Policyholders purchase a variety of insurance policies with the intent of reducing their financial risk from unexpected disasters. When the policyholder pays their premiums, it’s expected that the insurance company will pay the full benefits of the policy for legitimate claims. Often, this is not the case.
While most insurance companies act in good faith, too many times we see insurance adjusters more interested in putting shareholder profits before the best interests of their policyholders. This can result in claim processing delays, underpayment of benefits, outright claim denials and ultimately legal disputes.
Has your insurance claim has been delayed or denied? Are you in a dispute with your insurance company over the claim value? Don’t make the mistake of fighting the insurance company on your own. To protect your legal rights, contact our experienced insurance claim lawyers as soon as possible.
For over 25 years, Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. has battled a variety of insurance companies in Florida. We are skilled in both insurance claim negotiation and litigation. If your insurance claim has been wrongfully denied or undervalued by your carrier, our Florida insurance claim lawyers are waiting to help.
We believe that the costs associated with hiring a lawyer shouldn’t prevent anyone in an insurance claim dispute from obtaining sound legal counsel. Because of this, our law firm handles all Florida insurance claim disputes on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no out of pocket expenses and you only owe attorney’s fees if we settle your claim or win a favorable verdict in court.
If you’ve filed an insurance claim, understand this simple fact. The insurance adjuster is not your friend. Regardless of how nice or helpful they may sound on the phone, their interest in your claim is completely opposed to yours as the policyholder or claimant.
If you’ve worked hard to pay the premiums on your policy, you should expect and demand to be treated fairly. Yet, the insurance adjuster’s job is not to help you. They exist solely to protect the financial interests of their employer.
Every insurance company trains their adjusters well, with a single goal in mind. That goal is to devalue your claim. Regardless if it’s a property claim, auto collision claim or medical bill claim, the job of insurance adjusters is universal, devalue claims.
Below is a list of tactics that insurance adjusters will use to devalue your claim and limit the compensation you might otherwise be entitled to receive under Florida law and the terms of your policy.
It’s a rare occasion when our client has read and completely understands the terms of their insurance policy. Almost 100% of the time, the insurance adjuster knows more about the policy and the law than the policyholder.
The insurance companies are fully aware of this fact. Given the opportunity, they will use it to their advantage in every way possible. That is why it is common for insurance adjusters to advise policyholders or victims against hiring an attorney.
Insurance adjusters want to have the advantage. Having this advantage saves the insurance company money on claims. If you hire an experienced Florida insurance claim lawyer, you’re effectively leveling the playing field.
Emotions often dictate decisions and all insurance adjusters will use this to their advantage. Often, property damage and injury claims result in significant financial hardship for the victim. The quick settlement tactic is used to catch the policyholder or victim while they are overwhelmed with the situation and have not determined the full extent of the damages involved.
If the policyholder or victim feel vulnerable, they’re more likely to accept any amount of compensation they are offered. Of course, the insurance company wants something simple and seemingly innocent in return, a signed release.
The release basically states that the claim process is complete. No matter what damage you may discover after the fact or how much it may cost, once you sign the release, the insurance company is no longer liable for any further compensation. Before signing a release for any insurance claim, consult with an attorney.
We see the delay tactic often. Disasters of any type can be both emotionally and financially stressful. The insurance company will use delay and stall tactics to make the claimant feel vulnerable. Their delay tactic is designed to create feelings of desperation and hopelessness.
We’ve seen cases where the adjuster stalled for months on claims that should have been paid immediately. If the adjuster stalls long enough, the claimant might become desperate enough to settle the claim for a much lower amount or feel that the process is too overwhelming and give up completely.
This is where our experienced Florida insurance claim lawyers can be highly effective. Our attorney can deal directly with the insurance company, relieving some of your stress. Additionally, hiring one of our insurance attorneys puts the insurance adjuster on notice that you’re willing to stand your ground to be compensated fairly.
This is a common tactic in many personal injury claims. The at-fault party’s insurance company will contact you when you are most vulnerable. The victim likely doesn’t know the full extent of their physical or financial damages and they haven’t had enough time to speak with a lawyer.
Regardless of how comforting or helpful the adjuster may sound on the phone; their sole purpose is to gather information that will help them devalue or deny the claim. Even if they admit that their client is likely at fault, do not engage in this conversation. They are looking for information that hurts your claim.
If you receive this call, simply inform the adjuster that you will be speaking with and attorney and the attorney will be in contact. If you already have an attorney, provide the adjuster with the attorney’s contact information and end the call.
This is another common tactic in injury cases. The at-fault party’s insurance adjuster calls with a seemingly innocent request. They need you to sign a medical authorization for their insurance company to review the medical records related to your accident claim.
In most cases, signing the medical authorization gives the insurance company permission to pull the medical records from every physician you have ever seen. Why? They are looking for anything in your medical history that can be used to show that your injuries aren’t a result of an accident, but a pre-existing condition.
This tactic is also used by auto insurance companies that represent the injured victim. Yes, your own insurance company will use this same tactic to limit the compensation they may be obligated to pay for your injuries.
You should never sign a medical authorization from any insurance company, including your own, without first speaking with a lawyer.
Florida Statute 624.155 outlines the insurance code for our state. It is clear, under Florida law, that insurance companies are required to act in good faith when processing insurance claims.
The claimant is supposed to be treated fairly and honestly. The law prohibits insurance companies from acting solely in their own best interests. Specifically, they are required to do the following:
If the insurance company fails to abide by the law’s requirements, it may be considered a Bad Faith violation.
If the insurance company fails to fairly and honestly settle the claim, the statute also allows the claimant to file a civil lawsuit against the insurer.
The required first step of the lawsuit is to file a written Bad Faith violation notice with the Florida Department of Financial Services (FDFS) and the insurer, with very specific information.
The FDFS has 20 days from the receipt of the notice to notify the claimant, if the notice was deficient of any required information. If this is the case, the claimant must resubmit the notice with the requested information.
Once FDFS accepts the notice, the department and insurer have 60 days to investigate the claim, before rendering a final decision.
If the insurer agrees to a favorable settlement, the Bad Faith claim process stops. Otherwise, the claimant will need to proceed with a civil lawsuit to seek additional compensation.
There’s a reason that our reputation precedes us: our 25-plus year history in Sarasota has garnered us some of the top reviews in the area, from both peers and clients alike. If you are in need of an experienced law firm, with personalized service and a desire to win your case, we’re here for you. Read on to learn more about the key reasons why the law offices of Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. are considered one of the premier civil trial law firms in Southwest Florida.
We are a Martindale-Hubbell AV rated law firm, the highest possible rating for legal ability and ethical standards. With over 300 years of combined legal experience at our firm’s disposal, we have a vastly experienced knowledge of the legal system.
We believe that when you hire an attorney, you should be able to communicate directly with that attorney. At Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A., you’re never treated like a number. We work hard to understand the specifics of your situation and to craft a compelling legal strategy to fight for the best outcome for you.
Our law firm has recovered millions and millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements for our clients. While we don’t guarantee results, we do promise to work tirelessly towards the best possible outcome for you.
Experience and skill are meaningless without the passion to succeed. Our law firm takes pride in knowing that we’ve done our job by serving our client’s interests well. Our greatest satisfaction comes when our clients take the time to acknowledge their satisfaction with our legal representation, by providing our law firm with a testimonial.