Unlike a first-party claim, a third-party claim against an insurance company involves someone who was not the policyholder. In the typical third-party liability policy, the carrier assumes a contractual duty to pay judgments that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage caused by the insured. Some first-party insurance contracts provide benefits to third parties as well as to the named insured. Claims under such policies can be made directly against the insurer by the injured party, and thus are not third-party claims. The most common third-party claims are liability claims, and they usually arise in the context of vehicle collisions.
The scope of liability insurance coverage of a third party claim is determined by the tort law source of the insured’s liability, and thus will be based on concepts such as fault, proximate cause and duty. Most often, third parties will sue for negligence, which will require the plaintiff to show that the intermediary owed them a duty. In the context of vehicle collisions, for example, there is a duty to drive reasonably and with due care. Third parties are not permitted to enforce covenants under the insured’s policy in the absence of a judgment. But once the insured has been found liable for the third party’s injury, the insurer steps in. Of course, the amount of compensation will depend on the limits of the insured’s policy.
The attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley work to help individuals, families, and businesses recover for various injuries, making sure to consider the scope of insurance policies. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact us for a confidential case consultation, free of charge and obligation at: (888) 997-5170, or fill out the contact form on this page.
 39A Cal. Jur. 3d Insurance Contracts § 450.
 State v. Allstate Ins. Co., 45 Cal. 4th 1008, 201 P.3d 1147 (2009).
We call on our insurance companies at the times we need them most, such as when issues arise regarding our cars, homes, or automobiles. An issue with one’s coverage can have severe consequences. At its core, an insurance bad faith claim is based on one’s insurance either delaying or failing to pay for benefits due under an insurance policy.
“Bad faith” does not necessarily connote malicious or immoral conduct on the part of the insurer. When an insurer fails or unreasonably delays payment under a contract, the plaintiff has a few different options as to what claims to bring. In a contractual context, one claim the plaintiff is likely to assert is a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The covenant of good faith and fair dealing is an underlying assumption of contract law; it is the notion that people will follow the terms of the contract honestly, fairly and in good faith.
According to the California jury instructions (CACI 2331), essential factual elements of a plaintiff’s breach of the implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing claim include:
On the other hand, an insurer can also be liable under tort law for failing to reasonably investigate a plaintiff’s insurance claim. “An insurer must give at least as much consideration to the interests of the insured as it gives to its own interests. When the insurer unreasonably and in bad faith withholds payment of the claim of its insured, it is subject to liability in tort.”
California jury instructions (CAJI 2332) indicate that a first party bad faith claim should allege:
That defendant acted unreasonably, that is, without proper cause, if it failed to conduct a full, fair, and thorough investigation of all of the bases of the claim. When investigating the plaintiff’s claim, the defendant had a duty to diligently search for and consider evidence that supported coverage of the claimed loss.
Our attorneys are experienced in investigating and litigating insurance bad faith. If you believe you were wronged by an insurer, call our experienced personal injury lawyers to preserve your legal rights.
 Judicial Council Of California Civil Jury Instruction 2331, Judicial Council Of California Civil Jury Instruction 2331.
 Frommoethelydo v. Fire Ins. Exch., 42 Cal. 3d 208, 215, 721 P.2d 41, 44 (1986).
 Judicial Council Of California Civil Jury Instruction 2332, Judicial Council Of California Civil Jury Instruction 2332.
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