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San Bernardino Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers

When individuals become involved in traffic accidents on local roadways, including California State Routes 1 or 55, they will likely need to rely upon insurance companies to recover the total monetary damages they need. The same is true when accident victims suffer injuries while on the job or when they suffer injuries on someone else’s property—such as at a local bar or restaurant in San Bernardino.

Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always hold up to their end of the bargain. They may fail to properly investigate an accident or deny coverage under the wrong circumstances. Alternatively, they might simply fail to compensate the accident victim the fair damages that they deserve for their accident-related losses.

Dealing with insurance companies is virtually inevitable. However, if you believe an insurance company is acting in bad faith and mistreating you, you should take legal action immediately. Delaying legal action in your case may prevent you from recovering the monetary compensation you deserve.

The experienced San Bernardino insurance bad faith attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can discuss the insurance company’s dealings with you and determine if you may pursue a bad faith claim. If you are eligible, we can assist you with every step of the process and, if necessary, litigate your case in the California court system. We can advocate for your legal interests at every stage of the proceedings and work to maximize your total monetary recovery.

Our experienced lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in monetary compensation for injured accident victims like you. We also routinely handle bad-faith insurance claims on behalf of our clients. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a San Bernardino insurance bad faith attorney, please call us at 949-870-3800 or contact us online to learn more.

Special note for other law firms: Our skilled legal team handles bad faith insurance cases for clients who suffered catastrophic personal injuries. We accept referrals from other law firms, so please contact us to discuss our referral program and how we can help if you find yourself with a challenging case.

San Bernardino Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers

Defining Insurance Company Bad Faith in San Bernardino

Insurance company bad faith in San Bernardino can take on many different forms. Essentially, an insurance company acts in bad faith when they violate either a contractual duty or a legal duty that they owe to a claimant under the policy, which in some cases may be their own insured. Insurance companies have an affirmative duty to act in good faith—and to exercise fair dealing—at all times.

Moreover, when an individual brings a claim under an insurance policy, the insurance company must investigate the claim swiftly and pursue the investigation in an unbiased fashion.

Upon investigation, the insurance company, for whatever reason, may decide to deny the claim. However, the insurance company must have a valid legal basis to take this action. If the insurance company ultimately decides to deny a claim, they must notify the claimant in writing. They must also set out the reason or reasons for the claim denial in writing.

Insurance companies in California also have a duty to treat their own financial interests and the claimant’s financial interests in the same way. Finally, if a claim is valid, the insurance company has to pay the claimant fair and reasonable monetary compensation.

If you believe an insurance company you’re dealing with has acted in bad faith, the experienced legal team at Bentley & More LLP is ready to help. We can promptly investigate your allegations and determine if the insurance company likely committed one or more acts of bad faith. If they did, we can assist you with filing the appropriate bad-faith claim and pursuing the result you deserve.

How do Insurers Commit Acts of Bad Faith in San Bernardino?

There are several ways that California insurance companies commit acts of bad faith.

For example, the insurance company may:

  • Refuse to offer a claimant accident victim good faith compensation to resolve their pending insurance claim fully and fairly
  • Fail to take reasonable measures to communicate with the claimant regularly and keep them apprised of what’s going on with their claim
  • Exercise extreme bias when evaluating or investigating an insurance claim
  • Act arbitrarily and capriciously when deciding on the amount of monetary compensation to award the claimant accident victim
  • Fail to pay the claimant full benefits when they are entitled to receive those benefits
  • Interpret insurance policy language only in the insurance company’s favor rather than in the claimant’s favor—or in a way that is fair and reasonable to them
  • Allow for unreasonable delays in the investigation or claims process and refuse to pay out the claim promptly
  • Refuse to provide legal counsel to defend the claimant if the insurance policy terms require such action

If an insurance company with whom you’re dealing has exercised bad faith in one or more of these ways, the skilled San Bernardino bad faith insurance attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can assist you with your claim and, if necessary, with filing a lawsuit for bad faith in the court system.

What Are First-party and Third-party Bad Faith Claims in California?

Individuals in California may file a first-party or a third-party bad faith insurance claim, depending upon the circumstances.

A first-party claim typically arises when a car accident victim suffers injuries, and the responsible driver either flees the accident scene or does not have any insurance coverage available. In those circumstances, the accident victim can file a first-party uninsured motorist claim with their own insurance company. Similarly, if the at-fault driver did have insurance coverage, but it was insufficient to adequately compensate the accident victim for their losses, the accident victim can file an underinsured motorist claim with their own insurance company.

Under either of these circumstances, if the insurance company fails to accept the claim or will not pay out sufficient monetary compensation, the accident victim can potentially file a first-party bad faith claim against their insurer.

