Fort Lauderdale Business Interruption Claims Lawyers
Broward and Palm Beach County Attorneys Help Businesses File Interruption Claims for Losses Caused by COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping across South Florida, the U.S., and the entire world has caused business and entire economic sectors to completely shut down in an effort to facilitate social distancing and slow the spread of coronavirus. Unfortunately, public health officials cannot yet predict how long this shutdown will last or what public health measures will still need to be in place once the current full lockdown begins to be lifted. As a result, business owners across Broward and Palm Beach counties are experiencing drastic interruptions to their operations with no way of knowing when those operations may resume.
Fortunately, some business owners may be covered by business interruption coverage under their property and liability policies. Business interruption insurance can provide payments to businesses to help with the costs incurred in halting operations. However, many business owners with business interruption coverage are finding their claims denied during the COVID-19 outbreak, with insurers claiming that pandemics or public health disasters do not fall within the scope of coverage.
If you are a business owner in Broward or Palm Beach County whose business has been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and you are having difficulty having your business interruption claim accepted by your insurer, contact Lawlor, White & Murphey today to speak to our attorneys about your legal rights and options.
Basics of Business Interruption Insurance in South Florida
Business interruption coverage is intended to cover costs associated with lost business income. Some of the categories of “lost income” that might be covered under a business interruption policy include:
- Fixed costs
- Temporary location, if you must relocate your business
- Commission and training costs, to replace machinery or retrain new employees
- Government orders, if the government mandates hours or occupancy restrictions that cause you to suffer lost profits
- Employee wages, including insurance and other fringe benefits
- Loan payments that are due while your business is not operating
Your policy may also cover other expenses beyond the fixed costs of operating your business. It is important that you carefully read your business interruption policy, in conjunction with an attorney, to understand what income or costs your policy will cover.
How Business Interruption Coverage Can and Cannot Help Businesses Disrupted by COVID-19
Business interruption coverage is typically part of a business’s larger property and liability policies. Business owners may try to make a claim under their property coverage, especially if their physical location must be shut down due to contamination by an employee or customer infected with coronavirus who comes into the business premises. Although there is an argument to be made that a coronavirus contamination constitutes non-structural property damage, the business owner may only be compensated for the costs of sterilizing the premises to repair such “damage”.
Otherwise, a business may need to look to their business interruption coverage for other monetary losses suffered due to a coronavirus contamination or due to the current shutdown due to the pandemic. Some business interruption policies do expressly provide coverage for losses caused by disease, while other policies expressly exclude such coverage. Other policies may provide coverage for diseases caused by bacteria but not viruses. Other policies may be entirely ambiguous as to whether disease or pandemic falls within the scope of coverage.
Finally, business owners may want to ensure that they are meeting their obligations under their policy language and under insurance law to mitigate their losses. Some business interruption policies do provide compensation for loss mitigation efforts or even require a business to undertake reasonable loss mitigation efforts to access coverage. As a result, a business that can stay open during shutdowns as an “essential” service may be required to do so under their policies, if state and federal health guidelines can be followed.
South Florida Business Interruption Claims Attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey Help Companies Secure Critical Coverage during the COVID-19 Crisis
If you are a South Florida business owner having trouble accessing coverage under your business interruption policy, the attorneys of Lawlor, White & Murphey are ready to help you secure the coverage your business badly needs at this time. Our aggressive, experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to effectively advocate that you are entitled to coverage under your policy. Even when your right to coverage is not at issue but the amount of compensation is, we can vigorously negotiate with the insurance adjusters to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible under your policy and the circumstances of your case.
Contact Lawlor, White & Murphey Today to Speak with Our South Florida Business Interruption Claims Lawyers
If your business has shut down or is suffering interruptions due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and you are having difficulties getting benefits through your business interruption insurance policy, contact the experienced attorneys of Lawlor, White & Murphey today to schedule a consultation to go over the details of your claim and to discuss your rights and options for getting the compensation and benefits you may be entitled to under your business interruption policy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Business Interruption Claims in South Florida
If your business interruption claim is denied by your insurer, you should contact an experienced business interruption claims attorney. An attorney can review your insurer’s denial documentation to help you understand why your claim was denied. An attorney can also help you prepare an appeal letter and provide additional information to address the insurer’s reasons for denying your claim. If necessary, an attorney can help you prepare and file a lawsuit to seek the business interruption coverage you believe you are entitled to under your policy.
Most insurance companies rely on a formula to calculate business interruption losses. One of the more commonly-used formulas multiplies a claimant’s total shutdown time by the quantity of goods or services regularly produced by the value of all units of production. Of course, an insurance adjuster may calculate different values for these figures than you may have calculated yourself, so it is important that you have an experienced attorney who can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible.