Newport Beach Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers
Sudden and unexpected accidents are incredibly stressful and can lead to severe injuries, mounting medical expenses, and missed work time. Individuals who suffer injuries in a motor vehicle crash on State Routes 1 or 55, a workplace accident, or a slip-and-fall often have to spend their time and money, frequently incurring high out-of-pocket costs.
Also, in these situations, accident victims must frequently rely upon insurance companies to provide them with the benefits and monetary compensation they need and deserve. For example, in a workplace accident, an injured worker may pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with their employer’s insurance company. Similarly, if they suffer injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, they can file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurer.
In some situations, however, insurance companies do not hold up their end of the bargain and fail to fulfill their legal obligations. Some insurers may not communicate with accident victims promptly or might delay investigations in the case. In some situations, they may even go so far as to inappropriately deny liability for an accident or refuse to pay the accident victim any monetary benefits or damages for their accident-related injuries. In these situations, an insurance company is acting in bad faith.
If you believe you are the victim of bad faith insurance practices, you should seek the legal help you need as quickly as possible. Waiting too long to obtain legal representation for a bad faith insurance claim may prevent you from recovering any monetary benefits or damages at all. Therefore, if the insurance company is being uncooperative in your case, you should seek out experienced legal help right away.
The knowledgeable Newport Beach insurance bad faith attorneys at Bentley & More LLP understand the frustration that often happens when insurance companies and their representatives are uncooperative. We can review your case with you and determine your eligibility for successfully filing a bad-faith insurance claim. If you can proceed with a claim, we can assist you with every step of the process and help you gather the necessary evidence to satisfy your legal burden of proof. Moreover, we can represent you in any legal proceedings in your case and help you achieve the best possible result.
Our experienced lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our injured clients and successfully resolved numerous bad-faith insurance claims. Let us help you recover the monetary benefits and damages you deserve for your accident-related injuries.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a Newport Beach insurance bad faith attorney, please call us or contact us online to learn more.
Special note for other law firms: Our legal team primarily handles personal injury claims that involve debilitating and catastrophic injuries. We also assist other attorneys with referrals. Please call us and let us know if we can help you with a complex case.
Defining Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Insurance companies owe several legal obligations to their insureds. First and foremost, insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith at all times. They also have a responsibility to deal fairly with their customers.
Insurers must also take prompt and reasonable measures to investigate the circumstances of an accident in an unbiased way. If the insurance company, for whatever reason, decides to deny the claim in good faith, it must clearly state the reasons for that denial in writing.
Moreover, insurance companies in California have a duty to treat an accident victim’s interests equally to their own and must interpret the terms and language of an insurance policy in a fair and reasonable manner. If a claim is valid, the insurance company has a legal duty to pay out the claim promptly and without undue delay. Adjusters also have a responsibility to make reasonable settlement efforts on a valid claim.
If you can demonstrate that an insurance company violated one or more of its legal duties, you can assert a successful bad-faith insurance claim against the company. Our legal team can review the circumstances of your accident, as well as your dealings with the insurance company to date, and determine if you’re eligible to file a bad faith claim. If you are, we can address all of your legal concerns and help you move forward with the bad faith claim in a timely and efficient manner.
Examples of California Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Accident victims in California may raise two bad-faith insurance claims. The first type of bad faith claim against an insurance company is a first-party claim. In a first-party claim, the accident victim takes legal action against their own insurance company.
For example, after a motor vehicle crash that results from an uninsured driver’s negligence, you can turn to your own insurance company by filing an uninsured motorist claim. If the insurance company refuses to pay the claim, you can assert a bad-faith action against that company.
The second type of bad faith insurance claim in California is a third-party claim. In this type of claim, the accident victim pursues legal action against another carrier, such as the insurance company, for an at-fault driver in a car crash. If the insurer denies the claim, you can take legal action against the third-party insurer for bad faith.
