What Is A “Notice Of Intent To Initiate Litigation” In A Florida Property Insurance Claim?
Florida law currently requires that, if a policyholder plans to file a lawsuit against their insurer for any reason, they must file what is called a “notice of intent to initiate litigation” with Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. This applies to all lawsuits except those brought by assignees under property insurance policies.
Once notice is filed with the state, it is then transmitted to the insurance company for a response. An insurer then has 10 business days to respond to the suit, or 14 business days to reinspect the property. Alternatively, they may choose to accept coverage and pay the claim, if the intent to sue was based on a denial of insurance coverage.
What is Required Within a Notice of Intent to Litigate?
If a person gets to the point where they plan to file litigation against their insurer, they have specific steps they must follow first. Florida Statutes Sec. 627.70152 requires the following:
- That the notice of intent be provided on a form supplied by the Florida CFO, referred to as a “Property Insurance Notice of Intent to Initiate Litigation”. If this is not done, the notice does not meet statutory requirements and a subsequent lawsuit can be dismissed.
- The “alleged acts or omissions” of the insurer, including a denial of coverage, must be included within the notice. This allows the insurance company to evaluate the basis for the claim and take any action they believe could resolve the matter.
- An estimate of damages, if the claim is based on a denial of coverage the insured believed they were entitled to.
- A “presuit settlement demand”, including an itemization of damages, costs, and attorney’s fees, as well as the amount in dispute.
- Documentation supporting the amounts claimed by the insured, if they have that available and wish to provide copies to the insurer.
If these statutory provisions are not followed – or a lawsuit is filed fewer than 10 business days from the time of the notice – a suit against the insurance company can be dismissed regardless of its merits.
The enactment of these requirements was somewhat controversial. Some believe, with good reason, that the Notice of Intent procedures were designed to frustrate consumers and their attorneys, and reduce the number of lawsuits filed in general. It certainly adds more “homework” for those with legitimate disputes against their insurance company following a property damage denial.
However, an insured homeowner still has important legal rights to pursue in the event of wrongful coverage denials, bad-faith tactics, and other situations where their rights as a Florida homeowner have been affected.
When these things happen, it is important to work with a Florida property damage attorney that has experience dealing with insurance companies on these issues. The Daytona legal team at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., has extensive experience in all facets of property damage litigation and can help answer any questions you may have.
Our Property Damage Attorneys Know the Steps Involved and Are Ready to Help If You Must File Suit Against Your Insurer
Making the decision to file a lawsuit against your insurance company can seem complex (particularly under Florida’s Notice of Intent law), but can be necessary and worth it. The Daytona property damage insurance attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., have worked with hundreds of Florida clients and will not hesitate to take legal action when needed. We can guide you through this process toward a resolution that addresses your needs and concerns. Don’t hesitate to call our Daytona law offices at 386-252-5170, or schedule a consultation with our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online.