If you are denied a covered claim without a valid legal and/or factual basis, our Los Angeles insurance attorneys can help; we understand what you are up against.

Unique Insight in Representing Policyholders and Plaintiffs

The Los Angeles law firm of Viau & Kwasniewski is particularly pleased to be able to represent individual and small business policyholders in California. The principal lawyers at Viau & Kwasniewski are uniquely qualified; before representing policyholders, they represented defendants, including major insurance companies and Fortune 500 companies.

Since approximately 2000, Los Angeles insurance attorneys at Viau & Kwasniewski have represented the consumer, including policyholders and insureds in California bad faith insurance cases.  Because they formerly represented insurance carriers, the lawyers at Viau & Kwasniewski are experts in California insurance law and possess a unique knowledge and insight about how insurance carriers think and operate.

For example, since we were the lawyers formerly taking the depositions of policyholders and plaintiffs, when we now prepare our clients for depositions it is done with the knowledge of what types of questions the insurance carrier counsel most likely will ask.  Having the knowledge of how insurance carriers handle claims gives the lawyers at Viau & Kwasniewski an edge when it comes to bad faith litigation in California.

Los Angeles Trial Lawyers

Licensed to practice in California, Los Angeles insurance attorneys Jeanette L. Viau and Gary K. Kwasniewski have a solid reputation as California trial lawyers who aggressively litigate and prosecute insurance bad faith claims and take cases to trial.

Viau & Kwasniewski use the knowledge they obtained representing insurance companies and providing coverage opinions to those companies, to:
 (a) Evaluate insurance coverage issues
(b) Ascertain the viability of any coverage defenses the insurance carrier may assert
(c) Determine whether insurance claims handling was proper and reasonable
(d) Pinpoint corporate policy and pattern and practice issues

Enforcing Your Rights in a Court of Law

Representing policyholders is a privilege.  We are able to provide our clients with a most important Constitutional right in this country – to enforce their rights in a court of law.  We put our clients on an even footing in a California court of law against some of the largest, most powerful, and sometimes ruthless insurance companies in the world.

To make the courts available to our California policyholder clients, we take our cases on a contingency, because our clients often cannot afford to fight the large and powerful insurance company – particularly when these insureds have just had a claim denied or underpaid.   When we step into a court of law against an insurance company and their lawyers on behalf of our clients (the policyholders and insureds); we fight for what is right under California law.  We do this by aggressively advocating the truth in the context of the insurance laws of California.

The Importance of Policyholder Status

What does the term “policyholder” mean?

Typically, the policyholder is the person who is a named insured on the policy, any named co-insured, joint insured, or additional insured, or any named third party beneficiary.  The policyholder usually is the person or persons who have what is called “standing” to sue the insurance company.

The “named insured” may be found, and is identified on, the policy’s Declarations Page.  A Declarations Page is a most important part of a policy – it specifies the insured(s), any property insured, and the coverages and exclusions (forms and endorsements) that make up the policy. If a named insured is a business entity, the person(s) who own that business entity, especially if it is a small business, should also be identified as named insured. This is because when a business entity is the only insured, it may be difficult to obtain emotional distress damages in the event a lawsuit against the insurance company becomes necessary. Businesses cannot obtain emotional distress damages – the business owner, if he or she qualifies as an insured, can.

Many policies provide a definition for the term “insured” within the text of the policy, as well.  Thus, residents of the named insured’s household, for example, may qualify as additional insureds.

Some policies have express beneficiaries, who are persons designated in the contract as being entitled to policy proceeds – for example, permissive users of a vehicle may qualify as express beneficiaries.  In some circumstances, there may be implied beneficiaries as well.

In the State of California, normally, first party claims (i.e., by a policyholder) may be brought and enforced only by those in privity of contract with the insurance company.  Those in privity of contract are the named insured(s), additional insured(s), and express or implied beneficiaries.  Unless there is an assignment of contractual benefits, ordinarily, an individual who is not in privity of contract with the insurance company cannot sue the insurance carrier for breach of contract or bad faith.

Bad Faith Insurance Claims

It is a humbling privilege to represent California insurance policyholders against insurance companies that deny and/or underpay valid claims. If your insurance company unreasonably denies benefits to you under an enforceable insurance policy in California, you have a basis to sue your insurance company for “bad faith“, breach of contract and for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

For more information about representing policyholders in bad faith insurance claims, please call us at (213) 842-8164, complete our online Contact Us Form, or reach us by email at gkk@vklawyers.com .

Our Los Angeles law firm also handles cases involving wrongful death and personal injury.

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