When you make a claim to an insurance company for benefits, you expect fair treatment. Regulations dictate why these companies operate the way they do.
This article will look at some of California’s standards for the fair settlement of insurance claims. If your insurance company is not abiding by these rules, you might be dealing with a bad-faith operator.
Insurance companies must promptly accept or deny your claim. This is usually not an issue — but not for the reason you might expect.
Some insurance companies might make relatively low offers that do not address the totality of an injury. In the pursuit of their corporate interests, they might make these offers at such a time when you would be most likely to accept them. For example, they might make a low offer immediately after an accident or when you have an unexpectedly large medical bill.
Your insurer must not discriminate against you based on any protected class. The company must also make you an offer that is not unreasonably low. Your offer might be unreasonably low if the company knew the details of your injury and proposed an amount that would not cover your losses.
Once you reach an equitable settlement, whether you do so through negotiation or litigation, insurance companies must tender payment promptly. In the relatively rare event that your case would proceed far enough through the formal process to result in some kind of administrative or court decision, then the insurer would have to abide by the terms that the adjudicating authority issues.
Many personal injury claims and related matters settle outside of courtrooms. However, it is sometimes difficult to tell at first whether an insurance company is merely protecting its interests or truly acting in bad faith.