In contrast, a third-party claim arises when an individual or entity commits one or more negligent acts and they do have adequate insurance coverage in place. In that instance, the accident victim can file a third-party claim with the at-fault individual’s insurer.

If the insurance company wrongfully denies coverage for the accident or otherwise rejects the claim unlawfully, the accident victim can bring a third-party bad faith claim.

At Bentley & More LLP, our skilled legal team can determine your eligibility for filing either a first-party or third-party bad faith insurance claim and assist you with every step of the process. We can handle all dealings with insurance company representatives for you and, if necessary, threaten the insurance company with litigation if they fail to fulfill both their legal and contractual obligations.

What is the Statute of Limitations for an Insurance Company Bad Faith Claim in California?

In an insurance bad faith claim, accident victim claimants must pay close attention to the applicable statute of limitations. This is because the statute of limitations period varies, depending upon the case.

Some bad faith claims involve a breach of contract only, where the insurance company fails to satisfy its contractual obligations. If your bad faith claim arises from a breach of contract, you have a period of four years to file a lawsuit. However, if you base your bad faith insurance claim on tort—and the insurance company’s bad faith caused you to incur additional losses—you only have two years to file a lawsuit.

At Bentley & More LLP, our experienced legal staff will file your lawsuit on time and promptly begin recovering the monetary damages you deserve.

California Laws that Insurance Companies Violate

Regarding California laws regarding an insurance company’s bad faith, the Unfair Insurance Practices Act sets the standard. According to the provisions of this law, an insurance company may not knowingly act in bad faith by committing certain acts—or by using deceptive practices during investigations and claim evaluations. Moreover, the investigation that the insurer completes must be reasonable under the circumstances, and they must investigate the situation thoroughly before reaching a decision.

Likewise, an insurance company may not tell the claimant that they should not seek an attorney to represent them in their case.

If you believe that the insurance company with whom you’re dealing has committed one or more statutory violations, you should obtain the legal help that you need right away. At Bentley & More LLP, we can determine if the insurance company likely violated the state statute and, if so, can pursue the necessary legal remedies on your behalf.

Steps You Should Take After a Bad Faith Insurance Experience in San Bernardino

If you believe that an unscrupulous insurance company treated you in bad faith, retain all documents that the insurance company sends you, including denial letters. If the insurance company verbally notifies you that they denied your claim, but they have not provided you with written confirmation, insist upon a written denial letter. Moreover, insist that the insurance company tell you the specific reason or reasons why they denied your claim.

Obtain signed copies of your insurance policy, as a lawyer may need to introduce the policy as evidence in court. Your lawyer can use the policy to establish that insurance coverage was in effect at the time of your loss and that the company violated its legal obligations to you.

Our experienced legal team can help you introduce the necessary evidence if your case goes to trial and pursue the best possible result on your behalf.

How we can Help if Your Case Goes to Court

When insurance companies are insistent that they are correct—and that they acted in good faith—you need a solid legal team advocating for you each step of the way.

The knowledgeable San Bernardino insurance bad faith lawyers at Bentley & More LLP can litigate your case in the court system by:

  • Amending the initial Complaint filed in your case to reflect a claim for bad faith insurance practices by the insurance company handling your claim
  • Assisting you during the discovery process and, if necessary, taking an insurance company representative’s deposition
  • Gathering the necessary documents to prove your case
  • Assisting during settlement negotiations with the insurance company and their representatives
  • Representing you at all in-court legal proceedings (including a jury trial) and introducing the appropriate evidence on your behalf to help you obtain a favorable result

Talk With Our San Bernardino Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers Today

Greg Bentley &  Keith More, Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers

If you believe that you may be the victim of bad faith insurance practices, you should consult with a skilled lawyer and take the appropriate legal action right away. Otherwise, you may inadvertently jeopardize your right to recover monetary compensation through your claim or lawsuit. Reach out to a San Bernardino personal injury lawyer.

If you or someone you know has recently suffered injuries in a car accident, you know the last thing anyone in that situation wants to deal with is a difficult insurance company. Your primary focus should be on recovering from your injuries, but in the meantime, you might have mounting bills. Or you might be unable to work due to your injuries. Anyone in this situation would benefit from the help of an experienced attorney.

At Bentley & More LLP, we can strongly advocate for you at every stage of your case and handle all dealings with the insurance company. If we take your case to trial, we will introduce the appropriate evidence on your behalf and work to recover a monetary award that is favorable to you.

For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a San Bernardino insurance bad faith attorney, please call us at (949) 870-3800 or contact us online. Our experienced legal team is ready to help you.

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“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Bentley & More for the past 5-6 years. Their drive and compassion to earn great results for their clients is obvious to everyone who works with them.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to partner with the firm to help serve their clients.”

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Bentley & More LLP – San Bernardino Office

Phone: (949) 870-3800