy, plus interest. Your claim will be paid as agreed in your original contract and any interest that has accumulated since you filed the claim will also be paid.
- Consequential economic losses. If you suffered additional economic losses because of the delay in payment of your insurance benefits—such as renting a car or living in a hotel—these losses will be repaid.
- Compensation for emotional distress. Battling your insurance company can cause a great deal of stress and emotional suffering. If you have been adversely affected by the process, you may be able to recover these damages as well.
- Attorney’s fees. The insurance company will be required to pay all of your attorney fees if they are found guilty of acting in bad faith.
- Punitive damages. If you can prove that the insurance company acted with fraud, oppression, or malice, they may be ordered by a judge to pay punitive damages. The purpose of these damages is to punish the insurer rather than to reward you as the plaintiff, but you will also benefit.
Insurance companies acting in bad faith should be held accountable for their actions. After all, you trust them to protect you when you are at your most vulnerable. When they let you down, they should not get away with it.
You Need an Attorney by Your Side
Attorney Case Barnett believes strongly in an insurance company’s duty to uphold their end of a contract, and he will fight for the settlement you deserve when your insurer acts in bad faith. You can be sure the insurance company will have their lawyers arguing their side, so you need to fight fire with fire. When you hire us for your insurance bad faith claim, we will take over all communications with the insurance company and free you up to focus on recovering from the disaster that put you on this journey to begin with. Call us to learn more about the personal attention you will get from our small but experienced law firm.