As a businessowner or property owner, you understand there are risks to owning estate. Accidents such as slip and falls occur every day across the nation at different businesses or venues. That is why you protected yourself by purchasing general liability insurance in case a premise liability claim is filed against you. However, what happens when your insurance company denies you coverage altogether?
General liability insurers may deny your claim so they can save as much money as possible. They may use confusing verbiage or cite complicated provisions in their policies to try and convince you the claim isn’t valid. Don’t fall for this tactic and talk to an experienced insurance claims attorney today. They can assess your situation to see if you can file a bad faith claim against your insurer.
Tampa Insurance Lawyer for Premise Liability in Florida
Accidents happen, but when it ends in an injury you expect your insurance company to have your back. If your insurer is denying coverage for a premise liability claim, then it’s imperative you seek experienced legal representation. You could qualify for a monetary award if your insurance company was acting in bad faith.
Find skilled and resourceful legal counsel by contacting Germain Law Group, P.A.. Michael B. Germain doesn’t just have an in-depth understanding of premise liability law but has practiced it for years. He can evaluate your case and see if filing a bad faith claim is best for your situation. Set up an appointment today by calling (813) 835-8888.
Germain Law Group, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Tampa Bay area and surrounding cities including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Temple Terrace, New Port Richey and Brandon.
Overview of Premise Liability in Florida
- What is Premise Liability?
- Does My General Liability Insurance Cover Premise Liability?
- Why Did My Insurer Deny My Claim?
- What Do I Do If My Insurance Denies My Claim?
- Additional Resources
What is Premise Liability?
Premise liability is a type of personal injury law associated with unsafe or defective conditions on another’s property. As with most personal injury cases, premise liability is based on the grounds of negligence. The legal term “negligence” is when a person fails to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would in the same situation. It usually includes actions, but also consists of omissions or the choice not to act.
For example, a restaurant owner notices that the sidewalks on their property are too icy to walk on. If the property owner doesn’t attempt to melt the ice or put a sign warning his customers, then he would be considered negligent. This is because he intentionally chose to do nothing when he knew that the icy sidewalks could potentially result in injury.
Does My General Liability Insurance Cover Premise Liability?
Your general liability insurance should cover both the cost of defense and damages in case the trial ends in a monetary award. They are bound to the policy you signed and must protect you from any torts-claim included in their contract. Not all policies are the same and you should examine yours before making any major decisions. However, many insurers have similar policies that provide three coverage types you can purchase together or separately.
Most premise liability concerns should be covered under Coverage A. This policy type includes claims for bodily injury or property damage that happened on your premises or business operations. Emotional injuries such as mental anguish and pain and suffering are also included as a type of premise liability.
It’s important to note premise liability claims are covered under Coverage A if they are non-professional. This means if your employee was injured on the premises your insurer would deny coverage. For full protection you would need either worker’s compensation or employment practices liability insurance as a separate endorsement.
Premise liability concerns aren’t covered under Coverage B, which is solely for personal and advertising injury. These types of claims would include offenses such as libel, slander, or false arrest. However, if you have Coverage C you might be protected from premise liability occurrences.
Coverage C is a type of limited protection which only includes medical payments for someone hurt by an accident on your premises or business operations. This type of coverage can be triggered without legal action and is reserved for small claims that are handled quickly. You may be able to have your premise liability claim covered under type C if the injured party doesn’t wish to pursue a lawsuit.
Why Did My Insurance Deny My Premise Liability Claim?
Some insurers want to do everything in their power so they can make a profit off your policy. They may even resort to deceptive practices so they can avoid paying the full defense and indemnification costs. This can include denying or disputing a valid claim. When an insurer doesn’t uphold their express or implied duties it’s referred to as acting in bad faith.
In some cases, insurers will use disingenuous practices to dispute or deny your claim. They might state that the claim you filed wasn’t included in their policy. Claims that aren’t listed in your policy are known as exclusions. Your insurer may argue that the torts-claim filed against you isn’t included in your contract, so they can’t provide coverage. Insurance agents do this by using confusing verbiage or talking in circles to confuse the policyholder.
Your insurance may not deny you a defense initially, but they could suspend it later. They may send a reservation of rights letter, which basically states they’re providing coverage now but will suspend it if they find the claim wasn’t included in the policy. This is so they can avoid being accused of acting in bad faith.
Insurers know the duty to defend in Florida is incredibly low in comparison with other states. Florida requires insurance companies to defend their policyholders even if mere allegations held against them are included in the policy. To avoid any bad faith claims, they send a reservation of rights letter to bide time so they can find reasons to deny coverage. Once they have enough evidence, they will suspend coverage or refuse to indemnify the plaintiff.
What Should I Do If My Insurance Denies My Claim?
If you believe your insurance denied a valid claim, then they could be acting in bad faith. An insurer is acting in bad faith if they refuse to uphold their express or implied duties to their policyholders. You could hire legal representation and file a bad faith claim against your insurer for losses you’ve experienced.
If you want to file a bad faith claim, it’s advised you have skilled legal counsel. Liability insurance law is incredibly confusing and requires a knowledge in multiple areas of law. Having legal representation will significantly increase your chances of winning your case. A proficient attorney will depose insurance experts, structural engineers and other expert witnesses to gather the information they need. They can also subpoena important financial or other relevant information proving why your claim was legitimate.
If you win the case, then you’ll be granted a monetary award. You will be compensated for the losses you’ve experienced since your insurer denied coverage. This can include:
- Judgement costs from prior suits;
- Attorney’s fees;
- Interests accumulated from prior settlements;
- Court costs;
- Emotional distress; and
- Loss of consortium
Civil Case Flowchart – Visit the official website for the Middle District of Florida to learn more about how a civil case works. Access their civil case flowchart to learn the steps of a premise liability case, what’s required of the plaintiff and the possible outcomes.
Florida’s Premise Liability Laws – Visit the official website for Florida’s state laws to learn more about the premise liability statues. Access the site to see what the limitations are on premise liability cases and how a property owner can be immune to a lawsuit.
Premise Liability Attorney in Hillsborough County, Florida
If your insurer is acting deceptive and denied your claim, then it’s time to contact an experienced insurance claims attorney. You may be entitled to a monetary award for the losses you’ve sustained since your insurer denied you coverage. Learn your options by contacting Germain Law Group, P.A..
Michael B. Germain has the resources and skills you need for effective representation. He will do whatever possible to maximize your settlement including deposing experts, negotiating in and out of court, and collecting valuable evidence for your case. Contact him now by calling (813) 835-8888 for a free consultation.
Germain Law Group, P.A. represents people throughout the Hillsborough County area and surrounding counties such as Paso County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Sarasota County, and Hernando County.
This article was last updated on June 21, 2019.