CALIFORNIA INSURANCE BAD FAITH I PERSONAL INJURY I CIVIL LITIGATION – Insurance Bad Faith
February 10, 2020
Insurance Bad Faith: When an injured party in a motor vehicle accident, initiates a claim for a covered injury an insurance carrier’s duty to defend and operate in good faith and fair dealing is triggered. When an insurance carrier breaches this obligation then an Insurance Bad Faith action may be brought.
Carrier’s actions in a pending Personal Injury claim that constitute Insurance Bad Faith: When an Insurance Carrier adopts a strategy of unreasonably delaying settlements, failing to timely respond to offers, extending lowball offers and making duplicative or frivolous requests for documentation, all such actions constitute insurance bad faith.
“An insurer, who wrongfully declines to defend and who refuses to accept a reasonable settlement within the policy limits in violation of its duty to consider in good faith the interest of the insured in the settlement, is liable for the entire judgment against the insured even if it exceeds the policy limits.” Comunale v. Traders & Gen. Ins. Co., 50 Cal. 2d 654, 661, 328 P.2d 198, 202 (1958).
The California Supreme Court has described this implied covenant in the following manner: “There is an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in every contract that neither party will do anything which will injure the right of the other to receive the benefits of the agreement.” Comunale v. Traders & Gen. Ins. Co., 50 Cal. 2d 654, 658, 328 P.2d 198, 200 (1958).
Application of Insurance Bad Faith tactics in Personal Injury Claims: Following the extension of a reasonable and well-supported settlement offer, an insurance carrier makes a misrepresentation that they are waiting on certain records to process the claim. Despite the injured party producing the requested records, which are duplicative in nature, rather then responding or processing the claim the insurance carrier attempts to delay further by requesting irrelevant and frivolous information. By making false representations and adopting unreasonable delay tactics, an insurance carrier is in breach of their affirmative duties to negotiate and communicate in good faith. (See Merritt v. Reserve Ins. Co. (1973) 34 Cal.App.3d 858, 877).
For additional articles discussing, insurance bad faith claims, please see links below:
What Types of Damages are available in a California Insurance Bad Faith action?
If an insurance company is found to have acted in bad faith, they may be liable for: Compensatory Damages, Punitive Damages, and Attorney Fees. Our previous articles discussing compensatory damages and punitive damages are linked below:
If you believe that an insurance carrier has acted in bad faith or that you have a viable Insurance Bad Faith Claim, we invite you to contact us today at 619-432-5145 for a free consultation with one of our experienced California Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers.