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Business Interruption Lawyers Alpharetta, GA
Alpharetta, Georgia, has been called the Technology City of the South as it is home to more than 700 technology companies. It also remains a leading destination for corporations and retail trade. Alpharetta businesses employ more than 120,000 people, which eclipses the total of the local population. Many of the tech jobs are remote, or workers commute in from neighboring cities and counties.
Alpharetta has been named one of the 50 best places to live in the US and the number one place to live in the entire state of Georgia. However, since Covid-19 hit, many local businesses have taken a substantial hit from being forced to shut down to curb infections. Fortunately, most businesses purchase insurance policies to cover such issues. As a business person, you may have filed a claim with your insurance company for your losses. Still, you may be having a hard time collecting due to the policy language.
At this time, you're now on the hunt for the best business interruption lawyers. Alpharetta, GA, fortunately, is also covered by the top-tier business interruption lawyers at Morgan & Morgan.
Why is business interruption insurance important?
Business interruption coverage, also known as business income insurance, is designed to help business owners recoup financial losses in the event of a disaster. But the kind of disaster has to be in the policy language, which can be very tricky to understand. This type of coverage is essential for small business owners or start-ups that haven't fully realized their potential. One disaster could permanently shutter fragile businesses as described.
How does business interruption coverage work?
Having business interruption coverage works in partnership with your commercial property insurance. For instance, if your place of business caught on fire, the commercial property insurance would cover the physical damages. In contrast, the business interruption coverage would cover the loss of income. Some policies cover things like the mortgage or rent, utilities, taxes, payroll, advertising, and relocation fees.
Business interruption coverage should pay for events that are beyond your control, like vandalism, wind, hail, or damage from a vehicle that causes your business to lose income. If your business can't serve customers, sell products, or work with clients, business interruption coverage should help with the damages.
Business interruption insurance examples
Lost income: Say you own a restaurant, and a storm causes extensive water damage. You hire a contractor, and they state it will take over six months for the renovation to be completed. In the meanwhile, you can't serve customers and lose income. Business interruption insurance should cover that loss, while your commercial property insurance covers the physical damages.
Rent or lease payments: A fire damages an Alpharetta floral shop making the business owner unable to sell flowers to their customers. While the business is closed for the needed repairs, it's still obligated to make payments on the lease. Business interruption insurance should cover these costs until the shop can open again.
Relocation costs: A burglar breaks into a retail store and vandalizes products, and tears out electrical equipment essential for the business to operate. The business owner is forced to relocate until the damage is fixed. Business interruption insurance should cover the cost of the move and the extra rent for the new place.
Employee wages: A water pipeline busts at an advertising firm flooding the building and damages walls, furnishings, and equipment. The firm has to retain its employees so it can resume business once the repairs are made. Business interruption insurance should pay the employees wages until the business can reopen.
Taxes: A fire destroys a construction contractor's trailer, and he is forced to withdraw bids and misses income goals for the quarter. However, he still must pay his estimated taxes which were based upon the stream of money he was making before the fire. Business interruption insurance could help cover these costs.
Loan payments: An Alpharetta bakery has to close its doors when an inspector finds that there are issues with the structure they operate out of, but they recently took out a small business loan and have regularly scheduled payments due. Business interruption insurance could cover these payments until the building issue is stabilized or they move to another location.
Business interruption insurance exclusions
Business interruption insurance does not cover property damage, extra expenses (like overtime pay), interruptions unrelated to property damage, contingent business interruptions, or short or partial interruptions.
Closure due to Covid-19 would fall under interruptions unrelated to property damage. However, suppose you have added endorsements like a communicable disease rider that extends coverage of closure due to infectious disease. In that case, you may be able to get compensated. It all depends on how the policy is worded. So even if you don't think you're covered, it is well worth your time to have it reviewed by business interruption lawyers. Alpharetta, GA lawyers at Morgan & Morgan are specialists on this subject and offer a free, no-risk case evaluation.
