Our Miami property damage attorneys find that there are many procedural and evidentiary issues that make the process of pursuing a legal claim complicated when your insurance carrier denies your claim. While the law provides remedies and legal venues to pursue your rights, the path to obtaining benefits under a homeowner’s policy can be convoluted and complicated. One issue that homeowners will have to understand and navigate effectively if they pursue a lawsuit for breach of contract against their insurer is the nature of the shifting burden of proof in a lawsuit involving an insurance claims dispute. A recent case decided by the 2nd District Court of Appeal of Florida provides an overview of this shifting burden under an “all-risk” homeowner’s policy.
In Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Salkey, policyholders filed a sinkhole claim with Citizens. Under the insured’s all-risk policy, the property was covered for all perils unless they were expressly excluded. While the policy specifically excluded sinkhole damage, it also contained an endorsement for “direct physical loss” resulting from sinkhole activity. The policyholders filed a lawsuit for breach of contract after their sinkhole claim was denied. The jury reached a verdict in favor of the policyholders in the amount of $542,883, and the insurance carrier appealed the judgment. Continue reading →