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San Diego Insurance Bad Faith Attorney

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Why San Diego Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers?

People buy insurance for the peace of mind that comes with not worrying about an unexpected loss. Of course, an insurance company should investigate claims and only pay for losses covered under a policy. However, when an insurance company acts unreasonably or unfairly with the intent of denying a valid claim, it has acted in Bad Faith.

What is Insurance Bad Faith?

We might think that insurance companies exist to offer us the protection we pay for, but in truth, private insurance companies exist to make profits. Their profit margin depends on taking in more money from premiums than they pay out in claims. Insurance companies hire claim adjusters for the specific job of finding reasons to minimize claim payouts or to deny claims altogether. When an insurance company fails to meet the obligations they have under contract to a policyholder, they’re committing an actionable act of bad faith. Sometimes they purposely misinterpret the language of the policy in order to renege on their obligations to policy-holders or they prolong the investigation period beyond a reasonable period in the hopes of a fast, low-balled settlement agreement.

Insurance companies can act in Bad Faith in many different ways, such as:

  • Only paying partial benefits
  • Failing to defend an insured against a third-party claim
  • Denying coverage for a valid claim
  • Unreasonably refusing to settle with a third party
  • Failing to properly investigate a claim
  • Only offering an unreasonably low amount in settlement
  • Causing undue delay in claims processing
  • Accusing an insured of fraud as a pretext to refuse to pay a claim
  • Cancelling a policy in order to avoid honoring a claim.

Due to the natural imbalance of power between a huge insurance company and an individual policyholder, a policyholder stands little chance of prevailing against an insurance company. Sometimes insurance companies threaten an appeal to an arbitration award in an attempt to compel the policyholder to sign an undervalued settlement agreement. Fortunately, the law provides a remedy for a policyholder to help level the playing field, which is a cause of action for Bad Faith.

Types of Bad Faith Insurance Denials Common in California

When we pay into an insurance policy, we naturally expect our insurance provider to pay out on our legitimate claims based on the language of the policies we sign. Unfortunately, the following common examples of bad-faith insurance denials in California show that they often don’t live up to their promises and obligations:

  • Health insurance claim denials for treatments or procedures covered under the policy
  • Denying a claim by stating the treatment wasn’t a medical necessity
  • Claiming a treatment is experimental or investigational
  • Disability claim denials
  • Life insurance pay-out denials
  • Property insurance denials
  • Rescinding a policy after a claim

It’s an injustice when an insurance company uses bad faith tactics to deny a legitimate claim. While the courts once treated these denied claims as a simple breach of contract and might only demand a company pay the amount of the original benefit, now the courts agree that insurance companies have a duty of fair dealing and good faith with their clients beyond the contract, allowing denied policyholders to sue the company on a torte claim for bad faith and receive damages awards.

Proving a Bad Faith Insurance Claim

An attorney with years of experience in insurance company bad faith claims can help you by reviewing the unique facts of your case and gathering the evidence you need to prove you have a valid claim and that your insurance company failed to meet a contractual obligation. Proving an act of bad faith on the part of the provider involves the following points:

  • Proving that benefits were owed to you based on the specific language of the policy
  • That the provider’s decision to withhold the benefits was unreasonable
  • Proving that the insurance company lacked proper cause for withholding the benefits under the policy terms or California law

If you have reason to anticipate a claim denial in bad faith by your insurance company it’s extremely important to document and keep all records regarding the original incident and your correspondence with the insurance company. Take careful, dated notes on all verbal exchanges with the provider as well so your attorney can begin to piece together the facts and timeline of your case.

Why You Need Haffner & Morgan to Represent You in Your Bad Faith Insurance Claim

It is particularly difficult for a policyholder to fight an insurance company while simultaneously dealing with the underlying loss. The attorneys at Haffner & Morgan are here to help navigate the treacherous waters of fighting an insurance company that unreasonably refuses to honor a valid claim.

There are several options available to policyholders whose insurance company commits acts of bad faith. A skilled attorney can help you recover the following damages:

  • The benefits you were due under the original policy contract
  • Interest on the unpaid benefit
  • Bad faith damages for economic consequences related to the denied claim
  • Emotional distress awards
  • Attorney’s fees

Contact a San Diego Insurance Bad Faith lawyer today for a free consultation, or call (619) 541-8787.