If your business has faced a recent disaster and you are wondering how you will cover your expenses while temporarily closed, carefully check your business insurance policies. You may have coverage for business interruption, which could help cover your lost income and ongoing expenses while repairs are being made to your business. Business interruption coverage might also pay for temporary relocation costs in some cases.
Pursuing a claim under this coverage may seem very straightforward, but it can become complicated quickly. Many claims are denied for coverage, especially those involving COVID-19 claims. No matter whether your claim involves COVID-19 or something like a fire or flood, you can benefit from the expertise of a skilled business interruption insurance attorney.
Here are six reasons why you, as a business owner, should retain a business interruption insurance lawyer.
The Benefit of Their Legal Expertise
When you hire an attorney for your personal injury case, it’s because you need their legal expertise. The same should be true with a business interruption claim. This claims process is not something you deal with daily or have knowledge about. So, why not let someone who does deal with it help you. You maximize your chances of getting coverage approved when you work with an attorney who deals with claims like these as part of their regular practice.
Attorneys who work on business interruption claims typically keep up to date on significant changes and updates in certain areas of law, like contracts and insurance. This can be extremely beneficial to you when it comes to arguing coverage or the amount of compensation your insurer is offering. It’s especially important right now to choose an attorney monitoring legislative updates within the legal landscape involving COVID-19 denials.
Fight COVID-19 Denials
If your claim involves a COVID-19 related disaster, most insurers are denying these claims outright. Some insurance companies are pointing to policy language about no coverage for infectious diseases and viruses. Other insurers are saying COVID-19 claims don’t meet the definition of a disaster as there is no physical damage. You likely have no chance of getting your insurance company to change its mind on your own. You need an aggressive and skilled negotiator who won’t back down.
What happens with COVID-19 disaster claims remains to be seen. Some states are looking at possible legislative changes, while a federal law is also being considered. You want an attorney representing you who is monitoring all the legal activity related to COVID-19 business interruption insurance claims.
Attorneys have the expertise to exhaust all options related to possible coverage for COVID-19 claims. They may argue that there is physical damage to a business where an outbreak was traced back to and was subsequently shut down. A business owner may have to deal with remediation and deep cleaning or equipment replacement due to the possible surface contamination. If the business has to remain closed for weeks while this is happening, you need that business interruption coverage to kick in.
If your policy has coverage related to civil authority closures, your attorney might argue that coverage does apply because you were shut down by the government.
They Can Keep You from Saying the Wrong Thing to the Insurance Company
When you retain an attorney from the start, they can keep you from saying something you shouldn’t during your initial interviews with the insurance company. After reporting your claim, the assigned insurance adjuster will call you to ask more questions about your claim. What you say there can literally make or break your case.
Your attorney will be the one who speaks with the insurance company on your behalf. That keeps you from accidentally saying something during the interview that will lead the insurance company to deny your claim right away.
An Attorney Can Help You Gather Documentation to Maximize Your Case
If you get over the hurdle of coverage, you still have to provide evidence that supports your claim. To maximize your potential compensation, you must have proper documentation. This information can include:
- Three to five years of tax returns;
- Business description, including services and/or products offered;
- Payroll records for several years;
- Data supporting your sales for the last three to five years;
- Copy of your business plan;
- Monthly budgets;
- Forecast for the future business period;
- The depreciation schedule for the prior year;
- Monthly profit and loss statements including the current year, as well as the previous three to five years;
- Comparison of industry and geographical data; and
- Other expenses and extra costs.
Failure to provide the proper documentation can hurt your claim. Your attorney will help you put together everything that can maximize the value of your business interruption claim.
Lawyers Can Advance Costs for a Trial
If your insurer still doesn’t resolve your claim through negotiations, then you have two options. You will be forced to walk away with no compensation or proceed with litigation. Litigation can be pricey and time-consuming.
You will have court fees, expenses related to proving your case, and then there are expert costs. If your case requires that you bring in any type of expert, you would have to pay their fees upfront. This could be thousands of dollars before you ever get to trial.
Lawyers Know Defense Attorneys and the Courts
If your case is headed for trial, you want the benefit of an experienced trial attorney who knows the industry players. Lawyers who specialize in business interruption insurance claims likely already know most of the defense attorneys and the court staff where cases are heard.
It is important to have familiarity with how the defense attorneys work under pressure and how they come across in court. Knowing the judge where the case is being heard is also important. Your attorney will know how this judge typically rules on important issues and whether they tend to favor the plaintiff or defense counsel. They will use all this information to help build the best trial strategy for your case.
No matter whether your case can resolve in the early stages or it requires litigation, your best chance at getting compensation for your business is directly linked to retaining an experienced business interruption insurance lawyer. Visit this site for more information.
Josh Brown is a marketing expert in the legal industry. As a former editor in the health and fitness industry with a prolific body of work in various magazines from FLEX to event promotions with the Mr. Olympia Weekend, Josh now enjoys providing content in the law vertical. He currently resides in Atlanta, GA.