Experienced Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers Serving All Of California
The implied duty of good faith and fair dealing is a legal principle that applies to every contract. If your long-term disability insurance company wrongfully denies or unreasonably delays your claim, they have breached this duty in the eyes of the law.
So, how does that help you?
As a California insurance bad faith lawyer, our founding attorney Frank N. Darras takes on disability insurance providers engaging in bad faith practices. Our firm works to overturn claim denials and delays and get you the insurance benefits you need to get your life back on track after developing a disability.
Do You Need a California Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer?
Insurance bad faith lawyers do more than argue cases in courtrooms. Our disability attorneys work with people at all stages of disputes with disability insurance providers, helping to solve many different types of problems.
Our first role is to help you understand your rights under California law and navigate the complex legal process of pursuing a bad faith disability insurance claim. When you approach us for a free initial consultation, we’ll look at your policy, your claim, and any correspondence you may have received from your insurer to get an idea of what kind of assistance you might need.
If we think your insurer’s conduct amounts to bad faith, we can get to work on setting things right straight away. If the insurance company has wrongfully denied your claim, we can send a letter demanding the payment of monthly benefits before filing a comprehensive bad faith lawsuit. Insurance companies often try to deny claims without good reason because they believe claimants will become frustrated by the process and simply give up. If you have the authoritative voice of a long-term disability attorney on your side, they won’t be able to take advantage of you so easily.
If this doesn’t work, we’ll file a bad faith insurance lawsuit on your behalf in state court. From there, we’ll start building aprove your case against your insurance company using all the medical, financial, and vocational evidence at our disposal. This will involve discovery, a process whereby both legal teams in a dispute request evidence from one another. There may also be depositions.
Insurance bad faith lawsuits don’t always end up in court. A lot of the time, the two parties involved can come to an agreement through negotiation. This is typically preferable for everyone involved, as it saves significant time and expense. However, if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached, it’s time to bring the matter before a judge and jury.
When Do You Become Entitled to Long-Term Disability Insurance Benefits?
You might think you’d become entitled to long-term disability insurance benefits as soon as you have to leave work because of illness or injury. However, the reality is a little more complex.
Before filing a claim, you must visit your physician and have them confirm that your illness or injury qualifies as a disability. The definition of disability is set by your insurance policy contract; there are two general types of disability definitions, “any occupation” and “own occupation.”
Under “any occupation” terms, your condition must prevent you from doing any full- or part-time work for which you are trained, educated, or otherwise suited in order for you to be considered disabled. Under an “own occupation” definition, however, your insurance company should treat you as having a disability once you can no longer carry out the essential tasks associated with the role you had directly prior to the onset of your disability. Some “own occupation” policies even allow you to take up a new job (other than the occupation you had before the onset of your disability) and keep receiving the full amount of your monthly benefits.
As well as diagnosing your condition and confirming that it rises to the level of a disability, your physician must administer the most suitable course of treatment for it.
Additionally, you must wait for the elimination period on your policy to elapse before you can file a claim. These periods vary widely from one policy to the next; to find out for certain what length of time you’ll have to wait, you should consult your own policy document, ideally with the assistance of your California Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer.
What Are the Rules on Insurance Bad Faith in California?
It’s important to remember that the rules on insurance bad faith lawsuits vary from state to state. Though there are broad similarities between sets of rules from one to the next, state governments all write their own insurance industry legislation, so there are important distinctions.
In California, the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, published by the state Department of Insurance, set out detailed requirements for insurers. The regulations include duties related to “prompt, fair, and equitable settlements,” “representation of policy provisions and benefits,” and “duties upon receipt of communications.”
The provision that deals directly with bad faith insurance practices is Section 790 of the Cal. Ins. Code. It sets out a number of specific examples of conduct that may amount to bad faith, including:
- Failing to communicate properly with policyholders about claims.
- Breaching a term of the insurance contract.
- Forcing a claimant to undertake litigation by refusing to issue a settlement offer.
- Failing to clearly explain the reasons behind a claim denial.
Working With a California Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer Who Will Fight for Your Rights
At DarrasLaw, we know exactly how stressful it is to be faced with the prospect of disability and financial calamity all at once. Sadly, long-term disability insurance companies care little about the personal woes of their policyholders; their only focus is on their balance sheets.
Don’t let insurance bad faith practices get in the way of the monthly disability insurance benefits you and your family need. Contact DarrasLaw today to schedule a free initial consultation about your case, including a free policy or claim analysis.