If you believe your insurance company has engaged in unfair insurance practice and provided you with lack of (or vague and unclear) terms of conditions, you may be able to hold the insurer liable under bad faith insurance laws.
What are bad faith insurance laws? Los Angeles-based unfair insurance claim practice attorney Howard Craig Kornberg explains that these laws protect insured Californians from unethical and unfair practices by insurance companies.
In the year 2017, nobody is naive enough to believe that insurance companies are there to protect us or help us out when we need them the most. It’s quite the opposite.
And that’s why bad faith insurance laws act in California and other states across the nation. Unfortunately, only a handful of Los Angeles residents are actually aware of these laws and know how to use them to get the benefits.
Fact: in 2016, 91.2% of Americans had health insurance coverage.
What is bad faith, according to law?
In legalese, bad faith refers to the fraudulent deception of another person or persons. The term also describes the intentional or malicious refusal to perform one’s duties or obligations.
While bad faith insurance laws don’t necessarily punish insurers for their every mistake (everyone can make a true mistake about their responsibilities), insurance companies may be held liable for intentionally or maliciously breaching contracts and violating the rights of their customers.
Note: in legalese, good faith refers to fair conduct and reasonable practices.
What’s an example of bad faith in insurance companies?
An example of a bad faith insurance claim can be:
- An insurance company’s refusal to provide a client with coverage despite the claim being in compliance with the insurer’s policies
- Delays in settling claims
- Misrepresenting facts to reduce the cost of coverage
- Altering policies without notifying clients
- Failing to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation
- Using fine print to settle claims for less (or refuse coverage altogether) than expected by consumers based on the contract.
These and many other unfair insurance claim practices constitute bad faith insurance claims and may enable you to pursue legal action against a bad faith insurer.
How to file an insurance bad faith claim?
You may file an insurance bad faith claim against an insurance company for its unfair and unethical practices or acts.
Under federal and state laws in California, every insurance company owes a duty of good faith and fair dealings to their customers (insured policyholder).
No matter what is it that you’re buying insurance for and no matter what policies you’re provided based on the contract, each insurer has a duty of good faith to its customers.
In case an insurer violates that covenant and engages in bad faith practices, you may be able to pursue legal action against the insurer on a tort claim and file a breach of contract claim.
In order to file the claims properly, it’s highly recommended to consult a Los Angeles unfair insurance claim practice attorney to maximize your chances of recovery.
In case of success, you – as a plaintiff in an insurance bad faith claim – can recover an amount far bigger than the initial sum of money that the insurance company was supposed to provide you under the current contract.
However, proving intentional or malicious conduct on the part of your insurer is critical, which is why hiring an attorney should be your first step before filing a bad faith claim.
Consult our experienced unfair insurance claim practice lawyers in Los Angeles at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg to find out more about your rights as an insured policyholder and how to seek damages in a bad faith claim.