If you are like most people, you have come to expect hassles when dealing with your insurance company. The claims process is slow, and you are never quite sure if you are truly receiving the full amount to which you are entitled under your policy. You may even have concerns about bad faith – a practice that has become all-too-common among many property damage insurers.
Even so, at the end of the process, you expect that your insurance company will eventually pay. But, what if it doesn’t? If your insurer refuses to pay, you may need to take your claim to court.
Preparing to Take Your Insurance Claim to Court
While most disputes between policyholders and insurance companies settle, a significant number of claims still end up in court. Going to court means asking a judge or jury to decide whether you are entitled to payment under your policy, and if so in what amount. Your attorney will present evidence demonstrating the validity and value of your insurance claim, while defense attorneys representing your insurance company will seek to cast enough doubt to prevent the judge or jury from ruling in your favor.
Although your attorney will handle your case for you, you will still need to remain involved and informed throughout the process. This is especially true for two key aspects of your case: (i) the phase known as “discovery,” (ii) and preparing your testimony for trial.
1. The “Discovery” Phase of Insurance Claim Litigation
During discovery, the parties to a lawsuit have the opportunity to require one another to disclose certain information. These disclosures can come in the form of existing documents, written answers, or deposition testimony. When responding to your insurance company’s discovery requests, you need to provide the information that you are legally required to disclose; but, in most cases, you do not want to provide any more information than is absolutely necessary. As a result, during discovery you will want to work closely with your attorney to make sure that you do not accidentally provide any documents or make any statements that could harm your case.
2. Preparing to Testify as a Witness at Trial
If your case goes to trial, you will most likely need to testify as a witness in court. Your attorney will ask you questions designed to help solidify your claim in the minds of the judge and jury, while your insurance company’s defense lawyers will attempt to challenge your credibility and make it seem as though you really aren’t sure whether you are entitled to coverage under your policy. Before trial, you will need to spend time with your attorney reviewing the facts of the case and making sure that you can confidently convey your side of the story in the courtroom.
Don’t Forget: Court Cases Can Settle at Any Time
Even once your case enters the court system, it is important to remember that your insurance company could still agree to settle at any time. For example, if the documents you produce in discovery clearly establish that you are entitled to payment, your insurer may make a settlement offer in order to avoid the time and expense of going to trial. So, while it is important to prepare for trial, it is equally important to pursue a strategy that keeps the possibility of a settlement on the table.
Speak with the Insurance Claim Litigation Lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin
At Saavedra | Goodwin, we help property owners enforce their legal rights against their insurance companies. While our goal in every case is to secure a favorable settlement as quickly as possible, we are experienced litigators who are not afraid to go to trial. If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers about your insurance claim, call our Broward County law offices at (954) 767-6333 or request an appointment online today.