How does the recent rise of COVID-19 infections effect my case?
While the first thought of COVID might bring up images of coughing, shortness of breath or other health-related symptoms, there is another symptom many are not aware of. That symptom is the delay to your legal affairs.
As you may know, before I began representing individuals in lawsuits, I used to represent insurance companies. You have probably heard the phrase “insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims.” This phrase couldn’t be more accurate. Don’t misunderstand, this phrase is not inherently negative. Afterall, most corporations and businesses are “for-profit” institutions. It makes sense that the more claims they pay, the less profitable they are. However, this is a fact that we, as policy holders, forget to keep in mind when we are dealing with insurance companies.
So, the question remains: How is the Insurance Company business model and the legal system related?
The answer is surprisingly simple: COVID-19 will help insurance companies deny numerous future claims. As we all know, hurricane season is here. Many outlets project large numbers of serious storms striking the continental United States later this year. New storms mean new disasters leading to new insurance claims. Now, keep in mind that there are still thousands of 2017 Hurricane Irma claims pending litigation. A large number of these claims include damage to homeowners’ roofs. Why is this important to know? Because insurance companies can use this previous disaster to relate any new hurricane damage to prior existing damages. This would lead to the denial and/or underpayment of numerous insurance claims.
Usually, the judicial system will not let a case get too old before trial or settlement is set. However, due to COVID-19, jury trials are unattainable for the foreseeable future due to the prevention of close-proximity contact that would be necessary to pick a jury. With the recent spikes in positive COVID testing, Florida is being forced to take a giant step backward, resulting in stringent and restrictive policies throughout numerous courthouses in Osceola, Orange and Miami-Dade counties. The inability to pick a jury is a distinct advantage for the insurance companies. The longer they can push these cases down the road, the more claims they can deny and the less money they will have to spend.
Despite these small defeats, there are ways to protect yourself. At JT Law Firm we have decided to protect our clients by ensuring that we do as much as humanly possible on their cases. We are able to ensure that our clients’ hearings are set and heard via Zoom or another electronic device. Additionally, virtual mediation and arbitration have been valuable tools in pushing cases towards favorable settlements at a much more rapid rate. With this approach we have given our clients the results they deserve.