What are some common causes of business interruption?
There are all sorts of things that could happen that cause your business to lose income through no fault of your own. Loss of income for a business can have devastating consequences like putting you at risk for wage cuts, loss of employees, and even closure. Here are some of the more common causes that force business owners to make a claim for business interruption.
- Machine breakdowns
- Theft and vandalism
- Wind damage
- Hurricane damage
- Lightning strike
- Supply chain interruption
- Loss of electricity
- Supplier failure
- Regulatory or legal changes
Globally, fire and explosions account for a majority of business interruption claims. However, due to the unprecedented problems Covid-19 has caused businesses around the world, that may have changed.
What is civil authority coverage for business interruption?
Civil authority coverage should pay for a claimant's losses when a government entity (local, state, or federal) issues an order which will bar access to the insured's property. Before Covid-19, most of these types of claims would have resulted from a road closure. Now, the language in insurance policies is the root of many lawsuits since there was issuance from local, state, and federal authorities on how to handle the pandemic, which of course, included the closure of many businesses.
The insurance companies now insist that government recommendations are not the same as prohibiting access to a business. This kind of interpretation has had a devastating impact on businesses like restaurants and hair salons that were issued civil orders to limit capacity or owners of venues that regularly booked large conferences and trade shows. Other businesses that were devastated by these orders are gyms, theaters, and retail stores.
Everyone knows that people are going to be less likely to visit a brick-and-mortar business if they have to wait outside for hours because of limited capacity. The obvious solution would be to buy online, thus leading to loss of income for local businesses.
Many local governments have tied their closure orders to the physical damage of Covid-19, perhaps in an effort to help claimants because the insurance companies are rejecting claims based on the language of the policy. Morgan & Morgan business interruption lawyers can help with the interpretation of the policy language to see if there is an angle to help you with your insurance claim.
How big insurance companies mishandle business interruption claims
Many business owners understand how critical business interruption insurance is to prevent the permanent closure of their businesses should disaster strike. That's why they were responsible enough to purchase this kind of insurance. However, insurance companies will do their best to protect their bottom line when it's time to pay up.
Insurance companies are, of course, in the business of making money. When filing your claim, you may start getting the runaround in the form of manipulation of the circumstances or unfair tactics to reduce or deny your claim. This kind of behavior is known as acting in bad faith and is the basis for a lawsuit. Some of the more common forms of bad faith tactics are as follows:
- Making the claim process unnecessarily slow
- Undervaluing your claim
- Denying your claim unjustly
- Giving out false or misleading information on your policy
- Refusing to investigate your claim
- Not being able to provide an explanation for denying your claim
If you feel that your insurance company is using any of the tactics above to undervalue or deny coverage, we can help provide counsel, and you may be able to fight back with a lawsuit with our business interruption lawyers. Alpharetta, GA business owners, can and should be protected against nefarious acts of unscrupulous insurance providers.
What can Morgan & Morgan business interruption lawyers do for me?
While not everyone will need legal counsel for a business interruption claim, if you are having a dispute with your insurance company about your coverage, legal counsel can be highly beneficial as the legal language of insurance policies is very complex and tricky to interpret. We can help you understand your rights and decipher if the insurance company is actively working against you for its own financial advantage.
What we will do for you:
- Handle all communication with the insurance company
- Review your policy in-depth to ascertain your eligible benefits and covered losses
- Determine if the insurance company is acting in bad faith through investigation
- Investigate all damages and assign a monetary value
- Work with our team of legal professionals, experts, and investigators to bolster your case
- Negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf
- Take the insurance company to trial if negotiations for a fair settlement fail
When it comes to seeking justice for our clients, Morgan & Morgan lawyers are passionate, and we have an exemplary track record for success. In the more than thirty years we've been operating, our lawyers have recovered billions for our clients. When you're ready to fight, we're right here for you. Contact us for your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.