In California, insurance bad faith litigation is unlike typical personal injury litigation.

There is an entirely different set of Regulations, statutes, and case law that applies to California insurance bad faith litigation.  The nature and type of recoverable damages must be distinguished from damages ordinarily recovered in personal injury actions.

Understanding Coverage Issues in Insurance Bad Faith Litigation

To successfully litigate an insurance bad faith case in California, it is essential that the bad faith lawyers understand and be able to analyze the coverage issues, first and foremost.

Every insurance bad faith case starts with the insurance policy.  As a foundational matter, it is the insured’s burden of proof to establish that there is coverage for the insurance claim presented.  The burden then shifts to the insurance company to prove that there is a valid coverage defense applicable to the claim, which defeats coverage.  If the insurance company denied the insured’s claim, the insured’s bad faith lawyers must be able to analyze and confirm whether that denial was proper and supportable.

Ascertaining Improper Claims Handling in Insurance Bad Faith Litigation

Once coverage under the California insurance policy for the insured’s claim is confirmed, the insured’s bad faith lawyers must then ascertain how the insurance company handled the claim, and whether that insurance claim handling was proper, and reasonable.  This requires the insured’s bad faith lawyers to immediately obtain a complete copy of the insurance company’s claim file.

California Insurance Regulations & Bad Faith Litigation

The California Regulations, Title 10, Chapter 5, subchapter 7.5, require every insurer doing business in the State of California to maintain complete claim files, which must contain “all documents, notes and work papers (including copies of all correspondence) which reasonably pertain to each claim in such detail that pertinent events and the dates of the events can be reconstructed and the [insurance carrier’s] actions pertaining to the claim can be determined.”  (Regulations, section 2695.3(a).)

Ascertaining Insurance Claims Personnel Responsible for Claim Denial

Concurrent with the insured’s bad faith lawyers obtaining the relevant claim file(s), the lawyers must identify, if possible, all of the insurance claims’ personnel involved in the claim handling, and decision making.  This includes claims investigators, adjusters, managers, and supervisors.  If the issues involve improper claim denial, it is important for the insured’s bad faith lawyers to pinpoint the person or persons who made the decision to deny the claim, and on what grounds.

Additionally important in California insurance bad faith litigation is a determination, to the extent possible, regarding the nature and propriety of the training the insurance claim personnel, who were involved in the insured’s claim, received.

Ascertaining Insurance Carrier Practices & Policies in Claims Denial

Further, the insured’s bad faith lawyers must attempt to determine whether the insurance company’s claims handling misconduct was part of a pattern and practice in which that insurance carrier engaged, as a matter of corporate policy.  This issue has wide reaching ramifications, including regarding the insurance carrier’s liability, and recoverable damages.

Under California law, insurance companies generally must look for coverage rather than deny coverage after notice of a valid claim and may not put their interests above yours, the policyholder.

Viau & Kwasniewski

California insurance bad faith litigation cases are difficult, time consuming, paper intensive, and often expensive.  It is important for the policyholder to have insurance bad faith lawyers with experience in litigating these types of bad faith insurance cases.

Viau & Kwasniewski name attorneys have worked on both sides and are uniquely qualified to handle insurance bad faith litigation cases. Formerly representing major insurance and Fortune 500 companies, they are experts in California insurance law who now represent only policyholders.

Viau & Kwasniewski make for a formidable insurance bad faith litigation team on behalf of policyholders against insurance companies and HMOs that do business in California. They also have extensive experience in complex personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Insurance Bad Faith Litigation Lawyers

As a skilled and pre-eminent insurance bad faith litigation lawyer, Gary K. Kwasniewski aggressively litigates and takes cases to trial. Jeanette L. Viau is a highly experienced pre-eminent bad faith litigation attorney with a far-reaching command of California insurance law, civil and appellate procedure and is an excellent and persuasive legal writer.

As Los Angeles trial and appellate lawyers, our insurance bad faith litigation practice involves most aspects of insurance bad faith litigation, including disputes over insurance policy interpretation and complex insurance coverage analysis.

If you are a victim of insurance company or HMO abuse in California, Los Angeles insurance bad faith litigation attorneys at Viau & Kwasniewski may be able to help.

Contact us at (213) 842-8164, send an email to, or complete our online Contact Us Form.

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