At Bentley & More LLP, our legal team can determine if you’re eligible to file a first-party or third-party bad faith insurance claim, depending upon your unique situation. If you are eligible, we can assist you with every step of the claims-filing process and get you the compensation you deserve.
What Is the Law in California Regarding Bad Faith Insurance Practices?
Laws pertaining to bad faith insurance practices are different in every state. California uses the Unfair Insurance Practices Act, or California Insurance Code INS § 790.03. According to the provisions of this law, insurance companies may not use deceptive practices or knowingly commit certain acts.
Some prohibited actions include:
- Failing to use protocols for a reasonable insurance company investigation
- Misrepresenting specific facts and circumstances to a claimant
- Failing to swiftly resolve insurance claims
- Telling a claimant not to seek legal representation in their case
If you believe that the insurance company with whom you’ve been dealing has committed one or more of these wrongful acts, you should speak with an attorney right away. Our knowledgeable legal team can determine if the insurance company likely committed an act of bad faith and, if so, can help you take the necessary legal action against them.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in California Regarding Bad Faith Insurance Claims?
The statute of limitations in a case is a time deadline for taking a particular legal action against another individual or entity. When it comes to bad faith insurance claims in California, the statute of limitations deadline depends upon the type of case at issue.
First of all, some claims result from an alleged breach of contract. A breach of contract occurs when an insurance company fails to satisfy its end of the bargain and perform certain agreed-upon contractual obligations. In breach of contract cases, the statute of limitations for a bad faith insurance claim is four years.
However, if the underlying claim is a tort claim where the claimant suffered physical injuries and other losses, the statute of limitations is two years from the accident date. The damages that the accident victim can recover will depend upon the losses that result from the alleged harm.
Those damages may include monetary compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Permanent disability and disfigurement
Following the time limits prescribed in the state statute of limitations is extremely important. If you file your bad faith claim or lawsuit belatedly, a California court may prevent you from filing a lawsuit and recovering any monetary damages from the offending insurance company. Therefore, you should take legal action as soon as a potential bad-faith insurance claim arises.
Our legal team can help you file a timely claim or lawsuit against the appropriate insurance company and work to recover the monetary damages you need.
Proving a California Bad Faith Insurance Claim
To legally demonstrate that an insurance company committed an act of bad faith, you must generally introduce specific evidence in your case. First, as the claimant, you must demonstrate that pursuant to the insurance policy, the company had a duty to pay you benefits. To satisfy this element, you must show that you had a valid legal claim pursuant to the policy terms. Next, the claimant must establish that the insurance company unreasonably or unlawfully withheld monetary compensation from you.
Throughout the process, there are specific actions that you can take which may become important later on. First, you should keep any/all status updates that you receive from the insurance company adjuster regarding your claim. If you receive a letter from an adjuster denying your claim, you should ask the adjuster to provide you with written documentation explaining the reason for the claim denial—assuming they have not already done so. It is also crucial that you or your attorney send the insurance company a letter indicating that you believe their actions or inactions amount to bad faith and that you intend to pursue a claim as necessary.
Finally, you should contact a skilled Newport Beach bad-faith insurance attorney as soon as you possibly can. Insurance companies have strong and experienced legal counsel advocating for them. You should have the same aggressive and result-oriented representation on your side.
At Bentley & More LLP, our experienced legal team can help you gather the necessary evidence to successfully prove your bad faith insurance claim. Moreover, we can help you determine if litigation may be a viable option for your case and, if so, take the appropriate legal actions on your behalf.
Contact a Knowledgeable Newport Beach Insurance Bad Faith Attorney Today
When insurance companies act in bad faith, many accident victims are unsure of the following legal steps. At Bentley & More LLP, we will explain all of your legal options in clear terms and handle every aspect of your bad faith insurance claim from beginning to end. Reach out to a Newport Beach personal injury lawyer.
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Bentley & More LLP – Newport Beach Office
4931 Birch Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Phone: (949) 617-0938