INSURANCE BAD FAITH
With over 31 years of experience negotiating and litigating claims of personal injury and wrongful death in the Los Angeles area, attorney James Gillen of the Law Offices of James R. Gillen is intimately familiar with the insurance claims process and understands when insurance companies may be acting in bad faith in regards to their denial of coverage or handling of a particular claim. The firm represents insureds in insurance bad faith claims and coverage disputes throughout Southern California, including automobile liability and uninsured motorist claims, disability and health insurance policies, and homeowners’ policy claims for earthquake damage or other property and casualty loss.
People buy insurance for security and peace of mind. When an event occurs requiring insurance to step in and cover a loss, the last thing people expect is to have their claim denied. Yet insurance companies operate with a financial incentive to closely scrutinize every claim, and to pay as little as possible or deny a claim altogether when they can. When an insurance company acts unreasonably in the discharge of its duties, it can be liable for money damages in a claim of insurance bad faith.
The duty to act in good faith is implied in every contract, including insurance policies. In the insurance arena, bad faith can manifest itself in a number of ways. These include:
- Denial of coverage/refusal to pay a claim
- Undue delay in processing a claim
- Refusal to defend insured in a claim brought by a third party
- Refusal to settle a reasonable demand from a third party
- Canceling a policy (rescission) in order to avoid paying a claim
Bad faith can be shown in the way an insurance company conducts itself, regardless of the outcome. For instance, even if the insurer eventually settles a claim with the insured or a third party, if it used unreasonable delaying tactics in the process, it may be liable for damages caused by the delay. In situations where the insurer refuses a reasonable settlement demand within policy limits and later loses a lawsuit defending the insured, the company may be liable to pay the entire judgment, including any amount awarded over the policy limits.
James R. Gillen is an accomplished trial lawyer who is not afraid to take on the insurance giants when they have behaved inappropriately regarding their obligation to the insured. If you have been denied coverage on a claim or otherwise feel that an insurance company is mistreating you, contact the Law Offices of James R. Gillen for a free consultation regarding the law applicable to your particular situation.