Property Insurance Law: When Does Florida Allow Plaintiffs to Recover Attorneys’ Fees
Imagine that your Florida property insurance claim was wrongfully denied or substantially underpaid by the insurance company. No doubt, you want to bring a legal claim to get the full compensation that is owed to you. You pay your insurance premiums and you should not be on the hook for this loss. But, can you actually afford legal action? This is a question that many Florida homeowners ask.
The good news is that Florida law provides a path for policyholders to recover compensation for their full court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. You do not have to pay out of pocket to get what was rightfully yours all along. In this post, our highly experienced Broward County property insurance lawyers explain what you need to know about Florida’s laws governing the recovery of attorneys’ fees in property insurance disputes.
Florida Property Insurance Law: Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees
Under Florida Statute § 627.428, policyholders may be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees if they have a valid claim against their insurance provider. More specifically, the statute states that when policyholders obtain a successful court judgement against their insurance company, they are entitled to reasonable compensation to make up for the amount that it cost them to get the judgment. This is part of being made ‘whole’. In Florida, property insurance companies cannot hide behind the fact that pursuing a claim would be too expensive. If you win your case, the insurer will be held responsible for your legal costs.
Understanding Attorneys’ Fees Through an Example
Consider a scenario where you, as a Fort Lauderdale homeowner, suffered $25,000 in property damage in a severe thunderstorm. After investigation, it is determined by an independent appraiser that the damage was caused by high winds. That type of loss is clearly covered under your policy. However, the insurance company, while accepting your claim, only pays out $5,000. This is a severe underpayment. You should not be made liable for that $20,000 gap. You would need to take legal action to seek full and fair payment from your insurer.
Upon reviewing your case, the court rules in your favor. In this hypothetical scenario, you would be entitled to a $20,000 judgment, plus whatever additional costs (in court fees and attorneys’ fees) were required to obtain that judgement. The insurance company has a legal duty to pay you in full, without any delay. Thus, the company is liable for the full value of the costs that it took you to get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Broward County Property Insurance Attorneys Today
Was your property insurance claim rejected by your insurer? We can help. At Geyer Fuxa Tyler, our dedicated Florida property insurance dispute lawyers have extensive experience handling complex property loss claims. To find out more about what we can do for you and your family, please contact us today for no-fee case evaluation. From our office in Sunrise, we are proud to serve homeowners throughout Broward County.