COVID Insurance Disputes
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for millions around the world. The virus has not only caused illness, but it has also resulted in government-mandated closures of numerous businesses. Manufacturing facilities, gyms, hair salons, retail establishments and restaurants have been particularly hard hit. For business owners, this likely means a decrease or temporary end to sales and revenue. Some may be able to go a few weeks or months without income, but others may be facing permanent closure as a result.
During times like these, business owners should take a moment to locate and review their business insurance policies. These policies often include coverage for:
- Physical damage and loss
- Business interruption
- Lost or suspended business income
- Loss of use
- Injury to tangible property
Coverage Can Vary
Actual coverage will vary for each business depending on the policy and the policy language. Additionally, each policy will have various coverage restrictions, many of which depend heavily on the precise wording of the policy. For example, a policy that covers risk of "direct physical loss or damage" may be interpreted differently than a policy that omits the word "direct".
Each policy is different, and the various definitions and exclusions can make it difficult for restaurant and business owners to determine whether they are covered for losses sustained as a result of COVID-19. Depending on the policy language, business owners who are considering filing a claim may need to gather and submit various documentation such as:
- Records pertaining to any employee, customer or other individual with access to the premises who has tested positive from COVID-19
- Information about nearby properties that have been accessed by individuals with COVID-19
- Proof of Loss
- Net and gross revenue records
- Change in hours and days of operation
- Timeline of events
- Expense documentation
- Staffing changes
Small Firm. National Experience. Proven Results.
Paynter Law has experience fighting insurance companies, having successfully litigated against them not only in individual suits, but in nationwide class-action litigation.
After the 2008 financial crisis, hundreds of thousands of Americans were defrauded into paying millions of dollars in fees to dubious "debt settlement" scams. These companies promised to settle consumers' debts for "pennies on the dollar" but often ended up taking up-front fees and delivering nothing in return.
In the Meracord/NoteWorld litigation, we brought multiple class-action lawsuits against a major player in the debt settlement industry on behalf of defrauded consumers. A federal judge in Washington certified the class and awarded $1.45 billion in damages against Meracord. Unfortunately, by that point, the company had already gone out of business.
But where others might have given up, we got creative. We brought a class-action lawsuit against the insurance company that had issued the surety bonds backing Meracord's business licenses. (As far as we could tell, no one had ever brought a class action against licensing bonds - our lawsuit was the first of its kind.) After continually insisting that their surety bonds did not cover the claims of consumers we represented, the insurance companies ultimately ended up paying out over $15,000,000 - representing nearly 90% of their maximum total exposure on the bonds. After approving the final settlement, the federal judge presiding over the case noted that "plaintiffs' counsel, through great persistence and just plain hard work for the class members, achieved what can only be regarded as an extraordinarily good result."
Before Filing a Claim
Before filing a claim, business owners should consult an insurance disputes attorney to have their business policy reviewed for things like coverage, exclusions, and claim submission requirements.
At Paynter Law, we're providing restaurant and business owners with a free business insurance policy review.
We help you identify potential coverage and provide you with guidance on what to expect when filing a claim. If you decide to retain an attorney to assist with filing a claim, we can help. We work on a contingency fee basis which means you wouldn't pay anything until we have successfully recovered for you. If you have already filed a claim and your claim is still being processed or has been denied, we are available to litigate your claim on a contingency fee basis as well.
Consulting an attorney before filing your claim can ensure that you have the best chance at recovering under your insurance policy.
At Paynter Law, we help:
- Provide a free preview of your business insurance policy
- Identify available coverage under your existing business insurance policy
- Identify and review any policy restrictions and exclusions
- Clarify complexities in insurance code and case law
- Insist insurance adjusters review claims in a timely manner
- Help protect your ability to recover if litigation becomes necessary
- Litigate your claim if it is denied by the insurance company
During these uncertain times when so many business and restaurants have been forced to close, we're here and we'll walk with you through the claims process.
If you have questions about your business insurance policy, your coverage, how to file your COVID claim, or have already had your claim denied, then contact Paynter Law today at (844) 472-9683 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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