What are the types of damages for insurance bad faith? - Gianelli & Morris
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What are the Types of Damages for Insurance Bad Faith?

Woman patient having consultation with doctor (gynecologist or psychiatrist) and examining health in medical gynecological clinic or hospital mental health service center

When a health insurance company wrongly denies your claim for benefits in California, you may have a right to file a claim for bad faith against your insurer. If successful, an insurance bad faith lawsuit will entitle you to receive compensation in the form of money damages. If you want to learn our other blog addresses the elements of a bad faith insurance claim.

Lawsuits require time and effort to pursue, even when working with experienced insurance bad faith attorneys. When deciding whether you want to pursue a bad faith lawsuit against an insurer, it’s important to think about what you stand to gain should you win. Below, learn more about the damages that are available in a lawsuit for insurance bad faith, and contact an experienced California insurance bad faith lawyer if you think you may have been the victim of bad faith.

Economic and noneconomic damages for insurance bad faith

When pursuing a claim for bad faith against an insurance company in California, you are arguing that the insurer breached its legal duty of acting in good faith by failing to reasonably handle a claim you filed against your policy. In healthcare bad faith claims, this failed duty may come in the form of unreasonably delaying payment of a claim, refusing to authorize treatment that should be covered by your policy, or denying your claim without justification.

The types of money damages you’ll be owed if you win a bad faith claim will come in the form of both economic and noneconomic damages for the harm that the health insurer caused you when it denied your claim. Economic damages compensate you for ways that you suffered a direct financial loss as the result of the insurer’s bad faith conduct. Noneconomic damages compensate you for harm that isn’t financially measurable but is still significant.

Economic damages could include:

  • The cost of medical treatment or therapy that you were forced to pay out of pocket when your claim was denied
  • Lost wages you suffered if you couldn’t work because of your worsening health
  • Attorneys’ fees for pursuing the bad faith lawsuit

Noneconomic damages could include:

  • Your pain and suffering as the result of denied medical treatment or a condition that was allowed to become unnecessarily worse
  • Emotional distress

Punitive damages may be available

In some cases, insurance bad faith victims may have a right to punitive damages, which are imposed for the purpose of punishing the bad actor for particularly wrongful conduct. In order to win punitive damages, the plaintiff must prove that the insurer breached its duty of good faith in a malicious, fraudulent, or oppressive manner—in other words, extraordinarily bad conduct by an insurer. Punitive damages tend to be awarded when plaintiffs can show that an insurer had a policy or practice of denying particular types of claims or treatments in an unreasonable or bad faith manner. Punitive damages may also be awarded where plaintiffs can prove that an insurer was inordinately slow in investigating or responding to a claim, or where an insurer fails to investigate a claim.

Experienced and Successful California Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers can Help

If you believe that your claim with a California health insurer has been denied or payment has been delayed in bad faith, find out if you’re a good candidate to file a bad faith lawsuit by contacting the experienced and effective California bad faith insurance lawyers Gianelli & Morris at 213-489-1600.

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