Litigation can be a long, drawn-out, and frustrating process for people. Unless you are familiar with how a court case proceeds through the system, litigation is a strange and confusing procedure. Our property damage lawyers pride ourselves on streamlining the process for our clients to the extent we can. We work very closely with our clients so they can feel comfortable while their case professes through the court system. We understand that when you file a homeowner’s insurance claim in Florida, you need your settlement paid as soon as possible and in the full amount. Sometimes clients want to get their claim settled more quickly and without the time and expense of litigation. In that instance, we will recommend that our clients resolve their case through alternative dispute resolution. Alternate dispute resolution may provide an efficient way to resolve the case before trial.
Florida’s legislature enacted a statute that sets out the process by which homeowners can resolve their disputed claims before going into court. Florida’s law encourages insurance companies and homeowners to submit to alternative dispute resolution such as mediation to arrive at a settlement. Mediation provides litigants the opportunity to work out the issues in the case is a more relaxed environment. Additionally, mediation allows the parties to work toward a resolution in a timely and fair manner. Conversely, taking the case to trial is a time-consuming process that is potentially costly.
The statute gives each party-the insurer and the insured- an opportunity to request mediation. Either party may make the request before filing a claim in court or before the formal appraisal process begins. The parties may submit their case to litigation after the policyholder files a case in court if the county or district court judge refers the parties to mediation. Courts may not refer litigants to mediation if the claim involves coverage under the general liability language of the homeowner’s policy. Counsel may represent homeowners electing to participate in mediation.
The insurance company must notify the homeowner of their right to submit their claim to mediation after the homeowner files a claim. A first-party claim only triggers the insurance company’s duty to serve the claimant with the required notice. Under Florida insurance law, a first-party is party covered directly by the insurance policy which is seeking coverage for themselves. By contrast, a third-party claim is filed when someone is injured by a person covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. The state’s insurance department must prepare a pamphlet for policyholders explaining mediation.
Submitting your claim may be the best option is some cases. Mediation, as provided in the statute, is non-binding. The law allows the claimant three (3) business days to accept the settlement reached during the mediation or reject it and proceed to court. Also, all statements made during mediation are deemed to be made within the course of settlement negotiation. Therefore, the insurance company cannot use your words against you nor can they use your willingness to take less money against you if the case is not resolved and goes to trial. The statute also allows the claimant to be represented by their attorney. Having your attorney with you at mediation is of paramount importance. Your attorney can lead the negotiation by empathizing critical points that are advantageous to you. Ultimately, your attorney can help you decide whether the settlement offer is worthwhile or whether you will have a better opportunity to receive greater compensation after the trial. Your attorney will also counsel you on the risks involved in going to trial. Without a lawyer, you could leave some money on the table or risk too much because you have no experience upon which you can rely.
Contact Miami Homeowners Insurance Claim Attorneys If Questions About Your Rights Under Your Insurance Contract
Let South Florida’s Top law firm – as voted by the Miami Herald – Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, represent you with your homeowner’s insurance policy claim. The attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, and & Urbano have over 130 years of combined legal experience at your service. Call the South Florida homeowners insurance claim attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano – an AV-rated firm by Martindale-Hubbell – today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation. They promise to work hard to maximize your recovery.