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Dawson and Rosenthal
Dawson and Rosenthal

How Long Does a Bad Faith Lawsuit Take?

Insurance companies do not want to pay out money for claims. However, laws in California require insurance carriers to uphold their end of a contract, which means paying valid claims in a timely manner. If an insurance carrier denies a claim when they otherwise should not, they may be doing so in bad faith. Here, we want to define a bad faith insurance claim and discuss how long a bad faith lawsuit may take to resolve.

What are Bad Faith Insurance Practices?

Bad faith insurance practices are different from an insurance carrier trying to limit how much they pay in a claim through legitimate means. When an insurance carrier operates in bad faith, they are breaking the law. Insurance carriers simply cannot do whatever they want to a policyholder or another individual filing claim. 

Some of the most common examples of bad faith insurance practices you may see in California include:

  • The unreasonable denial of policy benefits
  • Misrepresenting facts of the policy to claimants
  • Failing to respond or investigate a claim promptly
  • Failing to approve or deny benefits within a reasonable amount of time after the loss has been submitted with proof
  • Using threatening language toward the claimant
  • Advising the claimant not to hire a lawyer
  • Misleading the claimant about the deadline for filing a claim

This is certainly not a complete list of the ways that bad faith insurance claims can arise, but it is crucial to understand that these practices are illegal. Individuals may be able to file a lawsuit against the insurance carrier to recover compensation not only for their original claim but also as a result of the bad faith insurance practices they have had to endure. Plaintiffs, the original claimants in these cases, may also be able to recover punitive damages if they can show that the insurance carrier acted with malice, oppression, or fraud in their situation.

How Long Will a Lawsuit Take?

There is no set amount of time for how long it takes a bad faith insurance claim to resolve. There is a decent chance that the insurance carrier will attempt to resolve the bad faith claim quickly, within a few weeks or a month after an attorney gets involved on behalf of the claimant. This is particularly true if the bad faith case is relatively strong, obvious, and straightforward. However, in the event the insurance carrier continues to deny the claim and decides to put up a fight, it could take multiple months or even more than a year for a bad faith claim to resolve. It may be necessary to take the case all the way to a jury trial. 

We strongly encourage you to work with a skilled bad faith insurance lawyer in California who has extensive experience handling these claims. Your attorney needs to be able to handle your original claim investigation as well as the investigation into the bad faith insurance practices.

Please do not choose to go after the insurance carriers by yourself without an attorney. These insurance carriers have their own internal legal teams that they will use to come up against you every step of the way.