Insurance companies are legally obligated to honor the terms of their insurance policies and to pay out benefits promptly when required to do so. However, a carrier may assert reasons that excuse it from being obligated to pay, such as a claim is excluded from coverage or that the insured person or entity failed to satisfy a condition of the policy. Alternatively, the carrier may offer you less of a payout than you believe you deserve. When the insurance company does either, you have the right to contest that decision through an appeal or by other legal remedies.
When your insurance company or the insurer for another party denies coverage or offers a settlement, it should send you a notice explaining why. You or your lawyer, preferably one experienced in insurance law, need to review that notice and determine if there is anything you can do to correct the problem. If your insurance company asserts that your claim isn’t covered, you and your lawyer should double check the accuracy of the company’s interpretation.
A main point of inquiry should be whether the company has made an honest mistake or is acting in bad faith, either by denying the claim or by offering a low settlement amount. Every insurance company sets a limit on how much it will pay on a claim, but it might offer you a sum that is substantially below either the claim limit or the amount of your loss. If there is good reason to believe an insurance company offered you a low-ball settlement or denied your claim without a good reason, you can take steps to appeal the decision. Insurance companies have appeals processes available, which can also include dispute resolutions. Your attorney can develop evidence and legal arguments in support of your right to a satisfactory payment.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you may be able to bring a legal action alleging insurer bad faith. In Florida, this generally means an insurer did not attempt to settle claims that it could, and should, have settled if it had acted fairly and honestly and with due regard for the insured’s interests. Your attorney might also negotiate with the insurance company to pay a substantial part of your loss and thereby avoid the cost of litigation.
If you have received a notice of denial or inadequate settlement offer from an insurance company, H. Clay Parker, Esq. in Orlando, Florida will help you fight for your rights. We will give your case our careful attention and the benefit of our experience with the goal of achieving optimal results. Call at 407-216-2504 or contact us online to learn more about your options.