Most people purchase insurance as protection against loss or injury and believe this puts them in good hands when the worst-case scenario happens. But that is not always true. At Bisnar Chase, our bad faith insurance attorneys will fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
We recognize that insurers are not always working toward your best interests. They are most concerned about their bottom line and may use tricky tactics to deny your claim or give you a lowball offer.
Our team believes in holding insurers accountable, and ensuring that they live up to their promises. We provide superior representation and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation on your bad faith insurance claim.
What is Bad Faith Insurance?
People take out insurance policies to protect against situations that result in damages, losses, and injuries. There are all kinds of insurance, including:
- Car insurance: Mandatory coverage for road users that provides compensation in the event of an accident.
- Health insurance: Covering medical expenses, such as hospitalization and treatment costs.
- Homeowners insurance: Insures your home and belongings, as well as often covering incidents such as dog attacks.
Generally speaking, an insurance policy is in place to cover your losses. It will protect you against unwanted scenarios and makes sure you are made whole when an incident results in damage to your property, causes an injury, leaves you facing medical expenses, and more.
But insurance companies are businesses that are out to make money. In some cases, an insurance firm will either deny your claim outright or offer you far less than your claim is worth. These are examples of operating in bad faith.
When you pay your premiums, only to be told that the insurer is not meeting its obligations when you finally need them, the culprits must be held accountable.
For example, if you are involved in an accident and suffer serious injuries, landing you with medical bills and property damage totaling $25,000, but the insurance company only agrees to pay a fraction of this amount or denies your claim entirely, this could be an example of bad faith insurance, and you may be able to file a lawsuit.
How to Sue an Insurance Company for Bad Faith
Fortunately, you do not have to sit back and accept an insurance company acting in bad faith.
You can choose to file a lawsuit to hold the insurance accountable, and to make sure they deliver on the promises they have made, and that you have paid for.
This is a daunting process for many people, but working with the right lawyer is the best way to make sure you get the support you need at a difficult time, as well as giving you the best chance possible of securing maximum compensation.
So, what do you do if you feel you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company?
Start with the following steps:
➤ Do not be discouraged or accept an unsatisfactory offer
In many bad faith insurance cases, the insurer will either deny your claim completely or make a lowball offer that does not properly compensate you. To start with, it is very important to know that you have options. Do not accept the first offer if you think it is unfair, and do not be discouraged if your claim is denied outright.
➤ Look at your insurance policy
You can file a bad faith insurance lawsuit for a number of reasons, but one of the prime reasons in when you can clearly identify an aspect of your contract that the insurer has violated or failed to meet. Carefully check the terms of your insurance policy for anything that could boost your case.
➤ File an appeal
When an insurance claim is denied, you may be able to appeal the decision. There are two types of appeal: internal and external. An internal review could see another agent or a higher authority within the insurance company reexamining the claim. An external review would see an independent third party examine the claim. For example, you could contact the California Department of Insurance. This government entity serves to protect consumers from insurance companies acting in bad faith and can reexamine a claim.
➤ Hire a California bad faith insurance attorney
Either before or after you file an appeal, the best action to take is to contact a law firm that deals with bad faith insurance claims in California. The basic duty of an insurance company is to cover your losses. If they fail to do so, you can contact a lawyer to make sure someone is on your side and fighting for your rights. Bisnar Chase is here to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Our team at Bisnar Chase has extensive experience in handling and winning bad faith insurance claims. You do not have to go up against major insurance companies on your own; we are here to help. Contact us now for a free consultation and let us handle every aspect of your case for you.
Types of Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuits
Many different forms of insurance are available to consumers. These range from the most common policies, like car insurance, health insurance, and homeowners’ insurance, to rarer coverage such as earthquake insurance, or even fantasy football insurance.
If you can think of a scenario that might require some form of insurance, you can bet that a company is monetizing it.
When it comes to bad faith lawsuits, there are two main types:
First-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims
This refers to claims that you make against your own insurance policy for not paying what your case is worth. The “first party” is the insurance policyholder (you), and the second party is the insurance company. Examples of bad faith actions by insurers include:
- Failing to conduct a prompt and comprehensive claim investigation
- Making a lowball offer that does not reflect the merits of the case
- Denying what should be a valid claim
- Delaying a claim decision without cause
- Only paying out on some elements of the claim
So, if you make a claim and it is unfairly denied, or an unreasonable offer is made, you could sue your own insurance company in a first-party bad faith lawsuit.
Third-Party Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Third-party bad faith insurance claims are a little more complicated. When a third party makes a claim against an insurance policyholder, the insurance company has a duty to its policyholder. It must:
- Investigate the validity of the claim
- Defend the policyholder in negotiations, and in court when necessary
- Pay out losses up to the policy limits to the third party
For example: You are involved in a car crash. The other vehicle was driven by Person B, who files a claim against you.
Your insurance company then has a duty to investigate the claim and either pay out on your behalf or defend you. If it fails to do so, you can then sue your insurer for operating in bad faith.
You are unlikely to be able to sue another person’s insurance company for bad faith dealings. Purely regarding bad faith lawsuits, an insurance company is only duty-bound to its own policyholder.
