All of us buy insurance for peace of mind. We reasonably expect that when something goes wrong our insurance will be there to make things right again. What happens if the insurance company you have paid your premiums to doesn’t treat you fairly or flat out fails to honor its promises?
Every insurer owes what is called a “duty of good faith and fair dealing” to its insured. If it breaches this duty, the insured may have what is called a tort claim for “bad faith” in addition to a breach of contract claim. In a “bad faith” tort claim, the insured’s damages are not capped by the policy he or she bought. If the insurance company acted egregiously or irresponsibly the jury may award money damages to punish (also known as punitive damages) and deter insurance companies for similar bad conduct in the future. These punitive damage awards can be millions of dollars.

WHAT KINDS OF BAD ACTS CAN GIVE RISE TO A TORT CLAIM?
Some examples of bad acts by an insurance company include:
• Failing to pay valid claims.
• Failure to settle within policy limits.
• Failure to properly investigate or value a claim.
• Deliberately delaying payment.
• Insurance broker or agent negligence.
• Refusing to defend a lawsuit.
• Failure to pay on a legitimate automobile insurance claim.
• Failure to pay reasonable health care benefits.
• Failure to have life insurance benefits paid after premiums have been paid.
• Failure to honor a disability insurance policy.
• Refusal to uphold your homeowner insurance policy.

HOW DO YOU YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A BAD FAITH CLAIM?
Bad faith is typically defined in part by court decisions. This is a moving target and may require an attorney that is well versed in matters such as this because the entire subject changes so frequently. Not every insurance company denial gives rise to a claim for bad faith and that is why you need a lawyer that is experienced in situations like this. The first step to finding out if you have a claim is to consult with an experienced bad faith insurance attorney.
The Law Office of Guenard and Bozarth in Elk Grove and Sacramento has handled numerous Bad Faith claims and we have developed a reputation with insurance companies for taking on Bad Faith claims and winning them. If you have any reason to suspect that you may be the victim of a Bad Faith denial you should call the Law Office of Guenard and Bozarth at 888-809-1075. We have the experience and resources to assist you. You can also find us on line at http://www.gblegal.com/insurance-disputes.php

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