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Damage caused by wildfires have left thousands of people wondering where to turn for help. Handling insurance claims, healthcare, and legal issues after such devastating losses is never easy. Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP attorneys want to help. We understand the challenges facing Californians affected by wildfires and want residents to understand their legal rights.
Insurance issues are one of the most common frustrations to arise after a wildfire. Policyholders need reliable legal representation to handle these conflicts with insurance companies and find the compensation they need after serious losses. Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP has helped thousands of clients in California recover more than $10 billion in damages since our firm’s beginnings. Consider the following information and then contact our team to discuss your wildfire claim.
Common Insurance Concerns
Insurance companies essentially sell paid promises to their policyholders. Customers purchase a policy and pay monthly premiums to maintain coverage, and the insurer agrees to cover the terms of the policy. Insurance companies do not make money when they pay out on policyholder’s claims, but they have a legal requirement to process claims honestly and in good faith. Most insurers will send investigators and claims adjusters to investigate the validity of policyholder’s claims.
One of the most common issues many Americans encounter when dealing with insurers is receiving lower claim settlement offers than they expect. A policyholder’s insurance coverage may state that $50,000 in property damage is the maximum coverage his or her policy affords. If the insurance company responds to the claim with an offer for $20,000, the policyholder may wonder what he or she can do. The insurer’s investigations often work to uncover details about the situation that may justify lowering claim amounts. It’s up to the policyholder and his or her attorney to justify the claimed amount and interpret the insurance policy’s contents as they apply to the situation.
What Is Bad Faith?
Insurance companies must process claims honestly and fairly, even if this causes them to lose money. Insurance claims adjusters may look for reasons to lower a claim amount or deny a claim, but they must do so in good faith. Bad faith insurance practices occur when insurers manipulate investigation findings, misrepresent aspects of a policy to a policyholder, lie, unreasonably delay claims, or deny claims without justification.
Contact the team at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP to discuss your options if you suspect your insurer is operating in bad faith and only looking for ways to reduce or deny your claim. Often, a firm, formal letter to the insurer is enough to spur a more amicable settlement negotiation in some cases. Having an experienced, reputable attorney assist you with this may lend your voice more authority.
First Steps After a Wildfire
It’s important to carefully plan your next steps and preserve all evidence that may help you support an insurance claim if you’ve recently suffered damages from a wildfire. Dealing with alternate housing, transportation, and emergency services, may prove to be time-consuming and stressful. However, it is important to preserve any receipts, correspondence, or documentation during this time, as this information may help with an insurance issue later.
If you have been the victim of a wildfire, contact the team at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP. Our firm has an extensive track record of successful cases in a variety of practice areas, and we can put our resources and experience to work for you. We offer free consultations to potential new clients, so reach out to us today to get started.