A rather peculiar lawsuit in Florida serves as a reminder about just how important it is for insurance companies to have a reliable insurance defense lawyer on their side. According to Insurance Magazine America, homeowner Kathy Johnson sued Omega Insurance Inc. after the latter dismissed the dangers posed by a nearby sinkhole. It turns out Johnson herself skipped certain steps in the claims process and failed to act upon Omega’s instruction to hire a third-party evaluator at the company’s expense:

tricky-sinkhole

In the end, the Florida appeals court found the insurer followed procedure and did not force the policyholder to file suit.

“We do not believe that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, Omega’s actions in investigating and handling Johnson’s claim pursuant to the pertinent statutory provisions contained in chapter 627, and in relying on the presumptively correct report it commissioned to deny the claim, establish a wrongful or unreasonable denial of benefits that forced Johnson to file suit to obtain her policy benefits,” the three-judge panel found.

Simple details like these make insurance claims in the Sunshine State, and everywhere else for that matter, a bit complicated, if not interesting to watch. At any rate, insurers and their insured who find themselves at the receiving end of a lawsuit would do dwell to work with a respected Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer—such as Richard F. Della Fera, for instance—who is highly experienced in civil and insurance defense. The latter field is quite broad, seeing that it covers homeowners insurance, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, and auto accidents just to name a few.

 

Insurance defense essentially aims to protect insurers from false insurance claims by transferring the liability to another party (a.k.a. indemnification). Proper legal representation is important, considering that the state’s insurance laws can change in favor of the policyholder, thereby making insurance companies more vulnerable to unfair insurance claims. For instance, Florida recently passed the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights on July 1, 2014. One of the bill’s key provisions states that any claim cannot be denied if the policy or contract has been effect for more than 90 days.

 

If worse comes to worst, both parties may want to settle rather than press charges. This is where an experienced Ft. Lauderdale criminal lawyer can prove invaluable, considering that the litigation process involves extensive negotiations and perhaps a motion practice so that both the insurer and the policyholder won’t exhaust their resources further. Should there be a loophole that the insurer can use, as in the Omega case, such a lawyer can also bring it to light.

 

(Source: Insurer walks free in tricky sinkhole claim, Insurance Business America, September 09, 2014)