Property Damage

JT Law Firm protects Florida homeowners from insurance companies’ intimidation tactics

Insurance companies often use scare tactics to force homeowners to settle cases for less than what they deserve. One such tactic is to exploit an irrelevant Florida Statute where a homeowner, under certain conditions would be forced to pay the insurance company’s legal expenses, which commonly exceeds six figures or more at the conclusion of trial. This is what is commonly referred to as a proposal for settlement under Florida Statute §768.79. Florida Courts have long upheld the ability of an insurance carrier to use a proposal for settlement despite the clear legislative intent to provide a one-way fee statute for homeowners to be reimbursed their fees and costs for having to resort to litigation to enforce an insurance policy.

Josh Brownlee from JT Law Firm stopped an insurance company's intimidation tactics

In a ground breaking decision Attorney Joshua Brownlee successfully obtained an order deeming the use of a proposal for settlement now “Invalid” in a suit arising under a property insurance policy.  

What did JT Law Firm do?

Josh Brownlee of JT LAW FIRM successfully argued in front of a Florida Court that based on recent pro-insurance legislation insurance companies could no longer serve Florida homeowners with “Proposal for Settlements.” As a result of Mr. Brownlee’s argument and motion the Court agreed and struck the “PFS.”

What is a proposal for settlement? 

A proposal for settlement is a tool under Florida Statue 768.69 that allows a party to be reimbursed their attorney fees and costs if the receiving party declines the offer and does not obtain at least 75% of the offer in a final judgment. In short, if the receiving party losses at trial, they have to pay the offering party’s attorney fees and costs. It works as a “Sanction” against the party for not accepting what the legislature deemed a reasonable settlement offer. Insurance companies can utilize a PFS by making an offer to settle the case for much lower than the actual costs of the case. You read that right, the homeowner has to pay the multi-million dollar company’s attorneys fees because a homeowner disagreed with the carriers coverage decision

How are insurance companies intimidating homeowners with a Proposal for settlement?

The average homeowner cannot afford to cover legal expenses for an insurance company that can typically rack up six figures in attorney fees alone.  Thus, the insurance companies use this statute to force homeowners to take much lower settlements then they would be entitled to if they were able to bring their case in front of a jury.

Despite having an insurance policy in good standing, which on paper offers homeowners financial protection from high costs associated with costly repairs, homeowners are often put in situations where they are intimidated into accepting minimal compensation for their claims. When this happens, homeowners must go out of pocket for any costs outside their settlement amount with the insurance company. 

Based on JT Law Firm’s experience, 99% of insurance carriers proposals for settlement are between $250.00 and $500.00. This is supposed to be what the legislature intended as a “Good Faith Offer to Settle”.  So, think about that for a moment, despite the size of your claim, if you don’t accept the “very generous” offer of $250.00 to go away and the homeowner losses at trial, the insured will be liable for paying the insurance companies legal fees. It’s without question a scare tactic improperly utilized by insurance companies and has been enforced by our Florida Courts for too long!

Here’s what Attorney Joshua Brownlee says about this major win against a large insurance company. 

“My clients insurance carrier issued a proposal for settlement offering $250.00 inclusive of all fees and costs incurred to date to go away despite the claim being in excess of $30,000.00 worth of damage. I was able to argue successfully that a proposal for settlement is invalid given the long-standing history and legislative intent that has made clear insurance carriers are not afforded the right to collect attorney fees and costs from our Florida homeowners regardless of who wins at trial. The plain language in the operative statute does not permit insurance carriers the ability collect attorney fees and the utilization of a proposal for settlement is in clear conflict with the applicable law.” The Court agreed!

“Our client is now protected from any liability of having to pay her insurance carrier’s attorney fees despite the outcome of a trial which was always the legislative intent.”

Insurance companies are not on your side. They will do what they can to increase their profit while minimizing their financial commitment to you. 

In a previous article, we discussed how insurance companies are trying to villainize homeowners and attorneys.  Most of the time, litigation is the only option. Litigation could be completely avoided if the insurance companies would simply honor valid claims.

Why can’t insurance companies acknowledge these facts and have the decency to honor valid claims from the beginning without having to go to court? The reason seems obvious. Every time a homeowner accepts a proposal for settlement rather than risk the liability of a six figure judgment, the insurance company reduces its financial liability to that homeowner. It seems like insurance companies want to drag out claims as long as they can with the hopes of underpaying or denying as many claims as possible. 

If you have a valid claim, JT Law Firm will fight with all its resources to give you the compensation you deserve. 

Our team is available to take on your case and to aggressively fight on your behalf. There is no cost or fee to hire us. 

Schedule your complimentary discovery call today. Call us at 855-585-2997.

If you are a law firm and would like to hire JT Law Firm to argue this motion for your firm reach out to us

If you are a law firm and would like to hire JT Law Firm to argue this motion for your firm reach out to us

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