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Insurance Claim Lawyers
Insuring your home, car, or health does not come cheap in Palm Harbor. According to Marketwatch, Florida homeowners pay hundreds of dollars more to insure their homes than homeowners in other states. Likewise, Florida is the third most expensive state for car insurance coverage.
When you pay expensive insurance premiums, month after month and year after year, you deserve protection from the unexpected. Unfortunately, many home or car owners find themselves left out in the cold when something happens. Insurance providers delay, reduce, or deny valid claims to preserve their profits.
You should not have to struggle to get what you deserve. If you have a valid claim and adequate insurance coverage, the insurer must uphold their side of the deal. You do not have to stand for lowball offers, unreasonable delays, or claim denials. Morgan & Morgan is on your side. Our Palm Harbor insurance claim lawyers can fight for what you deserve. Contact us today to determine your legal options in a free consultation.
When to Hire a Lawyer for an Insurance Claim in Palm Harbor
Not all insurance claims need the help of an attorney. Some smaller claims may settle without too much trouble. However, getting legal advice is generally a good idea, especially if more is at stake. You may need an attorney to fight for what you deserve if:
- You do not agree with the insurance company adjuster’s assessment
- You have a large claim or total loss, such as a house fire.
- The claim is complex
- Fault is disputed
- The insurer argues that the damage is not covered
- Your claim was denied
- Your claim is severely delayed
- The insurer refuses to investigate your claim
If you are experiencing one of these scenarios, consider seeking legal help as soon as possible. Insurers generally try to preserve their profits by finding excuses to reduce or deny your claim. When opening a claim, what you say or do could jeopardize a settlement. Communicating with experienced insurance representatives or providing the insurer with recorded statements could hurt or even sink your case. Consulting with our insurance dispute attorneys is free and allows you to learn about your rights and legal options.
Cases Insurance Lawyers Handle
Nobody who pays for an insurance policy should be denied a payout for a covered event. If you find it impossible to get what you are entitled to, an experienced insurance claim lawyer from Morgan & Morgan can step in and fight for what you deserve. Cases we handle include, among others:
- Homeowners insurance
- Hurricane and windstorm insurance
- Fire and water damage
- Cast iron pipe claims
- Car insurance
- Health insurance
- Long-term care insurance
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- Business liability claims
What to Do if the Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
The insurance company will typically deny your claim in writing. First of all, review your policy and the denial letter to determine whether your damage should be covered. You can then take action to appeal against the insurance company’s denial if you believe your losses are covered as per the policy.
Appeal Against the Denial
Policyholders can appeal in writing against the insurer’s decision to deny a claim. However, acting promptly is critical as you may only have a limited time to appeal. The timeline and procedure for appealing the insurer’s decision should be outlined in the policy. In the first instance, claimants can send an appeal letter to their insurer explaining why they believe the claim is valid and ask the insurer to reconsider. Include as much evidence as possible to prove that the insurer should cover your damages.
According to Florida Statute § 627.70131, the insurance company has 14 calendar days after receiving your letter to review and acknowledge the appeal. The insurer should begin by reviewing your claim once they have received your communication.
File a Complaint
If your valid claim was denied, you could file a formal complaint with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. You can submit a complaint via the Division of Consumer Services’ online portal.
The Florida Department of Financial Services can assist policyholders with resolving claim denials through mediation. The department assigns a neutral third party to act as a mediator at the mediation conference. Policyholders may choose to be represented by a lawyer and have a public adjuster present at the mediation.
File a Lawsuit Against the Insurer
As per Florida law, you can take an insurer to court if the company denied or underpaid your claim in Palm Harbor. However, filing a lawsuit against a powerful insurer can be challenging. To have a chance of success, you will have to comply with the applicable statutes and filing procedures. For example, if you want to file a lawsuit against your homeowners’ insurance, you must first file a “Notice of Intent to Litigate” with the Department of Financial Services. Moreover, if you are suing an insurance company for breach of contract in Florida, you generally have to do so within five years.
Consider speaking to our Palm Harbor insurance claim attorneys for advice on how to proceed with an insurance lawsuit.
Consult With a Lawyer or a Public Adjuster
When the insurer is dragging its heels, having a dedicated insurance attorney and public adjuster by your side can be a smart move. Attorneys can help you in various ways, including:
- Review your policy to verify your coverage
- Calculate the value of your losses
- Document your damages
- Negotiate hard for a comprehensive settlement
Once you realize that you might have a fight on your hands for getting a fair payout, it can be advantageous to contact an attorney as soon as possible rather than waiting and fighting on your own. Morgan & Morgan’s insurance claim attorneys want to help policyholders recover the settlement they need and deserve.
