If you have an insurance policy, chances are good that you probably have had occasion to file an insurance claim. You expect to trust your insurance company to come through in your time of need, but that can prove challenging, and you may have to hire an attorney to negotiate the claims process for you. If all else fails, filing a lawsuit against the insurance company could be your only hope.
Many claimants become frustrated after spending time gathering and providing documentation of their loss to the claims agent. Insurance dispute attorneys put themselves into your shoes to handle any conflicts that arise from trying to settle your insurance claim. The attorney’s job is to alleviate your stress and fear when your house is still in pieces, and the insurance company is looking for ways to deny your claim.
Insurance dispute attorneys know the law, they know when your rights are being exploited, and they know how to make it stop. Continuing to handle your own claim will eventually result in losing your patience, and then the insurance company gains the upper hand. Eventually you feel victimized all over again by the very company you believed you were paying to protect you.
If your claim cannot be settled fairly, an insurance dispute attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the insurance company. Sometimes, this can be used as a tool to show the insurance company that you mean business, and it will push them to make a reasonable settlement. Other times, litigation can be a long, drawn out process involving document drafting, hearings, taking of depositions, obtaining appraisals and other documentation, engaging in mediation in an attempt to settle, and, if that doesn’t work, the case will be tried in court.
When should I hire an insurance dispute attorney?
Damage to your home and personal belongings can occur out of nowhere. A neighbor’s dead tree can crash into your home, or a hurricane can blow your roof off. The end result, if either of these scenarios involves a storm, can mean that your home fills with water, and that many of your belongings are destroyed.
Every state has a statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit. The length of time you have to file varies based on the type of lawsuit, but the clock starts ticking on the date the incident occurred, or on the date you discovered, or reasonably should have discovered the harm.
Violating these rights could give rise to a dispute
Florida and Alabama both have a statutory Homeowner Bill of Rights. If any of these rights are violated by an insurance company, you may need to speak with an insurance dispute attorney to assess whether you have a claim against the insurance company. Some of these rights include:
- Receipt of confirmation from your insurance company within 30 days after submitting a “proof-of-loss statement that your claim is covered in full, partially covered, or denied, or receive a written statement that your claim is being investigated.”
- Receipt of “full payment for your claim, or payment of the undisputed portion of your claim, or your insurance company’s denial of your claim” within 90 days.
- Policyholders are entitled to “written notification, at renewal, describing changes in their insurance contract language that are applicable to the renewal period.” If you never received notice of the changes, the insurance company may not be able to enforce the new terms.
- Policyholders may reject any settlement offer made by the insurance company.
- Policyholders may select any licensed contractor or vendor “to repair, replace, or rebuild damaged property covered by the insurance policy.” You do not have to use a contractor the insurance company recommends. You have discretion in who repairs your home or car.
There is a natural conflict of interest that comes from your insurance company collecting your premiums, and you hoping to receive a large enough sum to repair or replace anything you lose.
Hire an attorney to help you get the settlement you should receive. Warhurst Law has been a trusted advocate for Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana insureds since 1995. Arrange for a free case evaluation through our contact page or by calling our office in Mobile at 251-207-1296. We proudly represent clients throughout the Gulf Coast, the Panhandle, and the entire Southeast.