What Is A Bad Faith Insurance Claim?

If you have a valid and enforceable insurance policy in California, the insurance company owes you an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. This means that it must handle your claim fairly and reasonably. Acting in "bad faith" may involve the insurance company denying benefits to which you are entitled. If you believe your insurance company acted in bad faith in handling your insurance claim in the Sacramento area, you should obtain the assistance of the experienced attorneys at Piering Law Firm.

Examples Of Bad Faith Insurance Claims

Under California law, bad faith can take a variety of forms. If you feel like your insurance company is handling your claim unreasonably, there may be an issue of bad faith. Below are some common examples of bad faith:

  • Failure to investigate: You pay for insurance coverage for a reason and expect your insurance company to try to help you, not attempt to avoid paying your claim. The insurance company has a duty to investigate your claim thoroughly and failure to do so may constitute bad faith.
  • Failure to authorize or pay for necessary medical treatment: If a medical professional deems you need certain treatment after an accident and the insurance company claims it is not medically necessary, this is an act of bad faith.
  • Failure to follow California insurance regulations: In California, the California Department of Insurance makes regulations that insurance companies are required to follow. The California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations specifically sets for particular requirements for insurance adjusters when they process your claim. Failure to follow these regulations may be bad faith.
  • Refusing a valid claim or offering less than you are owed: An insurance company cannot decline payment of your claim with an unreasonable justification or no explanation at all. The insurance company is obligated to pay the full value of your claim. Either of these actions likely qualifies as bad faith by the insurance company.
  • Delaying in answering your claim: An insurance company is generally expected to accept or deny your claim within 40 days. An unreasonable or unjustified delay can be the basis for a bad faith claim.
  • Failure to provide legal representation if you get sued: Most insurance policies contain a duty of the insurance company to defend if you are sued for an incident covered under your policy. It is bad faith for your insurance company to refuse to pay for an attorney and other costs necessary to defend you.
  • Refusing to pay after the California Department of Insurance has determined your claim to be valid: When the California Department of Insurance has gotten involved and has determined that you have a valid claim under your policy, some insurance companies will still refuse to pay. If this happens, you will want to get assistance from a qualified lawyer to pursue a bad faith claim.

Contact An Attorney Who Will Protect Your Rights

If your California insurance company handles your insurance claim in bad faith, you are entitled to all damages caused by this bad faith conduct, including emotional distress, lost income, lost opportunity, insurance attorney fees, interest, and other types of damages.

If you have a claim under a California insurance policy and you need guidance on how to proceed, or if you need assistance dealing with the insurance company, we invite you to contact the Piering Law Firm to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation. You can also reach us by telephone by calling the office at 916-596-2761.

All cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no legal fee charged until we recover for you. Talk with an ethical and dedicated Sacramento bad faith insurance lawyer committed to your recovery. We will be with you all the way.