The attorney will be able to advise you on how long your statutory periods are in your deadlines to file your claim the correct procedure and filing your claim as well as the possibilities of prevailing on the claim do you know what insurance bad faith is and how you get help if you've.
Suffered from it well that's we're going to find out today because we're going to ask the lawyer hi again everybody i'm rob rosenthal with askthelawyers.com and my guest is california attorney richard richardson richard good to see you thank you so much for making some time to help us out today good to be here let's just start at the.
Beginning what does the legal term insurance bad faith even mean insurance bad faith is when an insurance carrier doesn't fulfill this obligation to the client and oftentimes it doesn't fulfill that obligation with the sort of intention to withhold.
Premiums that is taken but the police it doesn't pay out the policy to the plaintiff when the policy is due to the plaintiff it may use tactics such as delaying payment not invest not fully investigating payment.
Using individuals to undervalue the claim of the um of the insured these are all different tactics that have been used in the past by insurance carriers to avoid paying out the policy and so these classify as insurance bad faith when there are certain duties that are breached and.
They're breached in such a manner that show that it's a plan or a scheme to avoid paying the policy to the insured because when you have an accident an insurance company is supposed to be there to take care of you to help there's a.
Special duty and when they breach that duty and it shows a scheme of not wanting to make you whole or pay you in accordance with your agreement that's when insurance bad faith comes in and can you tell us a little bit about your experience uh representing people for these types of claims sure.
Um i've had my experience goes back as far as seven or eight years in representing people and insurance bad faith claims now oftentimes um insurance bad faith claims can take different forms it can take a homeowner's insurance policy an auto insurance policy or it could take um you know a fire.
Related policy and i've had experience in all areas the um when you get an insurance bad faith case sometimes people don't know what their rights are and they don't know how to pursue their rights they know that they may have a homeowner's insurance policy.
And lo and behold something happened to their house there is a fire or there was a break-in at their house but when they apply a claim to their insurance carrier it doesn't get paid not only does it get paid but there's a delay in the investigation or there's a denial to cover the claim those are all categories of insurance.
Pathway it would seem to me richard that in those kind of situations the insurance company isn't going to say oh we're operating in bad faith they're going to have what seemed to a layman well they've got a good reason it's you know they're going to they're going to give you.
What seems like a good excuse so they we the layman need someone like yourself who can recognize when there is bad faith sure and a lot of the times the case law of what's happened in previous dealings with the consumer and the insurance carrier.
Determine what's considered insurance bad faith when you go through these scenarios with an insurance carrier a typical person does not know the complete list of what their duties are and what their rights are under the policy they don't know that they're entitled to have the policy investigated in a.
Reasonable amount of time they don't know that they're entitled to an independent evaluation uh um some subcontractor who's independent from the insurance agency they don't understand that they're entitled to receive the benefits of their policy without being encountering some sort of.
Scheme that makes them file a claim or file a lawsuit in order to get the complete benefits they don't understand that sometimes their claim could be undervalued because the insurance carrier deals with this every day all day and they know different ways to undervalue.
Your claim you don't you also won't understand as a typical consumer that there's a very short statute of limitations that you have in order to fight this action by your insurance carrier that you may deem unfair so that's why reaching out to a civil.
Litigation attorney reaching out to an attorney who's experiencing insurance bad faith it will help you the attorney will be able to advise you on how long your statutory periods are in your deadlines to file your claim the correct procedure and filing your claim.
As well as the possibilities of prevailing on the claim in your experience richard have you uh do have you noticed that some insurance carriers uh purposely target people in in minority communities for bad faith i've seen it happen consistently.
And oftentimes it may be related to class and income if you're middle class lower middle class you may not have the ability to pay five ten thousand dollars to go to attorney and get a complete review of your insurance coverage whereas if you live in beverly hills.
You live in uh palos verdes you may have the ability to do that and um and so insurance carriers are less likely to deny coverage for an arbitrary reason if you live on the higher income of that spectrum whereas if you're lower middle class you may not know your rights and you may not.
Have the ability to seek it out especially let's say in african american communities i've seen in the past where their insurance companies that are smaller mid-tier companies they've been cited by the insurance commission of the state of california for engaging in unfair practices in african american homeowners communities.
Such as bayview hunters point or south central los angeles i've taken cases in both places and from my experience i've been able to look at the insurance company the insurance commissioner's websites and find when these companies have been cited.
I've been able to look and find consumer reports from online media such as yelp reviews to find this company is not only doing that in one or two scenarios there are ten different reports that they've done this in african-american communities.
And based on that i'm able to put together a viable claim against them for violating mandatory insurance carrier duties so when someone decides to speak to a civil attorney like yourself about this insurance bad faith do they need to worry about the attorney's fees and and eating up any any claim they may.
Have where is the worth and what do they need what do they need to be prepared to do it depends on the it depends on the nature of your situation but sometimes um sometimes plaintives attorneys can take cases on the contingency fee basis depending on the value of your case um.
Initially attorneys you know such as myself we don't charge your fee to do an initial consultation so i'm able to evaluate your claim to look at any police reports or incident reports or fire reports that you've completed and do an evaluation for you without.
Charging and based on collecting that information and based on my history i'm able to tell you whether you have a viable claim as well as the statutory deadlines for pursuing the claim and so in that scenario you wouldn't need to worry about money up front sometimes you're able to um engage in a.
Contingency fee basis with the attorney an arrangement that allows the attorney to cover the fees pending the attorney being reimbursed at the end of the case uh in the case ends such as a mediation a settlement or a verdict after trial in the plaintiff's favor those are all.
Different arrangements that allow plaintiff's attorneys to work with people who may not have the means to pay the attorney's fees upfront sounds like getting someone like yourself involved as early in the process as possible is a good idea because if there's.
If they delay delayed delay and they wait until well you know i'm just i've had it it they may have run out of a statute of limitations that's correct and um people will be surprised to learn that in certain um on certain insurance policies the statute of limitations can be as short.
As one year and in that scenario um your ability to sue would be forever barred meaning that if you failed to file a lawsuit within one year you were thinking about it you didn't know your rights you waited you had other issues going on you could lose you could ever lose your.
Right to pursue a claim against the insurance carrier when you knew it was unfair what they did to you you just didn't know how to receive help this is why reaching out to an attorney reaching out to an attorney early and making sure your documentation is in order and presented to the attorney.
Can help you make yourself whole and change the future of your interaction with the insurance carrier that's going to do it for this episode of ask the lawyer my guest has been california attorney richard richardson remember if you need the very best information.
Or you like the idea of being able to choose a lawyer that lawyers choose make sure to go to askthelawyers.com thanks for watching everybody i'm rob rosenthal with ask the lawyers you