It is important to realize that every insurer in California owes a duty of good faith to those it insures. This means that insurance companies have an obligation to their policyholders to maximize the benefits a policy provides, and that they may not injure the other party’s ability to obtain the benefits they are entitled to.
That said, it is important to realize that insurance companies are in business to make a profit. The more they collect in premiums and the less they pay out in claims, the more profit they make. While many disputed claims are made in good faith based on policy coverages and exclusions, some are not. When an insurance company delays payment of or denies a claim without a valid reason for doing so, it is liable for damages that may include attorney’s fees for litigating the dispute and in appropriate cases, punitive damages. If you believe that you are a victim of bad faith, it is important to reach out to counsel as soon as possible to understand your rights and to what you may be entitled. For close to 40 years I have been a litigator. Many of my cases have involved bad faith. My skills as both a former insurance agent and lawyer enable to me to recognize and evaluate bad faith issues that many others might not, including the most complex and nuanced, and to advocate for my clients effectively.
Bad Faith Insurance Policy Claims
It is important to realize that insurance policies are typically written in very broad and general terms. While, many of these terms are defined in the policy, some important terms are not.
Courts will interpret insurance policies in a manner consistent with that in which a policyholder or insured would have reasonably understood the policy to mean. If there are ambiguities, they are supposed to be resolved in favor of coverage. Consistent with this doctrine, policy exclusions are strictly and narrowly construed against the insurer.
This means that if there is any ambiguity in the policy, it is supposed to be resolved in favor of the policyholder. Regardless of your issue, I encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible and schedule an initial consultation.