Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys In San Diego
Property owners who purchase a homeowners’ insurance policy –or a commercial policy– naturally expect the insurance company to stand behind them when disasters strike. Unfortunately, all too often they are ignored, denied, or unimaginably low-balled. We’ve all seen the TV specials on the Hurricane Sandy victims recently… We have decades of experience representing homeowners and business owners. We’ve had season tickets —first row seats— to watch the extremes that insurance companies will go to avoid paying legitimate claims.
Bad Faith Insurance Claim Lawyers – Trial Attorneys
Bad Faith Insurance Claims Trial Attorneys – We take on many roles for our clients. We start as Boardroom Negotiators where we will sit down with insurance adjustors to effect a amicable solution at the least possible expense for our client—but if necessary— we are skilled and tenacious courtroom litigators. Whatever it takes to get the insurance companies to make our client a legitimate, fair and reasonable settlement offer!
We are experienced trial lawyers —“courtroom litigators”— if you want the fancy law school term for what we do. All kidding aside, we really do have exceptional skills and experience earned by a collective 90-years of lawyering among the three of us. We have a certain trial lawyer, court-room comfort level coupled with an in-depth knowledge of the insurance industries’ shenanigans which we leverage for our clients best interests when we represent their insurance claims. We are very good at what we do. We represent both homeowners and business owners in and around the 34-cities of San Diego and beyond who have been victims of bad faith insurance tactics. Let’s talk about your claim. Call Warren, or call me. (619) 259-5030. —Valerie L. Crafts
CA Law Requires Insurance Companies to Act with Good Faith
Homeowners and business owners that purchase home and business insurance; all California drivers who pay for expensive automobile insurance, and California residents lucky enough to still afford pricey medical insurance policies are protected by state laws regarding their insurance policies.
Anyone making an insurance claim will often become frustrated to tears – when attempting to deal with a bad faith insurance company that refuses to handle their legitimate claim in a reasonable manner. California law requires insurance companies to act with good faith and fair dealing. When insurance companies fail to live up their obligations so as to deprive goof faith policyholders the benefits and protections to which they are entitled —as they so often choose to do— the insurance companies are acting in “bad faith”.
What is Bad Faith?
If you have homeowners policy, business policy, automobile policy, health insurance policy or life insurance policy, you should be able to trust that if a claim arises, you’ll be taken care of — which is why you purchase insurance!
You’re bombarded with REASSURING MESSAGES from insurance companies:
- Allstate – “You’re in Good Hands.”
- State Farm – “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
- Amica – “We keep our promises to you.”
- AFLAC – “Without it, no insurance is complete.”
- Prudential – “Let Prudential be your rock.”
- Safeco – “What matters to you?”
- Farmers – “Gets you back where you belong.”
- Metropolitan Life – “Get Met. It Pays.”
- New York Life – “The Company You Keep.”
- Progressive – “Only Progressive gives you the option to name your price.”
- Nationwide – “On your side.”
- Aetna – “We want you to know.”
- Pacific Life – “The Power to Help You Succeed.”
- AARP – “To serve, not to be served.”
- Cigna – “A Business of Caring.”
- Metropolitan Life – “Have you met life today?
- Sentry West – “Insuring Your Future… Today.”
- Union Insurance – “Cash if you die. Cash if you don’t.”
California insurance policy holders trust in and count on – their insurance company to treat them fairly and pay their claim promptly. As California bad faith insurance attorneys, we represent clients who have been treated unfairly by insurance companies when the insurance companies refuse to pay our clients’ legitimate claims.
Bad Faith Insurance Practices Exposed
ALLSTATE: It Would be Funny if it Didn’t Happen so Often
Strict California Laws
Unfortunately, because it is in the best interests of the insurance company – to deny claims and avoid as many monetary payouts as possible, certain insurance companies almost always deny legitimate claims on the first claim submittal, hoping they’ll go away. Those insurance companies that make an attempt to appear like they are good “corporate citizens,” when really, they are anything but, instead of a denial will offer unreasonably low-ball settlement offers – again hoping their customer (needing the money) will accept the check by signing the back (where there is a fine print agreement) and deposit the check in their bank account.
In these ‘low ball’ cases, clearly, any reasonable person (or jury) would laugh out loud – if the insurance policy holder took the ‘reasonable person’ on a walk-through of the damaged home or business that initiated the insurance claim in the first place. Often, the claims adjustor who made initial contact with the insured, will make a personal assessment as to the “neediness” of their customer, and their subsequent ‘low-ball’ offer will be a conscious corporate gamble attempting to take advantage of the insured’s situation when the field visit suggested that its insured has limited resources and will have little choice but to accept virtually any monetary settlement offer. Once accepted, you’ve contractually agreed that the entire claim is settled and future recourse will be difficult.
San Diego Bad Faith Attorneys Represent Individuals & Businesses
San Diego Bad Faith attorneys are here to discuss your claim, offer legal advice and representation for Individuals and Businesses with bad faith claims involving the following types of insurance company conduct:
- Refusal to pay benefits
- Breach of contract
- Low-ball settlement offers
How Do Insurance Companies Act in Bad Faith?
There are numerous ways insurance companies take advantage of their customers by acting in bad faith to deny legitimate claims, such as:
- Delaying proper investigation of a claim
- Delaying payment of a claim
- Denying a valid claim covered under your policy
- Paying only partial benefits for a claim
If you have to file an insurance claim for any reason – chances are you already have suffered enough. We work to help individuals, homeowners, business owners, vehicle and other accident policy holders get the service and payments their insurance company legitimately owes them.
