Updated: Jan 22, 2019
Have you been wrongfully denied or underpaid on a property insurance claim? Then you need to know about Florida Statute 627.428 and what it means for you.
What is Florida Statute 627.428?
Florida Statute 627.428 protects policyholders from wrongfully denied and underpaid insurance claims. It states that your insurance company must pay your attorney’s fees and costs if a court finds that your insurance company wrongfully denied or underpaid your property damage insurance claim.
Specifically, Florida Statute 627.428 (1) provides the following:
"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."
This statute protects you from predatory insurance companies. It holds insurance companies accountable for properly adjusting and paying claims. In other words, it levels the playing field between policyholders and their insurance companies.
The statute is one-way in nature. The insurance company does NOT recover attorney’s fees and costs if it prevails against you (the policyholder). The purpose of Florida Statute 627.428 is to discourage insurance companies from wrongfully denying and underpaying valid insurance claims.
How do I know if my attorney's fees will be covered?
Florida Statute 627.428 requires a “judgment” or “decree” from a court before the insurance company is obligated to pay attorney’s fees and costs. That does NOT mean that the claim must go through a trial for a homeowner to recoup attorney’s fees and costs. In fact, under Florida Law, payment by an insurance carrier after the lawsuit is filed operates as a “confession of judgment.” If your insurance company agrees to pay out benefits after you've filed a lawsuit, then you are entitled to fees and costs. Even the smallest benefit paid by your insurance company counts.
Did your insurance company wrongfully deny or underpay your homeowner’s claim? If the answer is yes, then you should speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Make sure that the one you choose is familiar with Florida Statute 627.428. Many law firms are aware of 627.428 but still take a percentage of your claim. At PZ Law Firm, we never take a percentage of your insurance claim. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your claim.
PZ Law Firm’s attorneys have handled thousands of insurance claims on behalf of Florida homeowners. We have recovered millions of dollars in denied and short-paid claims. PZ Law Firm, P.A. NEVER charges a fee unless you prevail.
It is important that you hold your insurance company accountable. Call us at (407) 500-EZPZ (3979) today for a free consultation related to your home’s damage.
Disclaimer: This column does not create a client-attorney relationship and is not intended as legal advice. Should you need any legal advice, speak to an attorney who is skilled in the area and jurisdiction you require.