What To Do After A Hurricane Damages Your Home
When your property suffers damage, you hope to rely on your insurance company to help restore your family home. Unfortunately, it is not always as easy as making a phone call to your insurance company.
An insurance policy is a contract placing obligations upon the insurance company as well as the insured. Following a loss to your property, you are required to satisfy what is know as post-loss obligations. It is a long and exhaustive list requiring the insured to comply with a number of demands such as making a timely claim, submitting documents such as a sworn proof of loss, providing a verbal statement via a recorded statement or an examination under oath. The list of obligations placed on the insured is meant to be difficult and lengthy. Any failure to comply with post loss obligations can lead to your claim being denied.
Following complying with your post loss obligations, the insurance company completes its investigation. Typically, the insurance company takes all the information gathered and uses it to either deny or severely underpay the claim. When an insurance company refuses to pay for a covered loss or attempts to keep payout that should otherwise be paid to the insured then the insurance company may have engaged in bad faith. Most commonly this happens when legitimate claims are wrongfully denied, especially when a good reason is not given.
Policy holders often assume their insurance companies are trustworthy and take a denial of their claim in good faith. It is important to consult an attorney who is experienced in pursuing bad faith claims against insurance companies.
In a bad faith claim the plaintiff has a duty to prove each and every elements of the allegation by a preponderance of evidence, which may be a difficult standard when the insurance company has withheld information. In other jurisdictions the burden in the claimant may be even higher when the insured has to prove the insurance company intentionally undermined its investigation of the claim in order to be better able to deny the claim.
If the insured can prove the insurance company engaged in bad faith then the recovery can include compensation for the original claim as well as consequential damages caused by the improper denial of a claim. Consequential damages include attorney’s fees as compensation for the costs of litigation. Some states have specific damages available in successful bad faith claims such as awarding the insured treble damages.
Given each jurisdictions own rules, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney. The career attorneys at the Perazzo Law Firm have devoted their entire careers in seeking compensation from insurance companies. For your free consultation, please call us at (786) LAWS 411.