Many if not every homeowner does not know what to when their claim is denied or drastically underpaid by their insurance company. Every day, a new client of ours is shocked that we do not bill our clients hourly to represent them in battling their insurance company. This is where Florida Statue § 627. 428 kicks in. This statute allows that when an insured prevails in a lawsuit for a denied or underpaid insurance claim, their attorney is entitled litigation fees that were necessary to obtain a recovery for their client. Therefore, in Florida an attorney would not take a percentage for their fees and costs out of your settlement!
Specifically Florida Statute § 627.428 (1) states:
“Upon the rendition of a judgment or decree by any of the courts of this state against an insurer and in favor of any named or omnibus insured or the named beneficiary under a policy or contract executed by the insurer, the trial court or, in the event of an appeal in which the insured or beneficiary prevails, the appellate court shall adjudge or decree against the insurer and in favor of the insured or beneficiary a reasonable sum as fees or compensation for the insured’s or beneficiary’s attorney prosecuting the suit in which the recovery is had.”
Here is a great example. Mrs. Smith lives in Miami, Florida. She wakes up one morning and her dishwasher is leaking gallons of water. She timely reports the claim to her insurance company. She hires a licensed Florida Public Adjuster to assist her with her claim. Within 90 days of reporting the claim, she received a minimal payment of $1,000, which is clearly insufficient to repair the damage to her home. Her public adjuster has quoted the repair cost to her kitchen at $15,000. Mrs. Smith wise enough to hire an attorney specializing in property insurance claims sues her insurance company. After litigating her case for 3 months received a recovery of $10,000. Florida Statute § 627.428 now allows her attorney to recover his legal fees for prosecuting the matter in the amount of $8,000. This recovery by Mrs. Smith’s attorney does not reduce the $10,000 she has received. Thus, allowing her to utilize the funds she was rightfully owed to repair the damage to her kitchen.