Dedicated Tampa Insurance Attorney
Insurance companies spend more than $6 billion a year to attract customers willing to pay premiums for the protection offered by an insurance policy. The friendly, reassuring tone of most of the advertising portrays the relationship between you and your insurance company as a partnership with the company poised to pay your claim.
The reality, in many cases, is that an insurance claim creates an adversarial situation in which the company seeks to limit what it pays out. When disputes arise between you and an insurance company over a claim or coverage, you need an experienced Tampa insurance attorney from Kinney, Fernandez & Boire committed to fighting for the benefits your premiums entitle you to receive.
What is an insurance dispute?
Disputes between policyholders and their insurance companies usually relate to a claim filed by the insured. Common disputes associated with medical, motor vehicle or home insurance policies include:
- Denial of a claim for compensation based upon it not being covered under the terms of the policy.
- Disagreement over the type of treatment in medical claims or the repairs required in homeowner and motor vehicle claims.
- Insurance company’s refusal to pay a claim based upon the cost being too high.
Insurance policies are contracts between you, as the insured, and the company issuing the policy. As long as you pay the premiums, the insurance company agrees to provide benefits according to the written terms of the policy. When a company violates the provisions in the policy it issued to you, a Tampa insurance dispute lawyer can provide trusted, knowledgeable legal advice and skilled representation.
Types of Insurance Claims
Our insurance dispute attorneys are experienced in a variety of insurance dispute claims including:
Auto Insurance Claims
After an accident, settling your claim quickly might seem like the most comfortable alternative. Before you sign a settlement agreement, it’s important to consult with an attorney. They can help determine if your policy terms are being met and file important complaint documents within the deadline.
If you or a loved one suffers an injury at your home or property, you may need to file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance. Our team will help quickly evaluate your case and file a claim to ensure that you are getting any medical treatment needed.
Life Insurance Claims
The loss of a loved one can devastate a family both personally and financially. When an insurance company adds to the anguish by denying a life insurance claim, an insurance dispute attorney can help. Our attorneys have stood up to life insurance claim denials and helped clients get the benefits that they deserve.
Florida law prohibits unfair claims practices
When your insurance company refuses to pay a claim or engages in tactics designed to delay payment of a claim, it could be violating Florida law. If your claim is for injuries or property damage related to an automobile accident, the insurance company must investigate the claim in a timely fashion and notify of its decision within 30 days from the date it receives your claim. If it denies payment of the claim, it must give provide a written explanation for the denial.
The following are some of the other claims practices insurance companies are prohibited from engaging in under Florida law:
- Making misrepresentations intended to get you to settle your claim for less than the insurance policy amount
- Altering your insurance policy without your knowledge or consent
- Misrepresenting the provisions of your insurance policy as they relate to coverage of your claim
- Denying your claim without conducting a reasonable investigation
- Not notifying you if additional information is needed to process your claim
- Requesting information to process your claim without offering a clear explanation of what is need or providing reasons for the request
- Refusing or failing to settle claims in good faith
- Failing or refusing to promptly settle a claim under one section of your insurance policy in order to force a settlement of a claim pending under another portion of the policy
When your insurance company denies your claim for benefits, you have the right to dispute the company’s decision.
Disputing an insurance company decision in Florida
If you receive an adverse decision from an insurance company handling a claim, you have the right to file a complaint with the Florida Department of Financial Services. The insurance company then has 20 days to submit its response to the department. You could receive a decision from the FDFS as quickly as 30 days after filing your initial complaint.
When taking on a powerful insurance company through the FDFS complaint process, you need legal representation by a competent Tampa insurance dispute attorney. An attorney who knows and understands state insurance laws uses that knowledge to focus on policy provisions and legal principles supporting your position.
An aggressive and experienced insurance dispute attorney might resolve a dispute through negotiations directly with the insurance company before it becomes necessary to file a complaint or resort to litigation through the courts. Depending upon your particular situation, your attorney might recommend alternative dispute resolution procedures.
State law in Florida provides for mediation as a method of resolving insurance disputes. For example, a dispute about a claim you submitted under your homeowner insurance policy may be submitted to mediation by your insurance attorney.
When to take your insurance dispute to court
Litigation against your insurance company is an option when other methods fail to achieve a resolution that is in your favor. This could be the case if your insurance carrier acts in bad faith.
For instance, if you someone sues you claiming to have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident and the evidence supports a finding that you were at fault, your insurance company must act in good faith to settle the claim. The failure of your insurance company to settle the claim within the limits of the policy knowing you could be personally liable if a trial results in a verdict in excess of the policy amount could be bad faith.