The District Court of Appeal in Florida issued an opinion in an appeal stemming from an insurance dispute between an insurance company and the insured. The insurance company appealed a final judgment against them after a lower court found that the insured’s material breach of the contract was immaterial.
According to the record, storm damage prompted the homeowner to file a claim with the insurance company. The insurance company argued that the policy bars the homeowner from filing suit because he failed to comply with the three post-loss conditions in the insurance contract. Specifically, the violations include the homeowners’:
- Failure to provide the insurance company with prompt notice of the loss.
- Protect the property from additional damage.
- Failure to provide the insurance company with records and documentation.
The insurance company argued that these failures amounted to a breach of the insurance contract and precluded the homeowner from recovering damages.
Relevant evidence included the homeowner’s failure to report the damage for 103 after the damage. Further, the homeowner failed to hire anyone to perform remediation services, and as such, the leaks worsened over several months. Finally, the homeowner failed to provide the company with documentation of repair estimates. The primary issue on appeal was whether the trial court erred in directing a verdict in favor of the homeowner.
Under Florida law, a trial court can only grant a directed verdict if “no view of the evidence could support a verdict” for the other party. The appeals court reasoned that the insurance company’s evidence was sufficient, such that a jury could have returned a verdict in favor of the insurer. Specifically, they opined that a reasonable jury could have determined that the reporting delay and failures in obtaining repair services and providing documents were not immaterial breaches.
While insurance companies tout their many benefits to solicit business, they do not always treat their clients fairly. This is especially troubling in Florida, where the state’s climate makes home and property damage a common occurrence. Insurance claims may stem from damage from events such as:
When an insurance company denies or delays claims from these events, homeowners can suffer severe and long time financial and even medical consequences. An attorney can represent clients through these challenges and ensure that they recover the compensation the law entitles.
Has Your Florida Insurance Company Unlawfully Denied Your Claim?
If your home or business has suffered damage after weather or another event, contact the insurance dispute attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. The dedicated South Florida injury lawyers help clients hold insurance companies responsible for mishandled or bad faith claims. In addition to Florida bad faith insurance disputes, our firm represents clients in matters stemming from traffic accidents, defective products, premises liability, construction accidents, workplace injuries, and medical malpractice. Our attorneys have successfully advocated for claimants, securing them compensation for their damages and losses. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.