Damages in Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuits
An insurance policy is functionally a paid promise that the insurance company will cover your damages in the event something occurs within the scope of your policy as long as you continue to pay premiums. An auto insurance policy can cover expenses following a car accident, and property insurance can cover damage to your property from accidents, negligence, bad weather, and other factors. The scope and amount of coverage you can buy reflects the premium cost, so more extensive coverage will be more expensive to maintain.
When policyholders file claims against their policy, they expect the insurer to act in good faith when processing claims. This means that even though paying out on a policyholder’s claim may be financially disadvantageous for the insurer, the insurer’s employees must process the claim honestly. If an insurance company fails to do so, or an insurance company employee engages in bad faith practices to avoid paying claims, the insurance company could face bad faith lawsuits from affected policyholders.
The attorneys at Dawson & Rosenthal, P.C. focus on insurance bad faith law and only take a few cases at a time. We do this to ensure every one of our clients receives our team’s undivided attention during the course of our representation. We strive to hold insurance companies accountable for adhering to their end of contracts with policyholders.
Types of Damages in Insurance Bad Faith Cases
Plaintiffs in insurance bad faith cases can potentially secure two types of damages, including:
- Compensatory damages, which satisfy the policy’s conditions and cover the plaintiff’s financial damages resulting from the bad faith. Compensatory damages can also include interest, statutory penalties, attorney’s fees, and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages, which exist to punish an insurance company that has engaged in unethical or exploitative behavior. These damages can exceed the limits of the policyholder’s coverage and typically reflect the insurance company’s overall wealth. Punitive damages discourage insurers from engaging in similar bad faith behaviors in the future.
Determining Damage Amounts in Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuits
Specific conditions must exist for bad faith lawsuits and damages in California, and your attorney will help you gather the documentation to build a strong case. This will include proof of all the financial effects of the bad faith in question as well as copies of correspondence with the insurer. Ultimately, the jury hearing your case will decide the amount of damages you receive beyond repaying the actual harm resulting from the bad faith. Thorough proof of financial losses helps maximize a plaintiff’s compensatory damages, and punitive damages will reflect the scope and severity of the insurer’s behavior.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
Every insurance bad faith case is unique, so legal experience matters. In some cases, simply sending a complaint of bad faith to the insurer from your attorney can be enough to spur a positive result. An experienced attorney will also help determine whether the bad faith in question resulted from honest mistakes and miscommunication or deliberate, unethical, or predatory practices. Insurance companies do not like bad faith cases to go to trial, so it’s crucial to secure reliable legal representation as soon as you suspect bad faith.
The attorneys at Dawson & Rosenthal, P.C. have extensive experience with all types of insurance bad faith cases, and our firm focuses specifically on insurance bad faith cases. This allows us to keep our current caseload light and offer our undivided attention to every client. Our attorneys are as fearless in the courtroom as they are at the negotiating table. Contact one of our attorneys today for help with an insurance bad faith claim.