Legal Question in Insurance Law in California

My mom passed away in 2006. She had an insurance plan for $500,000.00 that didn't go through after she passed away. When I sent in the paperwork stating that she had passed away to the insurance company, they sent me a letter and check saying something like "This individual does not qualify for the insurance benefits because she had failed to notify us that she was an unhealthy woman. She had written that she was healthy in her application, but she was not healthy." The check was only like $253.00, which was the deposit she had payed for when she first enrolled with this insurance company, Allstate. I didn't cash the check for a long time, because I was really angry and upset. A few months ago I got a letter from the state, saying that I had some money from Allstate that I needed to collect. I ended up cashing the money because I needed it for my general expenses.

My mom had epilepsy, and I think she might have died because she had a seizure,

not directly because of the seizure, but because she suffocated with her pillow while she was having the seizure. On her death certificate the immediate cause of death is written as "Pending". On the statement of corrections there is also a sections that says "Acute Seizure Minutes - Pending" "Natural - Pending Investigation". It also indicates that an Autopsy was not performed. So, I never really knew exactly what happened. This was also the death certificate that I sent to Allstate, how could they make a decision like that when it was considered "pending"?

I was only 17, and the eldest of my two other sisters, when all this was happening, so I thought there was nothing I could do about it. My dad and mom had been divorced for maybe over a year during this time also, so he couldn't legally do anything to help me either.

Recently, my dad had an unrelated appointment with Allstate. His current wife and him got married three years ago and they are in the process of getting his wife papers so she can become a citizen. While they were there, my dad mentioned the situation that had happened with my mom and how they didn't give us any money because of her health at the time. The agent said that we should try to file a lawsuit against Allstate because you're not even required to take a physical exam for an insurance policy if you're under the age of 45. My mom was only 36 when she had passed away. We ended up losing our house and having to sell my mom's car so we could simply pay for her funeral and plot.

I think I may have a case, but I'm not sure how I should go about it. I'm unemployed, I owe tons of money for student loans, and I definitely can't afford a lawyer or investigator.

I don't know what I should do or if there are any type of affordable/free services that I can receive.

If anyone can help me out I would really appreciate it.

Asked on 10/29/11, 3:44 pm

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4 Answers from Attorneys

Herb Fox Law Office of Herb Fox

I recommend that you immediately (i.e. on Monday!) contact and consult with an attorney in your area who handles insurance coverage issues, Putting aside the merits of a potential claim, there is a statute of limitations period that may or may not have already lapsed, given that you were only 17 when the insurance denied the claim. The attorney will need to review the policy itself, which may have a limitations period stated in it; otherwise that period will be governed by statute.

You can find an attorney in your area on line, or through your county bar association's legal referral service.

Start looking for and calling attorneys now; in cases like this, a day can make a difference!

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Answered on 10/29/11, 4:21 pm

Armen Tashjian Law Offices of Armen M. Tashjian

Contact my office and I'll review your case free of charge.

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Answered on 10/29/11, 6:32 pm
Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

I agree that you should immediately contact an attorney. I wouldn't get your hopes up, however. Your time to sue most likely ran out sometime in 2010.

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Answered on 10/29/11, 6:39 pm

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