Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance Companies’ Responsibilities
In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, people have insurance policies for various types of protection. These include homeowners, health, business (commercial general liability), automobile, officers and directors, and many others. Policyholders’ rights are governed by the insurance agreement or contract that they have with their insurance company. Often, insurance companies look for ways to deny claims to avoid their responsibility to pay and protect their insureds during times of peril. This occurs despite the fact that many of these same insureds are up to date on their insurance premiums.
However, under the law, an insurance company must deal with its insured in good faith. That means, for example, if an insured gets sued, her insurance company must defend her even if there is just a potential that there is coverage under the policy. The insurance company must give any benefit of the doubt to the insured.
Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuits
As policyholders, we purchase insurance policies believing that insurance companies will be there to protect us when we need them. When these insurance companies renege on their obligations, policyholders can sue for breach of contract and a tort called insurance bad faith. Conduct amounting to bad faith comes in the form of all of the following:
- Improper refusal to pay insurance benefits like paying for damage under a homeowner’s policy or paying for Medical treatment under a health insurance policy
- Refusal to promptly investigate a claim against an insured
- Failure to defend a claim against an insured
- Failure to indemnify an insured (ie, paying a claim made by a third person against an insured)
We at Heimanson & Wolf, LLP know how to properly and zealously represent policyholders against their insurance companies when those insurance companies refuse to honor their insurance contract. At times, this conduct even warrants an award of punitive damages against the insurance company.