Are you having issues with a home insurance claim?
Here at Drake Law we work with insurance companies on a regular basis. We know when the insurers are treating you fairly and when they are acting in bad faith. Typically, bad faith cases arise from an insurance company denying a valid claim or delaying payments on a valid claim. In such cases clients have the right to pursue litigation.
Jonathan Drake has handled countless home insurance cases, winning more than $5 million on behalf of clients who were undercompensated by their insurers. Prior to opening Drake Law, Jonathan was a managing partner at a mid-size civil litigation law firm if Florida, where he helped homeowner’s take on the big insurance companies and win.
Bad Faith and Denied Insurance Claims Cases
Having your insurance claim denied after years of paying premiums is a frustrating but all too common experience. Unfortunately, many insurance companies operate out of bad faith. Claims, maximum coverage amounts, or renewals may be routinely denied until the client fights back. Here at Drake Law we’ve seen it all, and we help people fight back. If your claim has been deneid, or the insurance company refuses to cover you for the maximum amount allowable, you may be entitled to a significant settlement or jury verdict.
Types of Bad Faith Insurance Ligitation We Handle:
- Failing to pay valid claims
- Denying a claim without providing a valid written explanation
- Delaying payment without a legitimate reason
- Paying an unreasonably low amount on a claim
- Failing to investigate the claim in a complete or timely fashion
- Requiring an unreasonable number of estimates, statements or other documentation from the policyholder
- Cancelling a policy to avoid paying a claim
There are many ways insurance companies try to get around fulfilling their obligations to policyholders. Don’t let your insurance company take you for granted. If you have been denied an insurance claim, or have had other issues with your Florida insurance company, contact Jonathan Drake to schedule a free consultation today.
Property Damage Claim Cases
Insurance companies frequently dispute issues of both liability and damages when policyholders file property damage claims. They may claim your loss is not covered under your policy, and even if they do admit liability, they will often fight over the proper assessment of the damages. Insurance policies are complex legal documents, and important terms are often obscured by legalese. Jonathan Drake has devoted much of his career to interpreting insurance contracts to make sure policyholders are getting the benefits they pay for. Drake Law knows the relevant Florida insurance laws, such as the Valued Policy Law, which guarantees policyholders the actual amount of loss up to the full value of their policy in the event of a total loss from a covered peril or even partial loss from fire or lightning. The insurance company may prefer you rebuild at less cost to them, but we know, and are prepared to assert, your rights under Florida law.
When you entrust Drake Law with your claim Jonathan carefully analyzes your insurance contract and advises on your legal options. Drake Law handles all communications with the adjusters from the insurance company, recommends and assists in obtaining qualified contractors for the scope of loss and cost of repair, and aggressively negotiates with your insurer to ensure they’re live up to their end of the bargain as spelled out by your policy and the law.
Types of Bad Faith Insurance Ligitation We Handle:
- Hurricane damage claims
- Water damage claims
- Roof damage claims
- Fire and lightning damage claims
- Hail damage claims
Frequently Asked Questions
Flood insurance coverage is typically provided through the National Flood Insurance Program rather than a property insurance policy. In order to have coverage through an NFIP program, a homeowner needs to purchase a separate flood policy and renew it yearly. It’s important to remember, however, that not all water events are floods. Even in a scenario where there is flooding in your area, if damage to your home occurred from water that entered through the roof or a window in a hole created by a storm, you could have coverage. This is just one example. A good attorney knows to thoroughly review all the provisions and supplements to your policies. Your property insurance policy may provide coverage for many types of water damage. You could also have coverage for one event under multiple policies.
During an investigation of your insurance claim, the claims adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement over the phone. Most companies contain a provision in your policy that requires a recorded statement or examination under oath to process the claim. If you feel comfortable giving a statement, do so. However, you may want to consult with an attorney before giving one. It is not uncommon to see attorneys that represent insurance carriers take advantage of the situation and ask questions in no way related to the claim or necessary to discover the cause and related damage. If your interview or statement is part of a claim, rather than part of a lawsuit, the types of questions the insurer is allowed to ask are limited, and the courts will support the insured’s right to terminate an inappropriate interview, in the right way. An insurance adjuster can use a recorded statement against you later to dispute your claim. An experienced home insurance lawyer can help you know what to say and what not to say.
Insurance companies deny claims all the time. If your coverage is denied, our law firm can help you seek the benefits to which you are entitled. It may be a simple mistake by the insurance carrier that we can address through a request for reconsideration of the claim decision or amount of payment, or it may require lengthy litigation. Drake Law is prepared to represent claims from the start of a claim through trial, if necessary.
