San Francisco Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

San Francisco Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

Insurance companies have an obligation to treat every claim with respect and fairness. When an act of bad faith causes financial hardship for a small business or family, the attorneys of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack can help.

Bad faith insurance law refers to a breach of contractual obligations. Every insurance policy is an agreed-upon contract. When an insurance company fails to uphold its responsibilities to a claimant, a San Francisco bad faith insurance lawyer can fight for their full compensation.

Why You Should Work with Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack

Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack have been asserting the rights of individuals, businesses, and governmental entities for 50 years. Our trial attorneys are nationally-recognized for their dedication and aggressive representation. Throughout the years, our litigation firm has helped shape bad faith insurance law in California. 

Some of our landmark cases include:

  • Northridge Earthquake class action against Allstate
  • More than 800 individual claims from the California firestorms (2004 and 2007)
  • Mandalay Bay Hotel sinking fraud claims

Our firm has always been at the forefront of bad faith insurance law. If you believe your insurance claim has been delayed or denied for unethical reasons, consult with our exceptional litigation team today. We offer free initial consultations and most of our cases are handled on a contingency basis.

Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit Damages

Filing a claim against an insurance company for acts of bad faith can help you recover the funds you were denied. In addition, bad faith claims may provide monetary compensation for other losses.

Contractual damages involve the value of the claim itself and what your policy should have paid out for your particular circumstances. In some cases, interest may be added to the amount owed to the policyholder.

When a claim is unethically delayed, denied, or only partially paid, it can lead to other losses. Extracontractual damages often include both economic and non-economic damages. For example, if a denied insurance claim led you to borrow money to pay household bills or medical expenses, you may be entitled to recover the interest incurred from the debt. Non-economic damages may include emotional distress. 

Punitive damages may be awarded under certain circumstances. Punitive damages are used to punish acts of wrongdoing and do not depend on the losses of the policyholder. At Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, a SanFrancisco bad faith insurance lawyer can examine the details of your case and discuss the possible damages you may be entitled to recover.

Laws Prohibiting Insurance Bad Faith in California 

In California, bad faith insurance tort law is taken very seriously. An insurance policy is a contract that binds the individual or business and the insurance company. When the insurer fails to uphold the terms of the policy, it may be an act of bad faith entitling the policyholder to take legal action.

Examples of bad faith may include:

  • Delaying claim payout: Insurance companies may purposely delay your payment by stalling the investigation or requesting documentation piece by piece rather than all at once. 
  • Unjustly denying a claim: When your claim is denied, the insurance company must give a reason. If your insurer fails or refuses to explain the reason behind the denial, it may be a sign of bad faith.
  • Terminating coverage: An insurance company sometimes tries to cancel coverage to avoid paying a legitimate claim. 
  • Failing to properly investigate: As per most policies, the insurance company has a duty to investigate your claim. If your insurer fails to conduct a proper investigation or ignores evidence, you may have a case of bad faith. 
  • Paying only part of the policy: Every insurance policy has a maximum payout. Insurance companies can act in bad faith when they fail to fulfill the terms of the policy and only pay part of a claim. 

Accidents and major disasters are often financially ruinous for individuals and businesses. Insurance is in place to prevent excessive monetary liability. However, when an insurance company fails to uphold the terms of your contract and/or comply with its legal obligations, filing a bad faith lawsuit may be the best choice to recover the compensation you are owed. 

Insurance Companies Are Obligated to Act in Good Faith

Both the insurance company and policyholders are required to act in good faith when handling claims. Policyholders are expected to be honest about their circumstances, injuries, and losses. Insurance companies must process claims in a fair and reasonable manner. 

Acting in good faith is a generalized concept that includes many responsibilities, including:

  • Paying on a claim should be based on the details of the policy
  • Every claim requires a full and appropriate investigation
  • Claims should be investigated and paid in a timely manner
  • Claims should be handled within the policy limits and exclusions
  • Fair payouts should rely on the financial losses of the claimant within the policy limits

Bad faith is a challenging area of law. Insurance companies can be well-versed in justifying the reasons for their claim denials or delays. If you suspect your insurer is acting in bad faith, having experienced counsel on your side may be your best option. Attorneys are skilled negotiators and can help you through the claims process and handle negotiations for your claim.

Signs Your Insurer Is Acting in Bad Faith

Insurance and policy details can be confusing for policyholders. While your insurer is required to be clear and honest about what your policy covers, the company is still a for-profit business and will protect its bottom line. However, not every claim delay or denial is an act of bad faith. 

An experienced bad faith insurance attorney in San Francisco can help point out possible signs and how policyholders can protect themselves. Some signs your insurer is acting in bad faith include:

  • Avoiding communication
  • Asking for unrelated documentation as a possible delay tactic
  • Pressuring claimants to accept payouts lower than their policy entitles them
  • Changing the policy terms after filing a claim

Dealing with an insurance company is always strenuous. When an insurer acts unfairly or unethically, policyholders can suffer significant financial consequences.

Contact Engstrom, Lipscomb, & Lack

Having a San Francisco bad faith insurance attorney on your side can mean the difference between a fair claim payout and potential financial ruin. At Engstrom, Lipscomb, & Lack, we have years of experience holding insurance companies accountable for acts of bad faith. Our exceptional litigation team has a long track record for negotiating settlements that are fair. 

If you believe your insurer is mishandling your claim, contact our firm today for a free consultation.