How To Prepare For Insurance Litigation As A Client

Insurance litigation can feel intimidating. The insurance company has significant resources, and it's likely confident in its case if you and the insurer have reached the point of litigation. A critical part of the process is being prepared, and an insurance litigation attorney will want you to do these four things before you move ahead.

Collecting and Copying Claims Paperwork

The vast majority of insurance litigation cases boil down to who can document which items. Foremost, the court will want to know the history of the case up to the point it became a problem for the consideration of a judge. You need to be able to document the entire claims process, and this includes providing copies of the paperwork accompanying your claim.

Likewise, you should try to provide a meta-view of the case in a handful of notes. When did you file the case? What were your core claims of damages? Why did you believe you deserved payment of the claim? How did the insurance company respond in terms of rejection or acceptance with too low of an offer?

Responses from the Insurance Provider

You will also want all paperwork the insurer sent you. Any letters attesting to rejection or settlement offers are very important because this will show the judge how much effort you've put into the claim. You want the judge to see that you've made a good-faith effort to exhaust all remedies before asking the court to intervene.

Policy Documentation

The insurance policy is often as important to the litigation process as the claim. An insurance litigation attorney has to form an argument for why the insurer was wrong and the court should compel a different course of action. One of the simplest arguments is to say the insurer isn't living up to its contractual agreement based on the policy's terms.

Keep the original policy documents in as clean of condition as possible. If you need to highlight key provisions, make copies and use your highlighter on those pages. You want the originals in good shape because the signatures document the insurer's agreement to a contractual relationship.

Establishing Initial Arguments

The judge will schedule a hearing to determine if the case is valid and should proceed at this time. The goal at this stage is usually to establish a strong enough initial argument the court will allow the suit to proceed. Your lawyer may also move for summary judgment in the hope of solving the issue immediately. Most likely, the judge will review the case and decide whether to let it go forward, put it on hold and order further negotiations, or dismiss it. 

For more information, contact a firm like Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP.

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