When you buy life insurance coverage from an insurer, you enter into a contract with them. You are required to pay the premiums according to the contract to ensure that the policy is in place as long as you live. They are required to pay your beneficiaries in the event of your death.
Unfortunately, disputes arise for a variety of reasons, and some insurers even act in bad faith at times, either denying or delaying payment of a claim without a legitimate reason. In such cases, you have no option but to take action against them with the help of a life insurance attorney.
Depending on the circumstances, the attorney might try to resolve the dispute through negotiation, mediation or litigation.
The Advantages of Life Insurance Mediation
Mediation is an attempt by a neutral third party to resolve the dispute either in advance of or during litigation. It involves a negotiation process between the parties to the dispute. The process is facilitated by the attorney, who plays the role of advocate to persuade the mediator to convince the other side to offer a favorable settlement.
The most important advantages of mediation are that it avoids the cost and uncertainty of litigation and it saves time. Your attorney plays a critical role in the mediation process to help achieve a fair and favorable settlement. Those with the most extensive knowledge and experience can come up with most creative solutions to settle the dispute, something which a less experienced attorney or a judge might not be able to do.
Mediation is voluntary and non-binding. You are not obligated to accept the offer made by the insurer. It is not a trial, there is no testimony, and it is completely confidential. No one can use any statement or offer made in mediation as evidence in litigation. If successful, it can save time and significant cost that results from protracted litigation. Most importantly, you get certainty.
Disadvantages of Mediation
In some cases, an insurer may not take the mediation process seriously and may send someone with low-dollar authority as their representative. The insurer might also use the mediation process to learn about your case in an effort to defeat you in subsequent litigation. (Of course, you will have the same opportunity to learn about the case against you.) Any successful mediation is a compromise. The insurer or the other party will attempt to persuade or coerce you to accept a less than you are entitled to or are willing to accept.
The Advantages of Life Insurance Litigation
The biggest advantage of life insurance litigation is that it forces the opposing party to provide you with information you would not otherwise be able to obtain, in order to prove your case. You can take depositions and order the production of documents that provide evidence in your favor. A judgment also provides you with an enforceable order. If the court or jury decides in your favor, the other party must comply with the order.
The Disadvantages of Life Insurance Litigation
The disadvantages of litigation are that it is time-consuming, expensive, and the result is uncertain.
Mediation vs Litigation: Which is the Right Option for You?
While both processes have their own advantages and disadvantages, mediation is often the better option for a few reasons:
- It costs far less than litigation.
- It can help you resolve the dispute with your insurer in a timely manner.
- It provides certainty of the result.
- A life insurance mediator can come up with out-of-the-box solutions to resolve the dispute, which is something that might not be possible within the confines of the legal system.
If you cannot resolve your dispute through mediation, you will have file a lawsuit against the insurer. So, your best bet is to hire a highly experienced attorney who is both an effective litigator and an effective mediator.
Life Insurance Mediation and Litigation Services in California
Whether it is mediation or litigation, Benjamin Blakeman of Blakeman Law is an experienced life insurance attorney who is ready to fight for a favorable resolution on your behalf. To learn how Blakeman Law can help you, call 1-888-270-0051 or complete our online contact form for a consultation.