At Greve, Clifford, Wengel & Paras, LLP, our attorneys have practiced insurance law throughout the Greater Sacramento area and northern and central California for decades, providing our insurance company clients with quality legal advice and effective representation in matters regarding the applicability of coverage or allegations of bad faith insurance practices.
An initial yet critical step when a claim is filed is to determine whether the claim is in fact covered under the insured's policy. Based on our extensive work in the insurance industry and in the commercial field negotiating, drafting, and reviewing contracts, we can review the policy in light of the facts at hand and render a professional opinion as to whether coverage applies in a given circumstance. If necessary, we can apply to the courts for a declaratory judgment as to whether a particular claim is indeed covered under the insured's policy. In either case, we are often able to resolve a matter quickly and efficiently on our client's behalf at this preliminary stage.
Generally speaking, the interests of the insurance company and the insured are aligned only to the extent that the insured files a valid claim that can be reasonably satisfied by the insurance company. When a claim is denied or an insured does not receive all that he or she feels entitled to, the insured may feel that the insurance company acted unreasonably, and may attempt to gain compensation by filing a claim of insurance bad faith. A bad faith claim can arise in a number of situations:
Denial - The insurance company denied coverage based upon its interpretation of the policy and the incident at hand.
Rescission - In reviewing the policy, the insurance company uncovered false or incomplete information on the original application which causes the company to rescind the policy.
Delay - Regardless of whether the insurance company eventually settles a claim or not, undue delay in processing or resolving a claim can lead to an accusation that the company was acting in bad faith.
Underpayment - The amount offered by the insurance company is less than what the insured thinks it should reasonably expect in light of policy limits and the actual damages incurred.
Third Party Claims - Insured alleges insurance company had a duty to defend it against a third party, or to accede to a settlement demand from a third party that was within policy limits.
Whether the insurance company acted in good faith often involves an objective assessment of the industry and the customary course of business dealings, as well as a subjective view of the company's motives in its business decisions. Our long years of experience helps us approach each situation with an understanding of the issues involved and the strategies necessary to formulate an effective defense.
We advise clients across the spectrum of the insurance industry and represent clients in all types of bad faith claims, whether based on breach of contract or violation of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, where potentially large sums exceeding the insured's actual damages can be at stake. In central and northern California, contact Greve, Clifford, Wengel & Paras, LLP for advice or representation in an insurance law matter.