Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Insurance Bad Faith for California

Q: Can I go after an insurance company for claims + damages? Do I have any legal appeal or recourse.

My company lost $70,000 worth of finished product last year after two power outages (one due to weather, one due to construction by LADWP), which caused our finished product to thaw and then refreeze, thus altering its quality.

The insurance company determined with flawed inspections that the cause of defective products was not the outages but our production practice.

We conducted two lab studies concluding that both thawing occurrences at the very temperatures they happened generated the damages we witnessed on the texture of our products.

But this did not make them budge.

I had to take loans for which I was personally liable in order to continue our business, and I am on the verge of personal bankruptcy.

I contacted numerous lawyers but none of them wants to take our case.

Can I sue insurance companies for more than just the value of the product?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, if you believe an insurance company has acted in bad faith by unfairly denying a legitimate claim, you have the right to pursue legal action against them. This can include not only the value of the actual loss (the $70,000 worth of product), but potentially additional damages if the insurer's conduct was egregious.

Your situation, where the insurance company disputes the cause of damage based on what you believe to be flawed inspections, is not uncommon. In cases like this, policyholders often must provide compelling evidence to challenge the insurer's findings. Your lab studies might be key evidence in demonstrating the true cause of the damage to your product.

If you're finding it difficult to engage a lawyer to take your case, consider reaching out to attorneys who have experience in insurance bad faith claims. They are more familiar with the complexities of these cases and may be more willing to consider the merits of your situation.

Remember, insurance policies and the law surrounding them can be complex. It's essential to have a thorough understanding of your policy's terms and the legal standards for proving bad faith in California. Legal representation is crucial in navigating these complexities and effectively arguing your case.

Facing such financial and legal challenges can be overwhelming, but know that there are legal pathways available to seek justice and compensation. It's important to act promptly to protect your rights and interests.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Insurance Claims Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: Something to keep in mind with cases involving utilities - they could sometimes involve notice of claim issues (in other words, very short filing deadlines), if applicable. Local counsel could advise best on this. Good luck

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