For another example: You are involved in a car accident, and it is the other driver’s fault. You make a claim against them, but it is denied. In this case, you are the third party, not the policyholder. You would not be able to sue the other driver’s insurance company for bad faith, even if you believed it had not properly investigated the claim. However, you would be able to file a car accident lawsuit.
“I have handled hundreds of insurance bad faith cases over my career, with an excellent success rate. I am also an expert speaker on insurance coverage and insurance bad faith law. My mission is to make sure victims on the receiving end of bad faith practice get the superior representation they deserve.”
Insurance Company Bad Faith Tactics
The unfortunate truth is that many insurers do not have your best interests at heart. These companies are businesses, and as such their main motivation is making money.
Insurers employ a range of tactics, tricks, and techniques to either minimize the value of your claim or to save having to pay out altogether. These can include:
➤ Advising you not to hire a lawyer
An insurer will often try to steer you away from hiring a bad faith insurance attorney. This is because your attorney will know the law and be experienced in negotiations, increasing your chances of securing compensation.
➤ Requesting a recorded statement
Sometimes insurance companies will ask to record your statement and may use it against you later in legal proceedings. They will often do this right after an accident when you have not had a chance to collect your thoughts. You do not have to agree to this, and should simply say no.
➤ Offering a quick settlement
One tactic used to minimize the payout is to make a quick settlement offer immediately after an accident. If an injury victim is worried about paying their medical or repair bills, they might jump on a lowball offer.
➤ Questioning liability
The insurers might attempt to cast doubt over who is liable for an accident. By showing that the policyholder is at least partially responsible for the incident they could reduce the value of the claim.
➤ Delaying a decision
In some cases, the insurance agent will delay a decision on a claim. This can lead to the policyholder panicking or becoming desperate for compensation to cover their expenses. They may then accept less just to get the situation sorted.
➤ Asking for medical authorization
Granting medical authorization to the insurer can help to speed up a settlement, but your medical records can also then be used against you. For example, insurers might blame certain symptoms on a past injury that they discovered in your records. Ask a lawyer before granting access.
➤ Disputing the extent of existence of injuries
An insurance company might dispute the severity of your injuries or use experts to try to prove that they do not exist, particularly in the case of injuries that cannot be conclusively proven.
➤ Investigating you
A common tactic is for insurance companies is to look into your activities to disprove your claims. For example, they might check through your social media accounts. If they see a picture of you performing activities that you should be unable to do with your injuries, they will use it against you.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of bad faith tactics used by insurance companies in California to save having to pay their policyholders.
With all the tactics listed above – and anything else the insurance company throws at you – the best thing to do is calmly tell them you will call them back, and then contact an attorney before doing so.
We are not blaming the individual insurance agents here. They are incentivized to perform well for their company with rewards such as bonuses and promotions, as with any other job.
But it is important that we hold insurance companies accountable for shady practices. We strongly believe that they should honor their commitments to paying policyholders. Insurers should focus on making their customers whole, rather than putting their efforts into avoiding payouts.
A skilled and experienced bad faith insurance lawyer can help.
Bad Faith Insurance FAQs
We aim to answer a lot of the most frequently asked questions about bad faith insurance cases on this page. If you have a question that has not been answered, or simply want to find out if you could have a case, contact Bisnar Chase now for a free consultation.
We advise contacting an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Some people attempt to go through their insurance company first. But we have shown the kind of tactics that insurers can use against you if you are not careful. Let a lawyer take care of this for you.
We recommend taking legal action as soon as possible. But how long do you get before you have to make a bad faith insurance claim? According to California law, it depends on the kind of case filed. If it is a tort claim against the insurance company, a lawsuit should be filed within two years of the act of bad faith (being denied or underpaid). Some cases may fall into the realm of a breach of contract case, which may have a statute of limitations of four years. Consult an attorney for guidance.
You are able to file a bad faith claim against your own insurance company when you are the policyholder and have been a victim of bad faith operating. Essentially, if you have made a claim against your insurance policy – from car insurance to homeowners’ insurance, or any other kind of policy – and have been denied or lowballed unfairly, you can take legal action.
You should choose to work with a law firm that offers a no win, no fee promise, such as Bisnar Chase. Our bad faith insurance attorneys work on contingency. That means that we advance the costs necessary to win your case. If we win, a pre-agreed percentage will cover our fees and case costs, saving you from out-of-pocket expenses. If we do not win, you do not owe us anything. It’s a win-win.
Hiring the Best Insurance Bad Faith Attorney Near Me
At Bisnar Chase, we are passionate about helping people when they need it most. Going up against a major insurance company with seemingly unlimited resources can be intimidating and scary. But we are here to help.
Our law firm, based in Orange County, California has been in business for more than 40 years. We have a success rate of 99% and have helped more than 12,000 clients. Our recoveries total over $700 million.
When you pay your insurance premiums, you do so in the belief that it will protect you when the worst happens. Sometimes insurers try to take advantage of their clients. But when they do so, Bisnar Chase is here to hold them accountable.
We have the resources to take on even the largest companies. We believe in providing superior representation and are committed to fighting for you when your insurance company acts in bad faith.