Experienced Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers Serving San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is among America’s best-known cities, recognized around the world for its vibrant culture, its long-standing association with the world of tech, and landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Our San Francisco insurance bad faith lawyer is very familiar with the city and how it works.
Living in the City by the Bay isn’t cheap, though; in fact, it’s reportedly the third-most expensive city in the nation. So, if you could no longer work because of a disability, your life in San Francisco could become very difficult, especially if you can’t access long-term disability insurance benefits because of wrongful insurance company conduct.
A San Francisco insurance bad faith lawyer can help if you find yourself in this situation.
How the Disability Insurance Claims Process Works
Once you discover you have an illness or injury that’s preventing you from working and may qualify as a disability for the purposes of your long-term disability insurance policy, it’s time to begin the process of filing a claim.
In order to become entitled to monthly benefits, you must:
- Visit your physician and have them confirm you have a disability, as the term is defined in your policy.
- Have your physician administer the most appropriate medical treatment for your condition.
- Allow the elimination period (also known as a waiting period) on your policy to expire. These periods vary significantly from one disability insurance plan to the next, so it’s important to research your own policy contract to learn about your elimination period, ideally with the help of your disability attorney.
What Is Bad Faith, and Where Does It Come Into the Equation?
Generally speaking, bad faith refers to an act of dishonesty or unfairness in dealing with another party, whether in business or another context. When it comes to long-term disability insurance, bad faith occurs when an insurer wrongfully or unreasonably denies or delays a claim without a valid reason for doing so, misrepresents some important aspect of the insurance contract, or fails to properly investigate a claim within a reasonable period of time.
Remember, every case is different. To find out for sure whether the circumstances of your claim may amount to bad faith, you’ll need to work with an expert San Francisco insurance bad faith attorney.
How Can a San Francisco Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer Help?
An insurance bad faith attorney can help you at every stage of a dispute involving an individually purchased long-term disability insurance policy. As soon as you receive word of an adverse benefit
determination on your claim, you can consult with a lawyer to start considering your next move. Your long-term disability attorney will assess the medical, vocational, and financial evidence related to your claim, as well as the reasons your insurer gave for delaying or denying your monthly benefits payments. It may be possible to rectify the situation with the company via negotiation, if both parties can find common ground. If not, however, your lawyer may recommend filing an insurance bad faith lawsuit against your insurance carrier.
Can the California Department of Insurance Be of Assistance?
The California Department of Insurance (CDI) is responsible for regulating the insurance industry in California and protecting the rights of insurance consumers. This involves investigating complaints of misconduct, including those related to potential bad faith practices by insurance companies.
However, the CDI won’t prioritize your case the way a long-term disability insurance attorney will. The agency usually only takes action against insurance companies where it has seen evidence of a pattern of wrongful behavior by a single company.
So, if you believe you’ve fallen victim to this type of wrongful behavior, you may be entitled to file a complaint with the CDI. However, you shouldn’t expect the department to intervene on your behalf and secure your monthly benefits.
Does ERISA Apply to My Long-Term Disability Insurance Policy? Can I Still File a Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit If So?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a body of federal legislation that sets out strict rules and requirements in relation to employer-sponsored disability insurance policies. If you purchased your policy on your own, without financial help from your place of work, the legislation may not apply in your case.
If yours is an ERISA policy, though, you will not be able to pursue bad faith insurance litigation against your insurance company. The legislation requires claimants to complete a timely administrative appeal process with the company following a denial. A federal ERISA lawsuit is possible following this process if the denial is not overturned, but these cases take place according to special rules and must be in federal court.
So, ERISA policies present a different set of challenges than individually purchased plans. However, the top-class attorneys at DarrasLaw are highly experienced in cases of both types, so we can assist you one way or the other.
Getting Back on Your Feet After a Bad Faith Insurance Claim Denial
Working with a top-class San Francisco insurance bad faith lawyer is the best way to ensure peace of mind if you’re struggling with a wrongful delay or denial of your long-term disability insurance claim. Contact DarrasLaw today to schedule a free initial case consultation, including a free initial policy or claim analysis.