Orange County Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers
Severe accidents, including slips and falls, construction accidents, and car crashes on California State Route 1, can create a significant amount of uncertainty for accident victims—not to mention serious injuries and ever-increasing medical expenses. In addition, when accident victims suffer serious-enough injuries, they may be unable to work for an extended time after their accident, adding to the costs.
Given the significant monetary hardships associated with severe accidents, most accident victims assume that insurance companies will step into the mix and provide the necessary and appropriate insurance coverage. After all, that is why insured individuals pay their insurance premiums.
Accident victims may need to rely upon different insurance companies, depending on the accident’s circumstances. First, accident victims may need to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company—or with their own insurance company, such as in an uninsured motorist claim. Additionally, if an accident victim suffers injuries during their work duties, they may file an insurance claim with their employer’s insurance company for workers’ compensation benefits. Reach out to a Orange County insurance bad faith lawyer.
Unfortunately, however, insurance companies are sometimes complex and fail to supply the necessary insurance coverage and monetary compensation that accident victims need and deserve—and to which they are entitled to receive by law. When insurance companies fail to abide by their obligations and do not uphold their end of the bargain, an injured accident victim can assert a bad-faith insurance claim against the company.
Suppose you are presently dealing with a difficult insurance company or adjuster, believing the insurance company might be acting in bad faith. In that case, you should speak with experienced legal counsel about what is happening in your case.
The skilled Orange County, California, insurance bad faith lawyers at Bentley & More LLP can review the circumstances of your case with you and take the appropriate legal actions against the insurance company on your behalf. We can help you file a bad-faith insurance claim or, if necessary, a lawsuit in the court system. We can then help you pursue the monetary damages you deserve.
If your legal matter goes to trial, we can help you introduce the necessary evidence to prove that the insurance company dealt with you in bad faith and help you achieve the best possible result in your case.
Our legal team has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our accident victim clients. If you suspect that the insurance company is violating its legal duties in your case, let us help you pursue the compensation you need. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Orange County insurance bad faith attorney, please call us or contact us online to learn more.
We Take Case Referrals
Our knowledgeable legal team handles personal injury claims and insurance bad faith cases that involve serious accidents and significant compensation at stake. We regularly accept referrals from other law firms. Please call us today and let us know how we can assist you.
What Is Bad Faith Insurance Practice in Orange County?
In Orange County, California, bad-faith insurance practices can take many forms. Before determining whether an insurance company likely violated its legal and contractual duties, you should understand what those duties are at a given time.
First of all, insurance companies must abide by the duty of good faith and fair dealing at all times. This duty means that insurance companies must always deal fairly with claimants—including their insureds—when investigating a claim.
In addition, if an insured individual or accident victim makes a claim under an insurance policy, the insurance company has a duty to take the necessary measures to thoroughly investigate the claim in an unbiased manner. If the insurance company, upon investigation, decides to deny the claim for some reason, it has a legal duty to explain that denial in writing and to outline the specific reasons for the claim denial.
Next, California insurance companies must treat their interests just as they do a claimant’s interests. The insurance company also has to interpret and apply insurance policy language fairly and equitably.
Finally, if a claim is valid, the insurance company has a duty to pay the claimant monetary compensation that is fair and reasonable—and truly compensates the claimant for their injuries and other related losses.
If you can demonstrate, through evidence, that the insurance company likely violated one or more of these obligations, you can successfully file a bad-faith insurance claim.
Our legal team can meet with you to discuss precisely what occurred in your case and determine your claim’s likelihood of success. We can also help you file the appropriate claim and pursue the necessary monetary damages you need to recover.
What Are the Most Common Categories of Bad Faith Insurance Claims in Orange County?
There are several ways in which insurance companies may act in bad faith and violate their legal and contractual duties to claimants.
Sometimes, an accident victim can file a first-party bad faith claim. In those circumstances, the accident victim takes legal action against their own insurance company, according to an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.
Uninsured motorist benefits come into play when an at-fault driver does not have any insurance coverage available or when the at-fault driver fled the accident scene in a so-called phantom vehicle accident. An underinsured motorist claim arises when the responsible driver did have some amount of insurance coverage in place, but it was insufficient to compensate the injured accident victim for all of their injuries and losses.
If an accident victim goes to pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against their own insurance company in those circumstances, and the insurance company refuses to accept the claim—or offer a fair and reasonable monetary payout—the accident victim can take legal action for bad faith against their own insurance company.
A less likely third-party bad faith insurance claim may arise when an accident victim pursues a claim under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. If that insurance company wrongfully fails to accept liability for the accident or denies coverage, the accident victim can pursue a third-party bad faith claim against that insurer.
