Insurance Attorney in Big Pine Key30338 Overseas Highway, Unit 7
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
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Insurance Attorney for Big Pine Key
When we pay into costly insurance policies year after year, we have the right to expect adequate coverage in unforeseen events, such as storms, car accidents, or sickness. Insurance companies are obligated to settle legitimate claims on time. However, insurers often try to get out of their obligations when a loss occurs. Keys residents may have a battle on their hands to receive what they deserve when an unexpected event, such as a storm or accident, causes financial losses or injuries.
If your valid claim was denied, reduced, or severely delayed by an insurance company, you do not have to stand for it and can fight back. Morgan & Morgan is here for you. Our determined insurance attorneys for Big Pine Key could hold an insurer accountable on your behalf. Contact us today for a free case review to discover how we could help you get what you deserve.
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Do You Need an Insurance Attorney?
The Insurance Information Institute (III) says that insurance costs in Florida are skyrocketing, with the annual cost of homeowners insurance averaging $4,231 in 2022, almost three times the US average. Similarly, according to Bankrate, Florida drivers face the country’s highest annual car insurance rates, paying nearly $1k more per year on average than car owners elsewhere in the country.
When you pay so much for coverage, you should receive what you are entitled to when a loss occurs. However, insurance companies want to hold on to profits and employ various tactics to deny victims settlements, such as:
Refusing to Investigate Your Claim
After you file an insurance claim, the insurer must launch an investigation to evaluate your damages. An analysis typically involves sending an adjuster to assess your claim. This investigation is a necessary step before you can receive a payout. Investigations are typically time-sensitive, especially in an event like a hurricane or car crash. If your insurance company fails to investigate your claim in a reasonable timeframe, your settlement could be negatively affected.
Failure to investigate your claim promptly and comprehensively is generally considered bad faith. Our insurance lawyers could help you file a lawsuit and recover damages from an insurer engaging in bad faith practices.
Unreasonably Delaying a Settlement
Insurance companies know you need a settlement to pay bills connected to your losses and move on with your life. They also know that time works in their favor and not in yours. An insurer may try to delay a settlement indefinitely in the hope that you will walk away or accept a lowball settlement offer out of desperation.
Moreover, if a claim drags on too long, you could run out of time to file a lawsuit against the insurance company, depending on the statute of limitations, which is set at two years in Florida. An attorney can help you avoid leaving money on the table or waiting endlessly on a settlement.
Denying a Legitimate Claim
Some insurers deny claims outright by alleging that you caused an accident, your damages are excluded from the policy, or that you failed to show adequate proof for your loss. When this happens to you, contacting a seasoned Big Pine Key insurance attorney can be vital. While it is common for insurers to deny legitimate claims, you will likely have a fight on your hands to get what you deserve.
Making Lowball Settlement Offers
Victims are often relieved when an insurer makes a prompt settlement offer after their car accident or home damage. However, a quick offer can be an attempt by an insurer to get away with paying as little as possible. The first settlement offer from an insurance company is typically low and designed to entice policyholders to sign a settlement agreement while they are still traumatized or in pain after experiencing an injury or major financial loss.
Our attorneys can protect you from an insurer trying to take advantage during one of the most challenging times in your life.
Demanding Recorded Statements
Insurance companies may ask claimants for recorded statements, which they could later use against them. A recorded statement could be used as an admission of guilt or lead to an insurance company twisting your words to minimize your losses and injuries.
You Are Not Legally Required to Give a Recorded Statement
If an insurance company asks you for a recorded statement, it is best to refuse and contact an attorney to protect your legal rights and determine your next best steps. You do not have to fear consequences when denying a recorded statement, as they are not a legal requirement.
If a lot of money is at stake, contact our insurance attorneys for Big Pine Key. We can communicate and negotiate with your insurer, preventing you from saying or doing anything that could be used to deny your legitimate claim.
What Damages Could You Recover With a Lawsuit?
Most claimants simply want to recover the actual value of their insurance claim so they can move forward with their lives. However, if an insurer acted in bad faith and unlawfully delayed or refused a payout, you could qualify for damages in addition to the value of your original claim, including:
You could receive reimbursement for any financial damages you incurred due to the claim denial, such as interest on loans you had to take out while waiting for a settlement. You could also receive non-economic damages, including awards for:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of reputation
If an insurer denies, delays, or minimizes your claim unreasonably, you might have to take them to court to get what you deserve. If you win your case, the insurance company usually has to pay for your attorney’s fees in addition to any settlement due to you.
Victims of insurance bad faith may receive punitive damages in addition to compensation. A court may order punitive damages to punish an insurance company for appalling conduct, such as egregiously or maliciously withholding settlements.
Which Cases Do Insurance Attorneys for Big Pine Key Handle?
