An Attorney’s Role in Virginia Insurance Coverage Disputes
October 28, 2019 by GKwriter
An insurance policy is a contract between the insured and the insurer. It sets forth the expectations of both sides. However, when the insurer doesn’t uphold their end of the deal, the insured can bring about insurance coverage disputes under Virginia law.
While you can negotiate with the insurance company yourself, hiring an attorney will assist you in improving your case’s outcome. Reviewing an insurance policy’s language is difficult as it’s written in contractual language.
Insurance coverage disputes can have a variety of documents related to the case. These documents include:
- Policy documents
- Underwriting files
- The insurance company’s underwriting manual
- The insurance company’s claims manual
But if you’re not careful in how you request this information, you might just make yourself more of an enemy to the insurance company. An attorney is practiced in dealing with insurance companies and knows how to best gather the necessary materials for an insurance coverage dispute.
Additional information your attorney can help you with is gathering details related to your claim. This might include police reports, property damage assessments, repair quotes, etc.
Finding and prepping expert witnesses
Expert witnesses vary according to your case. One type of witness your attorney might call upon is an insurance expert. An insurance expert would review the materials related to your claim and offer information on whether or not the damage should be covered.
Other witnesses your attorney might hire to help your case are experts related to the damage you incurred. For example, if you’re facing roof damage from a hail storm that your insurance company is claiming is not covered, a local Virginia roofing expert can be an asset.
Your attorney will provide the witnesses with full details around your case and the supporting documentation. This will help ensure proper preparation of the witness in your insurance coverage dispute. That way, the expert can speak directly to your policy language and claim situation.
Attorneys have built relationships with trusted expert witnesses that they’ve used for other cases just like yours. At Gore and Kuperman, we have a team of experts both on staff and as outside resources that we can bring forward for your case.
This way, you don’t have to go and find these experts yourself. Sometimes, expert witnesses can be called into question as to whether or not they are truly speaking from a place of expertise. That’s because the defense pays them for their time in the courtroom. That’s why having the right witnesses are important to your case and you don’t want to hire just anyone.
Out-of-court insurance coverage dispute negotiation
While it can be necessary to take your insurance coverage dispute to court, it’s better if you can negotiate with the insurance company. Court cases can be long and tedious. They might require more from you than you’d like to give it, including time and court appearances.
With mediation, your attorney can work with the insurance company to come to favorable terms. Mediation allows for negotiations between legal parties without the need for a judge. It allows you to work on your own timeline according to what you and the other party agree upon.
Keeping a case out of the courtroom means less attorney time and court fees for you to pay as well. At Gore and Kuperman, we structure a fee agreement that works for your budget and needs. We discuss fee structures at your free consultation so you know what to expect.
Knowing when to hire an attorney
The insured and the insurer can often negotiate insurance claims without issue. So how can you know when it’s time to seek legal assistance? Insurance coverage dispute cases are necessary when:
- The insurance company has stopped negotiating or responding to your inquiries.
- You feel as though the insurance company is aggressive or making you feel uncomfortable in your discussions.
- You question whether or not the insurance company’s offer is fair and want an outside opinion.
- There is clear evidence that the insurance company’s quote for reimbursement is too low for the damage you’ve incurred according to your policy.
If you’re experiencing any of these, you should contact Gore and Kuperman for a free consultation to discuss your case. We’ll provide you with unbiased and honest opinions on your case and help you understand what to expect. We’ve been in practice in Virginia for many years, and appreciate the opportunity to represent our neighbors.
Give us a call at 703-385-7399 to learn more and start working toward a resolution in your insurance coverage dispute.