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Insurance companies are supposed to have your back in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty getting their insurance company to be fair and comply with the law.

When insurance companies act like this, it’s known as operating in “bad faith.”

While insurance agencies may seem impossible to deal with, our dedicated attorneys at Consumer & Employment Law Group have experience going toe-to-toe with these big companies. Before you can be sure your insurer acted in “bad faith,” it may be helpful to learn our insights about “bad faith” insurance law in California.

“Bad faith” insurance law in California

In California, the court rules on “bad faith” in two different ways, depending on the case.

    • Common Law → California courts rely on previous rulings to determine how to rule on a current case. In general, you have to prove two main elements if you file a claim:
      • Your insurance policy outlined benefits that you were entitled to and your insurer denied those benefits to you, and
      • Your insurer’s reason for denying your benefits is unreasonable.
    • Statutory → Any specific acts or set of laws legislated by the California government that define specific ways an insurance company may act in “bad faith.” 
      • California has a set of laws called the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, which outline the standards of good faith insurance companies must follow. 
      • You may have a claim if your insurer didn’t meet California’s standards.

How do I know if my insurance company acts in "bad faith"?

Sometimes an insurance company has poor customer service standards. Sometimes they don’t want to pay what you’re entitled to. 

How can you really tell if your insurer wants to pull the wool over your eyes? Here are some signs that could indicate you need a California “bad faith” insurance attorney:

  • Your insurance company may try changing what your policy actually says by:
    • Revising your policy without notifying you
    • Misleading you about what your policy actually says
  • Your insurer may have unreasonable demands for documentation
    • They might ask you to send your full medical records or repeatedly ask you for documents you’ve already submitted
  • You may experience delays in communication or payment
    • Your insurer may be extremely unresponsive no matter what form of contact you use – a level of communication that can’t be brushed away as simply poor service
    • They might also keep delaying your payment for no clear reason, or try to find excuses that don’t really fit
  • Your insurance company may provide lowball settlement offers
    • Be careful once your insurer provides a settlement number. If it seems too low, it probably is. And insurance companies are not allowed to lowball you.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a claim in California?

When filing a claim against your insurer, California has laws that say how much time you have to file, also known as “statutes of limitations.” 

Depending on your case, there are two claims you can file with different deadlines:

  • Breach of contract 
    • You have 4 years to file, starting from the date you believe you were denied
  • Tort claim 
    • You have 2 years to file, starting from the date you believe you were denied

Contact our experienced consumer law attorneys at Consumer & Employment Law Group

At Consumer & Employment Law Group, we fight for people. We know that insurance companies can be intimidating, but our experienced San Diego attorneys are here to fight back against bad-faith actors. 

We know the tricks, delay tactics, and games insurance companies use to delay, deny or underpay claims. With our team, you may be able to get your settlement and compensation for your troubles and suffering. Get in touch with our team today.