When an insurance company or its adjuster unethically denies, underpays, or mishandles a claim, it is considered an act of bad faith. California law prohibits violations of insurance policy terms and claims handling regulations. If you have recently filed an insurance claim in Los Angeles and suspect it has been denied unfairly or is being mishandled, you need an experienced bad faith insurance attorney.
At Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, we have decades of experience asserting and defending the rights of insurance policyholders. We have successfully sued many of the major insurance companies to force them to provide the full and complete insurance coverage that was promised to them. In addition, when bad faith conduct is committed against an individual we are often able to recover sums in excess of the insurance policy ‘limits’ due to the emotional distress that results from the bad faith conduct. Turn to Los Angeles-based Engstrom, Lipscomb, and Lack today to uphold your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.
Recoverable Damages in Insurance Bad Faith Claims
Families and businesses can suffer major losses after a disaster or serious accident. Injuries can prevent individuals from working for an extensive amount of time. Catastrophes like a wildfire can cost a family everything they have.
Business entities and individuals rely on their insurance policies to protect them from significant financial harm. However, when the insurance company denies or delays paying a claim, they may be entitled to recover damages.
Contract damages are simply the value of the claim. Suppose your damage was worth $100,000 and covered by your policy. If the insurance company unjustly denies your claim, you are entitled to recover the full $100,000 plus interest.
Recovery for extracontractual damages is when an insurance company is forced to pay for things outside of the coverages set forth in the insurance policy. Extracontractual damages can consist of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damage is the amount of financial loss to the policyholder. Non-economic damage is the intangible harm done, such as emotional distress. California law recognizes that in the unique circumstance of a consumer paying an insurance company to accept a risk and then the insurance company failing to promptly meet that obligation, emotional distress may result. In addition, you may be able to claim your attorney fees.
Unlike the compensatory damages above, punitive damages are awarded as punishment. Compensatory damages involve losses suffered by the policyholder. Punitive damages punish oppressive or fraudulent behavior.
Punitive damages are more difficult to prove. While most bad faith cases can rest on the likelihood that an insurance company acted unethically, there must be “clear and convincing” evidence to support punitive damages. If the insurance company acted with malice and intentionally concealed critical evidence, punitive damages may be awarded.
When an insurance company commits an act of bad faith against your claim, the monetary toll can be high. Many families and small businesses suffer major financial hardship after a disaster or accident.
The attorneys of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack are here to help evaluate your circumstances and strategize the best course of action to recover the compensation you deserve.
For a free legal consultation contact our lawyers 310-552-3800
Why You Should Work with Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack
Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack have been defending the rights of citizens since 1974. Our highly accomplished litigation team has extensive experience in bad faith insurance tort law. In California, our firm has helped shape insurance law to what it is today.
Some of our most prominent and high dollar value cases included:
- Over 12,000 claims in a class-action lawsuit against Allstate resulted from the Northridge Earthquake of 1994.
- In addition, we represented more than 800 individual claims in the Northridge Earthquake
- Our firm protected the rights of numerous clients in State Farm Earthquake cases that yielded over a $100,000 recovery
- During the California firestorms of 2004 and 2007, our firm fought on behalf of 800 individual claimants.
- We also represented major construction firms in Nevada concerning fraud against Maryland Casualty
Our skills and experience regarding insurance law are widely respected. The California state legislature, the California Attorney General’s office, and the California Department of Insurance have all consulted with our knowledgeable team.
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Understanding Bad Faith Insurance Tort Law
Bad faith insurance tort law concerns insurers failing to fulfill their contractual obligation due to a negligent error or intentional deed. An act of bad faith defrauds or misleads the policyholder by denying, delaying, or only partially paying a claim.
While there can be many instances of bad faith, the most common signs involve:
- Lack of communication: When an insurer fails to return phone calls or emails in a reasonable amount of time, they may not be processing your claim or using unsavory delay tactics.
- Delaying investigation: One of the most common ways an insurer will delay processing a claim is by failing to conduct an investigation within a reasonable time. Evidence is time-sensitive and can be lost due to an unethical delay.
- Revising or terminating your policy: The terms of your contract were agreed upon and signed when you obtained the insurance policy. If an insurance company changes your contract without notification, they may be altering your policy to exclude the circumstances of your claim.
- Payment delays: Once your claim has been processed and approved, your insurance company has 30 days to send payment. If your payment is delayed without cause, it may be a sign of bad faith.
- Misrepresenting facts or policy details: Insurers are required to act in good faith and explain the details of their policy fully and to your understanding. If the insurance adjuster cannot explain the reason for your claim denial or other policy information in a clear and concise manner, it may be a sign of unethical misrepresentation.
- Unreasonable offers to settle: Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators taught to minimize any payout to protect the company’s profitability. In many cases, an adjuster may use high-pressure tactics to encourage a claimant to accept an offer much lower than their policy entails.
- Documentation delay tactics: It is the responsibility of the policyholder to supply adequate documentation to support their claim. However, if an insurance company asks for evidence piece by piece or unreasonable documentation, it may be a sign of bad faith.
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You Need Experienced Representation from an Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer in Los Angeles
The esteemed attorneys of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack have years of experience representing individuals and businesses in bad faith insurance claims. Our internationally-recognized litigation team has a long track record of success and a history of high dollar value settlements.
If you suspect your insurer is acting in bad faith, contact a Los Angeles bad faith insurance attorney and schedule a free consultation. We have the skills and resources you need to protect your claim and recover the compensation you deserve.
Call or text 310-552-3800 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form