Yet Another Reason Policyholders Need an Experienced Florida Insurance Claims Lawyer

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

There are many reasons that homeowners might want to consider working with an experienced Florida Insurance Claims Attorney.  One reason that many people do not consider is the importance of retaining qualified experts.  A law firm that regularly handles insurance claims disputes will have a network of experts who can analyze the damage to your home and evaluate the amount needed to fully compensate you for your loss.  While some people attempt to retain a contractor on their own, this can be a precarious decision even if the expert has a history of conducting property inspections.  Although no attorney can guarantee that an expert will perform competently, our lawyers work with industry experts on a regular basis.  Consequently, our law firm usually will have an extensive familiarity with an expert’s reputation.

A recent decision out of a New Jersey court demonstrates the potential pitfalls of assuming all experts are created equal.  An insurer moved to strike and to exclude the insured’s expert report in a lawsuit arising out of a homeowner’s insurance claim.  The expert generated a twelve page report that indicated necessary repairs to both the interior and exterior of the property following Superstorm Sandy.  The estimated value of the repairs in the report was $86,000.  The expert that drafted the report was not present during the inspection of the property, did not visit the property, and failed to discuss the condition of the property with the insured prior to the storm.

The insurance company sought to exclude the expert’s opinion and testimony based on the grounds that no factual basis existed upon which the expert’s evidence could be based.    Although the homeowner indicated the expert had been involved in the process of calculating property damage estimates for more than ten years and routinely used this approach, the judge granted the motion to exclude the expert’s information.

The court indicated that the expert could not determine with any degree of certainty which damage was caused by the storm without actually investigating the premises.  The conclusions of the expert were determined to be speculative and tenuous despite his experience.  Although the insured might well have retained an experienced individual to inspect the property, an insurance claims attorney understands the expert also must be qualified to testify at trial.  Without this critical evidence on the issue of causation, the claim was predictably denied. 

Our law firm often works with policyholders through the entire claims process.  This means we can provide advice and guidance in the screening and selection of engineers, contractors, and other experts.  The qualifications and competence of your expert can ease the process.  The right expert also can dramatically impact the outcome of your case if you must resort to litigation.  Our Miami insurance claims law firm invites you to contact us if you are having difficulties with your insurance company.  Miami insurance claims lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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