If you have reason to believe your insurance company is not giving you adequate benefits to cover your claimed property damages, you may need to speak to an attorney for assistance. We can determine whether the company is correctly making an actual cash value or replacement cost value payment (ACV vs RCV). A low settlement offer could be a form of “bad faith” that qualifies you to file a claim against the insurance company. Drake Law, an insurance dispute attorney in Tampa, can evaluate your damages and help you discover whether the amount offered is fair.
Carriers are not generally allowed to cancel your policy just because you filed a claim. Some carriers will require a policy forfeit as part of a settlement agreement. In some cases, your carrier may attempt to cancel or rescind your policy after you file a claim as a way to maintain profits. If you encounter a policy cancellation, our experienced attorneys can help you seek the benefits to which you are entitled.
If the insurance company accepts your claim, it must reach this decision within 90 days of you opening the claim. Some courts will grant an insurer longer to investigate, depending on the level of cooperation of the insured, and factors that may be beyond the control of the insurer. It may be necessary to file a declaratory action to force the insurance company to live up to their obligations, and make a timely determination. Upon reaching a settlement, the insurance company has 20 days to issue your first payment. Failure to do so can result in the insurance company owing you the original settlement amount plus 12% interest per year.
An unreasonable delay in the response time of an insurance company could point to insurance bad faith if the insurance company does not give a valid reason. If that is the case, get in touch with Drake Law, an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer in Tampa. An insurance company can only legally delay your payment if factors beyond the company’s control interfere with the claims process. In these cases, the insurance company has 15 days from the end of these interfering conditions to make a payment. Unfair late payments violate Florida’s insurance codes.
Settling an insurance dispute can be difficult without help from a lawyer. It may be a process that involves multiple checks and coordination between your mortgage company, the insurer, mitigation companies, and the companies doing repairs on the damage. You may need to obtain evidence of the damages you are requesting, as well as proof that you fulfilled all your responsibilities as a claimant. A lawyer can help you gather this evidence and build a case against the insurance company in Florida. A lawyer could compel the insurance company to treat your claim fairly – or else take the insurer to court in pursuit of damages.
If you believe your important, high-value insurance claim has been denied unfairly, your best next step is to contact a lawyer with extensive insurance knowledge and a track record of success in litigation. The same is true if you are “getting nowhere” with a claim due to lengthy delays in investigation or processing, or if you have been offered a seriously inadequate settlement.
Typically, bad faith cases arise from an insurance company denying a valid claim or delaying payments on a valid claim. In such cases clients have the right to pursue litigation.
In the state of Florida, the term “duty of good faith” refers to the lawful requirement of insurance companies to act fairly with persons whom they insure. A Florida law creates a special civil action based on violation of certain requirements of insurers when dealing with the citizens of Florida. Prior to seeking the special penalties allowed under this statute, an insured or their attorney must file a civil remedies notice and take other steps to put the insurer on notice and allow them to remedy the violation. If the insurance company violates this responsibility, the insurance company may be acting in “bad faith,” which means they acted unreasonably or unfairly in resolving your claim.
Drake Law has a history of successfully dealing with insurance companies who have committed acts of bad faith, and can help you get what you are rightfully entitled to.
Our knowledge of the law, the courts, and insurance company tactics allows us to negotiate fair compensation for homeowners in a swift manner. Many claims can be resolved before the case even gets filed as a lawsuit, and of the cases that become lawsuits, many settle before going to trial. Of course, pushing to settle a case too quickly may not yield the best outcome, leaving you feeling inadequately compensated. At Drake Law we advise you every step of the way to ensure you understand the factors surrounding your case and your options. No matter how long a case may take, we work hard on behalf of our clients to secure the best possible outcome. Our experience and negotiating acumen have proven to be a great assets in achieving maximum compensation for our clients.
In Florida, disasters such as flooding or hurricanes are common. There are basic steps that insured homeowners must follow in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Each case is unique and the handling process can be complex and constantly changing. However, you shouldn’t handle your claim alone. Insurance companies have in-house and hired adjusters and lawyers, which is why you should have a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer working to protect you as well.
To protect ourselves, we pay our insurance premiums in “good faith,” and we expect that our insurance companies will protect us and our property in the event of a catastrophe that may damage or destroy our home. Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes underpay, delay, or deny compensation for homeowners, sometimes unreasonably. You may find yourself at a loss or the compensation you were awarded may feel insufficient.
You have the right to contest your recovery amount, and you will not be dropped from your homeowner insurance policy should you choose to dispute the amount your insurance company offers for settlement. If you or your family had to move or relocate from your home due to severe property damage, we always fight on your behalf to seek the maximum compensation to ensure your family’s safety, and recover your living expenses as allowed under the policy.
A Client-Centered Approach
Drake takes a client-centered approach that puts you in the driver’s seat. While many cases settle before they go to court, Jonathan knows what it takes to get a jury verdict in your favor, and is prepared to go to trial if necessary. The choice is always yours.
Drake Law Is In Your Corner
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