Insurance Companies’ Manipulative Tactics
Unfortunately, insurance companies are generally more interested in their profits than policyholders’ best interests. Some manipulative tactics insurers use to avoid paying the full value of claims can include:
Making a Quick Lowball Settlement Offer
Policyholders are often positively surprised when they receive a prompt settlement offer from their insurer. However, if this happens to you, pay close attention to the amount and terms offered. In most cases, a quick settlement offer is an insurer’s attempt to take advantage of policyholders desperate to pay their medical bills, house damage, or other costs. When you are still in pain after an accident or traumatized after a house fire or hurricane, you may think any amount offered is better than nothing.
However, accepting an early lowball offer can be a terrible mistake. Once you agree to a settlement, you generally cannot turn back the time and renegotiate or sue the insurance company. A too-low insurance settlement could mean that you have to pay for losses out of your own pocket. An attorney can help prevent this by assessing your damages and the claim’s actual value. Knowing the worth of your claim gives you leverage in negotiations with the insurance company.
Delaying or Denying a Payout
The insurance companies have all the time in the world, while their policyholders may desperately need a settlement to rebuild their lives. Therefore, many insurers unnecessarily drag out the claims process, hoping their policyholders will get fed up and either accept a low settlement offer or give up on their claim.
Drawing out a claim unnecessarily is not only wrong, but it could lead to policyholders running out of time to file a lawsuit against their insurer. Depending on the type of case you have against the insurance company, the time to sue could be limited.
An insurer may also deny a claim altogether by alleging that your damage is excluded from your policy or that you did not present enough evidence for your claim. If this has happened to you, you are not alone. Our Palm Harbor insurance claim lawyers can take the burden off your shoulders and help you fight an unfairly denied or delayed claim.
Bad Faith Insurance
Bad faith insurance occurs when an insurer fails to uphold its obligations to policyholders. Bad faith insurance can include:
- Refusing to investigate or pay a legitimate claim
- Delaying a claim unreasonably
- Failing to disclose policy exclusions to policyholders before they buy the policy
- Making unreasonable demands for proving a covered loss
- Misrepresenting the policy’s terms
Not all denials or delays of settlements amount to bad faith. However, if an insurer denies or delays your claim unreasonably, you should speak to our attorneys as soon as possible. The insurance company may be acting in bad faith. If an insurer acted maliciously and willfully in refusing a payout, you could be entitled to damages above and beyond your initial claim amount.
Morgan & Morgan
Should I Hire a Public Adjuster?
Hiring a public adjuster to prove your claim can be an excellent strategy, especially with considerable losses. For example, after a catastrophic event in Palm Harbor, such as a hurricane, a public adjuster can assess your damage comprehensively, so you are not only relying on your insurance company adjuster’s calculations. Moreover, your adjuster will work for your best interests and not the insurers’. They can help you with the paperwork for your claim, advocate for you, and recommend a skilled attorney if you find it impossible to recover what you deserve.
Should I Provide a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?
If someone else is at fault for your car accident in Palm Harbor, you can generally recover a settlement from your personal injury protection insurance (PIP). However, if you suffer significant injuries and high losses, PIP insurance will likely be insufficient. You may have to go after the party causing the accident and file an insurance claim with their insurer. The at-fault party’s insurance may ask you for a recorded statement during the claims process. When this happens, proceed with caution. Everything you say could be used against you to deny or reduce your claim.
It is important to note that there is no legal requirement to provide a statement to an insurer. Therefore, it can be in your best interests to refuse any requests for recorded statements and seek legal advice promptly. If you have significant injuries and great losses, you do not want to jeopardize your claim. Our seasoned insurance dispute attorneys can handle all communication with the insurer to protect your legal rights.
Which Types of Damages Could I Receive?
Most policyholders appealing a denied claim or filing a lawsuit against an insurer are pursuing the value of their claim. However, if an insurer acted in bad faith, you could be entitled to damages in addition to your original claim amount. The compensation you could qualify for can include:
- Any financial losses incurred due to the claims delay or denial
- Awards for emotional distress or humiliation
- Attorney’s fees and legal expenses
- Punitive damages if an insurer acted particularly egregiously
How Much Does a Palm Harbor Insurance Claim Lawyer Cost?
Attorney’s fees vary depending on the law firm. However, when we take your case, you do not have to worry about any out-of-pocket costs. We want you to have the best shot at getting what you deserve without having to worry about costs. Our fee is free unless and until we win and you recover a settlement. Moreover, when a policyholder wins a bad faith insurance dispute, the insurance company is generally responsible for paying all attorney’s fees and legal costs.
Contact Us for Help With Denied or Reduced Claims
Handling the denial or underpayment of a claim on your own can be tricky and full of stumbling blocks. However, Morgan & Morgan knows how to handle insurance companies that fail to deliver what they promise. Our Palm Harbor insurance claim attorneys are experienced in negotiating with insurers and taking them all the way to trial if necessary.
Don’t accept a dollar less than the real value of your claim. If an insurer unfairly denied, delayed, or underpaid your claim, contact us today for free, no-obligation advice.