The experienced Orange County insurance bad faith lawyers at Bentley & More LLP can help you pursue a first-party or third-party bad faith insurance claim, depending upon the circumstances of your case. We will aggressively pursue your claim at all times and fight for your right to recover the monetary damages you deserve in your bad-faith insurance claim or lawsuit.
Insurance Company Acts of Bad Faith
There are numerous ways an insurance company may act in bad faith.
Some of the most common examples of bad faith practice that insurance companies use include:
- Only paying out partial monetary benefits on an insurance claim when the accident victim is entitled to recover full benefits
- Conducting an investigation into an insurance claim that is clearly biased in favor of the insurance company
- Denying insurance coverage on a valid claim arbitrarily or capriciously, such as in a car accident case where the other driver clearly caused the subject accident (for example, DUI cases)
- Interpreting the terms of an insurance policy to the insurance company’s advantage only
- Using bias when investigating an insurance claim
- Unreasonably delaying an insurance investigation and allowing a claim to drag on for a lengthy amount of time
- Refusing to communicate with an accident victim claimant in a reasonable amount of time or failing to regularly update them about the status of their ongoing claim
- Failing to provide legal counsel to defend against a claim, pursuant to the insurance contract terms
- Failing to offer the accident victim fair and reasonable monetary compensation to satisfy their claim
The Law in California Regarding Insurance Company Bad Faith
Bad faith insurance practices in California fall under the Unfair Insurance Practices Act or California Insurance Code INS § 790.03. According to this law’s provisions, an insurance company may not knowingly commit certain acts or utilize deceptive practices when dealing with claimants.
Likewise, an insurance company may not tell a claimant they should not seek legal counsel, take too much time to resolve an insurance claim, fail to undertake a reasonable investigation, or misrepresent the facts and circumstances to a claimant.
If you think that an insurance company engaged in bad faith in your case, the skilled legal team at Bentley & More LLP can get to the bottom of what happened. We can thoroughly investigate your allegations and determine if the insurance company likely committed one or more acts of bad faith. If they did, we can pursue the necessary legal remedies on your behalf—and in a timely manner.
Our team stands up to insurance companies on behalf of claimants and policyholders. We can protect your rights, so please consult with us today.
Bringing a Timely Claim or Lawsuit for Bad Faith Insurance Practices
When it comes to filing a claim or lawsuit for bad faith insurance practices in California, the statute of limitations becomes extremely important. The statute of limitations is the deadline by which an accident victim claimant must file an insurance bad faith lawsuit in court.
In a bad faith insurance claim scenario, the statutory deadline depends on your case:
- Breach of contract claims. A breach of contract claim arises when a party fails to follow through with its obligations, as stated in the applicable contract. If the underlying basis for an insurance bad faith claim arises from a breach of contract, an individual has four years to take legal action and file the appropriate lawsuit.
- Tort claims. A tort claim arises from a civil wrong where an individual behaved unreasonably under the circumstances, causing the accident victim to suffer various losses. If the basis for a bad faith insurance claim lies in tort, and you are alleging that you suffered various losses, the accident victim has two years to bring a claim for bad faith insurance practices.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist claims, for example, have a basis in both breaches of contract and tort.
At Bentley & More LLP, our legal team can ensure that we file your bad faith lawsuit promptly, protecting your right to recover the monetary compensation you need.
Essential Steps to Take in Bad Faith Insurance Claims
In a bad faith insurance claim that an individual asserts against an insurance company, the claimant has the sole legal burden of proof. Therefore, they are responsible for introducing pertinent evidence in the event the matter goes to trial.
Evidence that may help an accident victim win a bad-faith insurance claim includes:
- Documentation from the insurance company that is lacking in pertinent information, such as a specific reason for the claim denial
- A signed and dated copy of the insurance policy itself
- Specific evidence that shows that the insurance company made a mistake when it wrongfully denied your claim
Our legal team can help you prove the insurance company’s bad faith by introducing pertinent evidence in your case and advocating for your legal interests at all times.
Speak With Our Orange County Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers Today
Insurance companies have a legal and contractual obligation to deal with insured individuals and claimants fairly and equitably. When they fail to do so, an accident victim may raise a bad faith insurance claim. Moreover, if the insurance company refuses to settle your claim amicably, you have the right to file a lawsuit and take the appropriate legal action in court. The last thing you want to deal with after an accident is a difficult insurance company. Reach out to an Orange County personal injury lawyer.
The experienced legal team at Bentley & More LLP will help you thoroughly understand your legal options in the case and help you decide on the best course of action to recover the monetary compensation you deserve from the appropriate insurance company.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Orange County insurance bad faith attorney, please call us at (949) 617-0938 or contact us online for more information.
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Bentley & More LLP – Orange County Office
Phone: (949) 617-0938