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Bad Faith Insurance Practices In California

When you pay your high California insurance premiums every month, you may wonder where your money is going. Then when you are unfortunate enough to get into an accident, you may question if you are getting the protection you paid for.

Believe it or not, insurance companies are legally obligated to act in your best interests after an accident. This applies when you are hurt in an accident or when another driver files a claim against you, blaming you for what happened. Your insurance company is legally obligated to come to your defense.

This isn’t always the case though. Insurance companies often attempt to skip out on the duties that your insurance contract guarantees. However, when they don’t provide the compensation you need after an injury or defend you from false claims, they can be guilty of “bad faith” practices. If this can be proven, your insurance company may owe you additional compensation.

The Insurance Company’s Responsibility to California Policyholders

Insurance providers like Geico and Progressive are supposed to leap into action after you’ve been in an accident. They should provide you with the support you need after an injury and defend you when another individual (third party) is falsely blaming you for an accident.

Your policy protection also means your insurance company should be compensating victims if you are indeed responsible for their injuries. These services you are owed aren’t always offered and followed through on, unfortunately. You can easily become the victim of bad faith insurance practices.

Simply put, acting in bad faith means the insurance company isn’t acting in your best interest. They may be acting in their own best interest or just refusing to devote the resources needed to properly protect you.

They are instead supposed to act in “good faith” by treating you fairly and by fully upholding their contract with you, even when you aren’t aware of everything that’s in the fine print. This isn’t a reason to take advantage of you.

That fine print documents what you should expect from your insurance company. These are just a few of the services and protections an insurance contract grants policyholders:

  • Providing compensation for any “covered risk” for the policyholder or for victims of the policyholder’s negligence.
  • Defending policyholders from false claims from third parties.
  • Conducting a reasonably thorough investigation into an accident.
  • Communicating with policyholders about the progress of their claim or a claim filed against them.
  • Honestly representing and explaining the terms of the policyholder’s insurance coverage.
  • Providing adequate explanations for denial of coverage.
  • Acting with reasonable speed to process a claim.
  • Providing settlements that adequately compensate victims for their hardships and damages.

Filing a Bad Faith Claim Against California Insurance Companies

When you feel like these duties aren’t being met, it’s important to take action quickly or you may end up waiting even longer for the financial help you need.

If you don’t already have a lawyer helping you, seek a free consultation with a skilled California personal injury lawyer. It’s a no-risk way of discussing your concerns and finding out if filing a bad faith claim against your insurer is your best option.

An accusation of bad faith behavior doesn’t always have to lead to a resolution in court. Sometimes bringing up the term “bad faith” can motivate an insurer to take another look at the circumstances of your case.

The looming threat of a bad faith lawsuit is often enough to get an insurance company to rethink its obligations to you. They may quickly return to the negotiating table or start vigorously defending you against a third-party claim.

This threat is even more effective when you have a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side reminding insurance representatives of the legal protections California extends victims.

Compensation to Expect From a Bad Faith California Insurance Claim

If you and your personal injury lawyer successfully prove your insurance company has been negligent in regards to your case, you could earn a settlement or a judgment in court.

These are some of the factors you may be compensated for in a California Bad Faith Insurance Claim:

  • Attorney Fees you’ve paid to bring a bad faith claim against your insurance company or to defend yourself from a third-party lawsuit.
  • Legal Fees and court fees you’ve paid while bringing a bad faith claim against your insurance company. Legal fees involved in defending yourself against a third-party lawsuit.
  • The compensation that you asked for originally, but you were denied. The compensation owed to a victim of an accident you held some liability for.
  • Punitive damages are assessed by the court to deter insurance companies from exhibiting bad faith behavior again. These damages are meant as extra punishment for the insurance company, but the policyholder receives any money the company must pay.
  • Non-economic damages including the emotional stress and anxiety the policyholder has endured.

Several of these factors are things an insurance company should have been taking care of for you in the first place. In many cases, you’ll have already paid for some of these costs out of pocket after your insurer decided to act against your best interests. You are just asking for this money back along with any additional penalties the court decides to grant you.

Contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer

When you believe an insurance company has not acted in good faith in regards to your claim or a claim made against you, contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss your options.

Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law of California, has made a successful career out of holding insurance companies accountable for everything they owe their policyholders. If you’ve been injured in an accident or you are being unfairly blamed for an accident, take advantage of a free consultation with a highly regarded California lawyer.

Mr. Gasparian will answer any questions you have and help you determine the best way to get the insurance support you need. Please remember, if you decide Maison Law is a good fit for your case, you don’t have to have any money upfront to hire us. We don’t get paid unless we win your case.


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