If your insurance company has not acted in good faith – that infers that they are acting in BAD FAITH and there are in violation of the law. You may be able to take legal action. Call us right now and share your story. We’ll give you an honest assessment of your chances at collecting the money that is really owed you.
Call now for a FREE telephone consultation.
Warren will take your call personally!
CALL: (619) 259-5030
We Fight Back Against Denied Claims & Low-Ball Offers
When you buy an insurance policy, no matter if it is for home, business, life, auto or health, you are expecting to be protected and compensated within the limits of the insurance policy. So often and individual or business finds themselves in a dispute with the insurer when the company denies a claim or makes an insulting low-ball settlement offer that doesn’t come close to remedying the damages.
Court-Awarded Compensation Can Include:
Actual Damages, Attorney Fees & Punitive Damages
When we are able to prove that a client’s insurance company has acted in bad faith, the recoverable financial compensation could be substantial. Compensation could include the actual amount of the damages from the claim plus additional related costs that were incurred due to the denial, attorney fees, and punitive damages.
Bad Faith Jury Awards in the News
Farmers Insurance Settles with State of California for Violations
EXAMPLE: “Farmers Insurance Group has refunded $1.4 million to holders of homeowners policies in California and has agreed to pay a $2 million fine. The settlement is part of the state’s efforts to make sure that homeowners are not penalized for what is commonly known as “use it and lose it” practices in the industry where policyholders who make claims lose their insurance or end up paying more for it. Farmers blames it on the darn computer.” Among the many violations, Farmers Insurance often violated its own Property Experience Rating Plan rules by incorrectly surcharging a policyholder for claims that either were not claims or were otherwise not eligible for surcharge under the Property Experience Rating Plan. “1
AIG ordered by a judge to pay $7 Million to Injured Lawyer
EXAMPLE: AIG has been ordered by a judge to pay $7 million to a lawyer who was injured when he was hit by a bus in 1998. According to court documents, Anderson’s ordeal began when he was hit by a bus while crossing the street and suffered a skull fracture. His injuries led to headaches, depression, memory problems, dizziness, loss of sense of smell and sleep disorders. AIG argued that Anderson was drunk and had run out from between two cars when he was hit by the bus.
In 2003, Anderson was awarded $3.1 million in his lawsuit against the insurance company alleging injury due to being hit by a bus, but the award was reduced to $2.2 million because the jury agreed with AIG’s version of events that Anderson was drunk when he was hit by the bus, making him partially responsible for the accident. AIG, however, appealed the decision and in 2008, the appeals court upheld the full award.3
Anderson then filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit against AIG after learning about some of AIG’s tactics2
Nationwide Mutual Pays $18 Million in Punitive Damages
EXAMPLE: An insurance company that was tongue-lashed in a decision last month by a Pennsylvania judge is contesting his ruling that it pay $18 million in punitive damages after a long court battle over faulty repairs to a family’s vehicle in 1996.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. last Friday asked Berks County Judge Valerie K. Sprecher to reconsider a decision believed to be the largest punitive award ever handed down in Pennsylvania in a lawsuit accusing an insurer of bad faith, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.
Sprecher ruled in June that he agreed with Daniel and Sherri Berg that Nationwide had concealed evidence about faulty repairs to their Jeep Grand Cherokee, tried to cover up the conduct of its employees and relied on a strategy to discourage policyholder challenges in court by artificially inflating the cost of suing the company.
In his ruling, Sprecher said Nationwide spent more than $3 million to defend its actions in a claim over the Bergs’ Jeep that it should have replaced for $25,000.
Nationwide risked harm to the Bergs and the public by allowing a structurally unsound vehicle on public roads and erected tremendous obstacles that forced the Bergs to endure years of litigation to achieve justice, Sprecher wrote.
“Fortunately, no one was killed or injured; but Nationwide knew there could be a subsequent accident when it permitted the vehicle to be returned with hidden structural repair failures,” Sprecher wrote. “This, by definition, is a reckless indifference to its insured. Nationwide was willing to risk the Bergs’ lives to save itself money on a collision claim.”
Nationwide insists the company did not act in bad faith and that no one at the firm ever believed the Bergs’ vehicle was unsafe after it was repaired.
In the Sept. 4, 1996, accident, Sherri Berg was driving the Jeep when she was hit by a Chevrolet Suburban not far from the Bergs’ home in suburban Reading.
The manager of the designated repair garage declared the car totaled because “the whole body was twisted,” according to court documents. Without telling the Bergs, Nationwide insisted on a second appraisal from the manager that called for the Jeep to be repaired at half the cost.
But the car never seemed right again, and in October 1997, a former employee of the repair shop called the Bergs to warn them of structural repair failures. The Bergs hired lawyers and an inspection on their behalf the next month found that the Jeep’s crashworthiness was compromised.
In 1998, the Bergs sued. Their lawsuit was thrown out of court by a different Berks County judge before the appellate Superior Court ordered it reinstated in 2012. Sherri Berg died of cancer in April at 62.
In Nationwide’s court filing last Friday, its lawyers blamed the Bergs’ lawyers for delays in the case, saying they had filed unnecessary motions and wasted time in a failed effort to win a class-action designation.
Sprecher also awarded $3 million in lawyers’ fees to the Bergs’ attorneys.3
Contact Us to Discuss Your Bad Faith Insurance Dilemma
We are here and ready to help you resolve your Bad Faith Insurance Dilemma. Call us now at (619) 259-5030 and let’s talk through your frustrations to see if we can be of help.