How Does Insurance Litigation Differ from Other Types of Litigation in Florida?

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

While consumers can file a lawsuit against an insurance company that fails to perform its duties under a policy, insurance litigation typically is not something that can be successfully pursued without an experienced insurance claims attorney.  The complex rules, procedures, and legal standards make it difficult to have success in a civil lawsuit without legal representation.  These challenges increase significantly in a lawsuit for breach of contract or bad faith against an insurance company because additional requirements and pitfalls must be successfully navigated.

The Florida Legislature enacted Civil Remedy Statute 624.155 approximately three decades ago.  The statute, which has been amended several times since its enactment, imposes requirements on policyholders who elect to sue their insurance company for bad faith.  Whether you are filing a lawsuit against your insurer for bad faith failure to pay for property damage to your home, a bad faith denial of a duty to defend or refusal to indemnity you, you will need to comply with the requirements of the Civil Remedy Statute.

The statute imposes legal obligations before a policyholder can even file a lawsuit against an insurer for bad faith.  The insured must furnish notice to both the insurance carrier and the Florida Department of Financial Services prior to filing a complaint to initiate a lawsuit for bad faith.  After notice has been provided, the insurance carrier has 60 days to cure the alleged bad faith conduct in order to avoid liability for its conduct.  The function of the notice is to inform the insurer that the policyholder is alleging that the insurer either breached its contractual obligations in bad faith or violated applicable state or federal law.  While the Department of Financial Services will not participate in the litigation, the agency reviews the notice to ensure that the insured has provided sufficient detail of the alleged improper actions by the insurance company and the nature of the loss experienced by the insured.

These special procedural requirements and deadlines can become extremely confusing because they are independent of duties placed on plaintiffs in all civil cases.  For example, a homeowner who sues his or her homeowner's insurance carrier generally must file a complaint within five years of the date of loss.  The insurance policy also will impose timing requirements for performing certain tasks that may be a necessary condition to pursuing a lawsuit.  These requirements generally involve notifying your insurer within a certain time period and submitting a sworn proof of loss.

The bottom line is that the complexity and abundance of these procedural rules and deadlines make it imperative to retain legal advice early before you make a critical mistake that damages your claim.

You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].

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