When Can You File A Lawsuit Against Your Insurance Company?
After property has suffered damage as the result of a weather-related incident or some other cause, you may feel that the insurer has acted unfairly or even illegally in some situations. Some actions that could give rise to a lawsuit include bad faith negotiations, unfair or deceptive practices, or breach of contract. Failure to pay on a claim that should have rightfully been paid under the terms of your policy, for example, could be sufficient grounds for a lawsuit.
However, before a homeowner can become a plaintiff, certain procedures must be followed and the claim must play out under the terms of your policy. Particularly, you must allow the insurer to complete an inspection and evaluate the results, and you must follow your duties after a loss. An insured’s duties after a loss typically include:
- Providing prompt notice of the claim. Timely reporting of your claim allows the insurer to start the claims process as close to the date of incident as possible, and prevents them from later claiming that you acted too slowly, or violated some term of your policy.
- Mitigation of damages. This is a duty to prevent damages from worsening after an incident. Repairing holes in roofs, boarding up broken windows, and removing water from a flooded room are examples of this.
- Accurate record-keeping of damages and costs incurred.
- Itemization of damaged property and damaged or destroyed personal items.
- Permitting the insurance company to inspect the property as requested.
- Provide the insurance company with requested documents and other materials.
- Submitting to an Examination Under Oath (“EUO”) if requested by the insurance company. This is similar to a legal deposition, in which the insured answers questions about the property and damage involved.
- Submitting a sworn proof of loss to your insurer if requested. The timeframe on these is generally 60 days from the date of the request.
Completing these tasks (or waiting for the insurer to complete them) can be a time-consuming process and a test of your patience. From the date of the incident to the date that your claim is completed, it can be several months at times.
You may sense things are not going your way and wish to take your insurer to court, but you can’t jump the gun before the steps above are complete. Doing so can give your insurer a valid legal defense that your lawsuit is premature and must be dismissed.
Even though you must wait for certain procedures to unfold, you also can’t wait forever. Florida’s statute of limitations for breach of property insurance claims is 5 years from the date that the incident took place.
Contact our Daytona, Florida Property Damage Insurance Attorneys if You Intend to Take Legal Action Against Your Insurer
Insurance companies may wrongfully delay, deny, or otherwise breach the terms of your insurance policy. Other times they may act in bad faith while handling your claim. Whatever the situation, our property damage attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., can help. We will review all facts involved with your claim, including your right to take legal action when necessary. Call our Daytona law offices at 386-252-5170 or contact our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online to request a consultation today.