The role of insurance is to protect against financially taxing events like wildfires and other catastrophic events. Policyholders pay their premiums and hope they never have to file a claim. If a disaster occurs and an insurance company mishandles a claim, families can suffer tremendous financial hardship.
The attorneys of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack understand the impact denied or disputed coverage can have on families and small businesses. Insurance companies have a legal and contractual duty to handle your case with integrity. When they fail to do so, a San Diego bad faith insurance lawyer can advocate for your fair treatment.
Remedies for Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Policyholders have several remedies available for bad faith insurance claims. Depending on the details of your case, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Contract damages: Judges will typically award damages that were withheld or improperly delayed. In some cases, a claimant may be entitled to interest.
- Extracontractual damages: In addition to contract damages, monetary losses incurred as a result of the bad faith may include attorney fees, court costs, and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages: When an act of bad faith is particularly damaging, a judge may grant punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded as a way of punishing the defendant.
Under bad faith insurance tort law, claimants must prove that the act of bad faith is more than likely true. However, to be awarded punitive damages, the bad faith must be clear and convincing. The amount and type of damages will vary based on the particulars of your case.
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When You Need a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer in San Diego
Bad faith insurance lawsuits are challenging and complex. Most claims need an array of resources to be handled properly. Having aggressive and resourceful representation is critical to protecting your rights.
Depending on the circumstances, a bad faith claim can be a lengthy endeavor. An attorney may need to negotiate several times with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive the total payout you are entitled to under the policy. If payment to you is still not forthcoming, a lawsuit may be your best option.
Insurance companies have legal teams to defend their reasons for delaying or denying a claim. In addition, they often rely on experts to support their position. Defending a policyholder’s credibility and right to full compensation requires a skilled attorney to build a strong case.
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How Our Bad Faith Insurance Legal Team Can Help
At Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, our insurance legal team has extensive experience. Our internationally-recognized trial lawyers have litigated numerous bad faith claims. Among the most notable cases, our firm handled:
- 800 individual claims from the Northridge Earthquake in 1994
- Over 800 claims resulting from the 2004 and 2007 California firestorms
- The Northridge Earthquake class action suit against Allstate
- State Farm Earthquake cases
Since 1974, our firm has helped shape California’s bad faith insurance tort law. Our lawyers have been consulted for their knowledgeability by:
- The California Department of Insurance
- The California Attorney General’s office
- The state legislature
Throughout the years, we have represented individuals, businesses, and government entities. Our highly accomplished legal team works tirelessly to recover the compensation our clients deserve. We are committed to protecting the rights and best interests of those seeking justice.
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How California Defines Insurance Bad Faith
Under California law, bad faith consists of unethical insurance policies. When an insurance company agrees to cover the policyholder against losses from specific contingencies, i.e., fire and auto accidents, they are bound by contract law. Insurance companies are expected to handle every claim in good faith.
Insurance Companies Have a Duty of Good Faith
The doctrine of good faith refers to an insurance company’s responsibility to act with integrity and fairness. Insurance policies can be difficult to understand. The language is often filled with jargon and various exceptions that can confuse those outside the insurance industry.
An insurance company has a duty to disclose all relevant information and ensure that prospective clients and policyholders are well-informed. This includes explaining the details of their contract entirely to prevent misunderstandings. If an insurance company misrepresents policy benefits or information, it can be considered an act of bad faith.
Insurance companies are also obligated to handle all claims in an ethical and fair manner, including:
- Conducting proper investigations into claims
- Accepting and paying legitimate claims in a timely manner
- Pay claims according to the benefits expressed in the policy
If an insurance company fails to investigate or pay the maximum under the policyholder’s limits, it may be grounds for a bad faith insurance claim.
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Common Examples of Insurance Bad Faith in San Diego
The most frequent cases of insurance bad faith practices involve personal insurance claims. However, businesses can also be affected by acts of bad faith.
Bad faith practices often occur with homeowner’s insurance and umbrella policies. On the other hand, corporate insurance coverage often covers professional liability, commercial vehicles, and loss of income.
The common examples of bad faith practices are as follows:
- Misrepresenting the fair value of a claim or the language of the policy
- Withholding or overlooking critical information or evidence about the claim
- Failing to disclose why a claim has been denied, severely reduced, or delayed
- Requesting documentation piece by piece instead of all at once
- Using high-pressure tactics to intimidate a policyholder into accepting a low payout
- Advising policyholders against retaining legal representation
Acts of bad faith from an insurance company are not limited to the above. If you believe your claim is being mishandled by your insurance company and suspect bad faith, contact Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack.
Contact a San Diego Bad Faith Insurance Attorney
Bad faith practices can have detrimental effects on policyholders. In some cases, unethically denied claims can lead to financial ruin. Having a bad faith insurance attorney in San Diego on your side is crucial for negotiating a fair settlement.
Contact Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack to schedule a free initial consultation. We will discuss the details of your case, potential strategies, and the best course of action moving forward.
Call or text 310-552-3800 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form