San Diego Commercial Insurance Attorney
Commercial business owners know the importance of carrying insurance to cover their investments. Things can go wrong in an instant, leaving the entire company in a bind. How will you pay the bills? How will the employees get their paychecks? All this can come crashing down with one small accident. Commercial insurance is the safety net that keeps businesses afloat in times of turmoil and natural disaster. When a commercial insurance company acts in bad faith and refuses to pay, it can be devastating to a business. If you find yourself in this situation, talk to one of our San Diego commercial insurance attorneys.
Business insurance policies cover everything from floods to damaged inventory. They ensure California businesses keep their investments safe. Insurance policies require a purchase in good faith, with the business owner paying money directly to the insurance company with the promise that if something ever occurs in the business, the policy will be there to pick up the pieces. When the insurance company denies such a claim, at best the entire business is put on hold, at worst, it can mean the end of a business.
Common Commercial Insurance Policies Regarding Bad Faith
San Diego business owners typically hold one insurance policy that covers the entire business structure or a few insurance policies for different parts of the company. A few examples of common commercial insurance policies include:
- Comprehensive general liability insurance
- Theft protection
- Property damage
- Legal protection from pollution liability
- Operation insurance
- Insurance related to the costs of having employees in the business, such as workers’ compensation, payroll insurance, and health insurance coverage for employees
- Business disruption insurance
- Natural disaster insurance
- Insurance in case of a shooting or terrorist attack
These different policies work together to protect the business from major disasters or unforeseen circumstances.
If something goes wrong, having the insurance payout to cover the day-to-day expenses is critical. The loss of income for all the employees, the loss of income for the business, and the possible loss of inventory and property damage can take their toll. If the insurance company does not provide per the policy strictures, it can mean the end of a business. A commercial insurance bad faith claim helps get things back on track.
Examples of Commercial Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance bad faith, or insurance fraud, happens when the insurance company responsible for the policy does not uphold its end of the deal. This can be because of:
- Delaying payments
- Denying claims without giving a reason
- Delaying investigation into the claim
- Making false statements about the claim
- Offering settlements that do not cover the full amount due
- Using substandard materials to settle the claim
- Turning the responsibility of payment to another company, such as the contractor completing the work
- Estimating the cost to rebuild as too low
Any combination of these can be a reason to file an insurance bad faith suit. California law also allows bad faith prosecutions on the federal level in certain egregious circumstances.
What to do if Your Commercial Insurance Claim was Denied?
Owning and operating a business comes with many risks. However, a good portion of these risks can be mitigated by purchasing various types of insurance policies for your business, property, and customers to protect against injuries and other losses. However, if a business insurance claim is denied, you may end up finding yourself exposed to the exact same risk that you bought the insurance policy to prevent in the first place. Here, we want to briefly discuss the steps to take if your commercial insurance claim is denied:
Prepare a response
The first step that you need to take if your business insurance claim is denied is to review the notice of denial. You need to know the specific reasons why the insurance carrier denied the claim. There are many reasons why an insurance carrier could deny a claim, including the following:
- The claim was not filed on time
- The injury was not covered by the specific policy
- The insurance carrier suspects fraud
- Coverage limits are met or exceeded
When you are preparing a response, you will need to submit an appeal letter that clearly illustrates the reasons why you think that the claim should be covered in light of the facts of the situation and the terms of the policy. You will be able to present any evidence that support your claim.
Getting ready for litigation
In the event an insurance carrier still denies a claim after your response, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in civil court. At this point, you should have already secured assistance from a skilled business litigation attorney. A San Diego business insurance attorney will be able to examine the facts of your case and file a claim in civil court. If an attorney determines that the claim was denied in bad faith, this could result in additional consequences above and beyond the insurer having to pay for the initial claim. They could also be on the line for additional types of compensation amounts.
Bad faith claims will occur if the insurance carrier lies, ignores evidence, refuses to investigate the incident, or otherwise intentionally thwarts the attempts just successfully file the claim.
Business Insurance Cases We Have Represented
The team at Dawson & Rosenthal has extensive experience handling complex insurance denial claims. This includes handling routine insurance denials that should not have occurred as well as bad faith insurance denials where the insurance carrier may hold additional liability.
Our commercial insurance lawyers have routinely been able to recover significant settlements worth well over $1,000,000 on behalf of those who have been initially denied an insurance claim by the carrier. While not every single case results in a significant multi-million dollar settlement or jury verdict, the reality is that anytime a person’s insurance claim is denied wrongfully, this can result in significant financial losses on their behalf. Even recovery of tens of thousands of dollars is often all a person needs to get them back on firm financial footing.
No business insurance claim denial is too small for us to look at. We want to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding your case so we can help you get through this and secure the compensation that you need.
Proving Commercial Insurance Bad Faith
To prove commercial insurance bad faith, the business needs to gather several pieces of evidence. Put any correspondence with the insurance company, receipts for repairs made to the building or property relating to the claim, loss of income statements, and inventory statements into a file to use when filing a claim.
The best way to file a bad faith claim is with a lawyer’s help. A San Diego commercial insurance lawyer with experience will know exactly how to file a claim, who to contact, and what pieces of evidence to gather. Enjoy the peace of mind and the knowledge that an insurer won’t try to manipulate you into a lesser settlement.
Don’t let an insurance bad faith ruin your business. Our San Diego law offices have the knowledge and the expertise to get what you deserve. Take the proper steps to get your settlement payment and get back on the road to success.