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Girard Bengali, APC

Tough negotiation tactics can actually be bad faith

While the may behave in such a way that they seem like they do not care, insurance companies do not want to face a claim of bad faith, particularly when that claim falls in to the hands of a jury to decide.

After all, juries in California and around the country are often sympathetic to people and businesses who seems to have been treated harshly or unfairly by their insurance companies, even when, legally speaking, the insurer may have been taking a hard but legally justifiable position.

The law itself in fact makes certain hardball negotiation tactics improper when it comes to questions of insurance coverage and related issues.

For example, California's statute prohibiting unfair trade practices in the insurance industry provides that insurers may not continue to fight over whether they should have to pay a claim once their obligation to do so has become reasonably clear under the law.

On a related point, insurers may not have set policies of making those who rely on them resort to court action in order to get them to accept a lower settlement offer. In other words, insurers should never draw a hard line in litigation or negotiation unless there is a legal reason to do so. In fact, all denials of coverage, or material compromises, must be based on language in the insurance policy itself.

While hardball litigation tactics might be expected in other contexts, insurance carriers must not use them against consumers. If they do, a victim may be able to file a claim of insurance bad faith. While the ultimate outcome of such claims depends on the individual facts and circumstances, victims may find a sympathetic ear among a jury of their peers.

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Girard Bengali, APC
333 S. Grand Ave.
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Los Angeles, CA 90071

Phone: 323-302-9579
Fax: 323-302-8310
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