We are here to help you get the coverage you pay for in Big Pine Key. Our insurance attorneys can step in when an unethical insurer leaves you out in the cold. Insurance dispute cases Morgan & Morgan handles include, among others:
- Homeowners’ insurance
- Car insurance
- Hurricane damage
- Water and fire damage
- Life insurance
- Health insurance
- Long-term care insurance
- Disability insurance
- Cast iron pipe damage
What Should I Do After Experiencing a Loss?
As a claimant, you also have obligations. Policyholders must keep up with their premiums and maintain a valid policy to qualify for an insurance settlement. If you experience a loss, such as home damage or a car accident, you can take specific steps that could help to protect your legal rights and recover an adequate insurance settlement, such as:
- Notifying your insurer promptly of a loss
- Cooperating with your insurance company’s investigation into your claim
- Submitting a signed and sworn proof of loss statement if required
- Providing a detailed account of the circumstances of the loss
- Making a detailed inventory of damages
- Mitigating any existing damage to prevent further deterioration
- Assisting the insurance adjuster with their assessment of your loss
- Keeping the insurance company informed of any developments
- Contacting an attorney for help and advice
What Is Bad Faith Insurance?
Insurance companies are obligated to act in good faith and pay valid claims. Bad faith insurance claims arise when insurance companies refuse to pay or delay a claim unreasonably. Bad faith can potentially occur with all types of insurers, including car insurance, health insurance, and homeowners’ insurance. Common bad faith insurance claims in Big Pine Key occur when an insurer:
- Underpays a claim
- Denies a valid claim
- Unreasonably delays a payout
- Cancels the insurance policy illegally
- Fails to disclose policy exclusions before the purchase of a policy
- Makes unreasonable demands for proof of loss
Bad faith claims can generally arise in two circumstances: first and third-party claims.
First-Party Bad Faith
You could have a first-party bad faith claim if your insurance company refuses you, as the policyholder, a fair settlement. If your losses are covered in your insurance policy, and an insurer refuses to investigate or pay your claim, you should get legal advice as soon as possible. If bad faith has occurred, you could potentially sue the insurance company and recover damages above and beyond your original claim’s value.
Third-Party Bad Faith
A third-party bad faith claim commonly occurs when another causes your damages, and their insurance is responsible for compensating you, such as after a car accident. If the insurance company severely delays your legitimate claim or refuses to settle, you could sue the insurer for bad faith.
It is critical to note that not all delays or denials of claims qualify for a bad-faith insurance lawsuit. However, if you struggle to get your claim paid, whether by your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurer, consulting with an insurance attorney can be vital for clarifying your legal options and next best steps.
Should I Hire a Big Pine Key Insurance Attorney for a Denied Claim?
Minor claims often settle without too many obstacles. However, if you experienced significant losses and there is a lot of money at stake, an insurer may try to prevent you from recovering the actual value of your claim. An attorney from Morgan & Morgan can step in, level the playing field, and fight powerfully for the insurance payout you deserve. Getting legal advice and help can be particularly beneficial if the following applies to you:
- You experienced significant losses
- Your claim is complex
- Your property sustained extreme damage or is a total loss (especially after a natural disaster such as a hurricane)
- The fault is contested in your claim
If you experienced significant losses or your claim is complex, consulting an attorney before handling the insurance company can be an excellent idea. Our insurance lawyers can ensure to start your claim on the right footing, giving you the best chance of recovering an adequate settlement. Moreover, when you are represented by a well-known law firm such as Morgan & Morgan, insurers know that you are serious about getting justice, which can motivate them to settle.
How Much Does an Insurance Attorney Cost?
Every law firm has a different fee structure. Some insurance attorneys charge hourly fees that amount to several hundred dollars per hour. Others work with retainers, meaning clients must pay a large amount upfront. However, in insurance dispute cases, you should consider only working with attorneys who do not charge any upfront fees.
Hiring a lawyer who works on a contingency fee means you only have to pay if they resolve the case in your favor and if you receive a settlement. However, attorneys working on contingency may still charge you upfront legal expenses, which can work out costly.
At Morgan & Morgan, we charge our clients nothing upfront and only get paid if and when we win. Therefore, you do not have to worry about any out-of-pocket fees or legal expenses. We win when you win. Moreover, an insurer typically has to pay for a claimant’s attorney’s fees if they lose.
Morgan & Morgan Has Your Back
Dealing with insurance companies on top of your losses and injuries can be stressful and exhausting. However, our insurance attorneys for Big Pine Key can be your shoulder to lean on if you struggle to receive what you deserve.
Morgan & Morgan stands up to unethical insurers every day. We know the manipulative tactics some insurance companies use to deny claimants their rightful payouts. We can fight unfair claim denials all the way to trial, if necessary.
We want to help if your insurance claim was unreasonably delayed, refused, or minimized. Get started now and contact us for a free, no-obligation review of your insurance claim.