Our homeowners insurance coverage attorneys often meet people who are given the run around by their insurance carrier when they file a claim for damage to their home. These individuals frequently assume they have no real recourse. While policyholders usually understand that they can file a lawsuit for breach of contract, they might be concerned about their ability to afford attorney fees on an out-of-pocket basis. Our law firm handles homeowners insurance claims involving denied policy benefits on a contingency fee basis. Further, Florida courts can award lucrative attorney fee awards when an insurance carrier loses a breach of contract action. In a case from the Florida 3rd DCA, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Pulloquinga, the court not only granted attorney fees but applied a 1.5 multiplier to the amount of the fee award.
The insured filed a homeowner’s claim with Citizens after her house was destroyed by fire. The insured promptly provided notice of the loss to her insurer and participated in an Examination Under Oath (EUO) without an attorney. At the EUO, the insured provided documents supporting her claim. Citizens issued a check for $5,000 to the insured but paid nothing more for the complete loss of her home. The insured filed suit, and the carrier defended based on allegations of arson, insurance fraud, and misrepresentation in the application. The homeowner was forced to continue paying her mortgage during the two-year period between the fire and date of trial. She also was forced to seek out meager, alternative housing and to stay with friends. Because the homeowner had to maintain her mortgage while living somewhere else, she experienced extreme financial hardships during this period. Continue reading →