Insurance Bad Faith: Can an Attorney Help?

You’ve paid high insurance premiums on your medical or automotive coverage as part of being a responsible adult and making sure that, in the unfortunate event that an emergency occurs, you and your family will still be protected. Then one day the unexpected happens and that “worst case scenario” becomes a reality. The costs of treatment or repairs to your vehicle are high and you call your insurance company to process the claim. Adding insult to injury, the insurance company denies the claim, placing ALL of the financial burden on YOU.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you may have legal options. If the insurance company knows, or should know that the losses you have suffered are part of the insurance coverage (and the premiums you have paid for that coverage over the years) then your insurance may be denying your coverage in “bad faith”.

What is a “good faith” agreement in CA?

The “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” is part of every contract in California. Essentially it means that when you and your insurance company have made an agreement that you will pay premiums to cover a risk of loss and that if a loss actually occurs, the insurance company will pay for it. If no losses occur, the insurance company keeps the premium and everyone is happy. If a loss occurs, then the insurance company pays it out from a pool of invested premiums.

In a bad faith case, however, the insurance company wants to have their cake and eat it too. When your injury or accident occurs, they want to keep your premium payments AND refuse to pay for your losses. They want to stick you with paying the bills as well as the burden of proving that they should have covered your claim. In plain English that is just plain wrong.

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