Dallas Business Interruption Lawyers
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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives all around the world. In the United States, business owners have been hit particularly hard as they have been unable to operate businesses due to the numerous health concerns of doing so. In these trying times, business owners have been filing claims with their insurance company for some relief. Unfortunately, some insurance companies are refusing to provide compensation even though these business owners have a legitimate business interruption claim.
If you or your loved one is a business owner and has filed a business interruption claim with your insurance company, but are having trouble processing the claim, you may wish to speak to a lawyer. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Dallas business interruption lawyers.
COVID-19 BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIMS IN DALLAS
COVID-19 has presented unique challenges to thousands of businesses across the nation. Interruptions in supply chains, government health regulations, and many other obstacles arising from COVID-19 have prevented businesses from operating as usual. As a result, businesses are seeking relief from their insurance company.
In general, businesses procure business interruption insurance policies to protect themselves from lost income due to a catastrophic event. Though business interruption insurance claims filed for physical damages due to natural disasters, like hurricanes, are generally fulfilled without too many issues, claims for relief due to COVID-19 have been much more problematic.
In Dallas, as in many other cities in the United States, some insurance companies are refusing to cover business losses due to COVID-19. This is because most business interruption insurance policies do not contemplate pandemics like COVID-19. However, just because your insurance policy does not specifically mention pandemics, you should check to see if your policy nevertheless covers for losses due to something similar to pandemics. Furthermore, even if you do not have a policy that is specifically called “business interruption policy,” you should look to see whether you are covered by another type of insurance policy. Specifically, look to see if your insurance policy provides coverage for losses due to actions by government officials or interruptions of your supply chain. In addition, you may have a business interruption policy as part of an overall policy. For instance, Special Multi-Peril or Business Owners policy often include business interruption coverage.
WHAT IS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE?
Business interruption insurance (BII) is a specific type of insurance policy that compensates a business’s losses due to a disaster or emergency. You can buy BII to add onto an existing policy or buy it as a comprehensive policy. Generally, a business interruption policy will cover losses that are incurred from the start of the event that halts a business’s operations to when the business recovers.
BII policies often cover the following:
Lost revenue is the revenue that the business would have earned had the disaster not occurred.
When a business is unable to proceed with its operations, employees are at risk of termination. Business interruption insurance can provide compensation to business owners so that they can pay their employees.
Though a business may be unable to operate due to a natural disaster, it is not exempt from paying taxes. Therefore, BII also covers owed taxes so that business can avoid penalties.
Fixed costs are costs that businesses incur on a daily basis. For instance, if your business has to hire a delivery truck as a part of your daily business, you may be covered through BII.
Like taxes, you are not exempt from paying off your loans just because your business has halted.
Training or Equipment
After a disaster, businesses often have to get new equipment and new employees to build their business back up.
BII may also cover for your expenses incurred due to relocating your business temporarily to another location.
FILING A CLAIM FOR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION COVERAGE
1. Immediately After the Disaster, Contact Your Insurance Company
When disaster strikes, the sooner you file a claim with your insurance company, the better. Insurance companies are known for denying claims that are filed late.
2. Mitigate Any Damages to the Extent Possible
Though you may not be responsible for a disaster that occurs to your business, you are generally responsible for preventing further damage to your business if it is within your power. For instance, let us say that after a tornado destroys a large part of your business’s property, you find out that a small but easily extinguishable fire has started on another part of your business’s property. If you knowingly decide not to extinguish the fire and let your business suffer even more damage, then your insurance company may deny some portion of your claim.
3. Gather Evidence of the Damage and Records Relating to Your Business
Whenever you file an insurance claim, you need to have evidence supporting your claim. After all, an insurance company is not going to simply pay you a certain amount simply because you ask for it. Therefore, take extensive photographs and gather any other documentation necessary to show the damage to your property.
Furthermore, you will also need to gather information regarding your business’s finances to provide to the insurer. This includes the costs of operating your business, salaries, etc. You will also want to figure out your so-called business income. Insurers may define business income as either net income or likely net income.
Business income may be calculated as the net income of the business before the direct physical damage or loss occurred, or as the likely net income of the business if no physical loss or damage had occurred. Likely net income does not include any net income that would likely have been earned as a result of an increase in the volume of business due to the impact of the “cause of loss” on customers or other businesses. In other words, if your business would have experienced an increase in business volume due to the loss-inducing event had your business not been affected at all by the event, you may not include the hypothetical revenue from such an increase when you are calculating your likely net income.
4. Don’t Panic If Your Claim Gets Denied, File a Business Interruption Claim Denial Lawsuit
Just because your insurance company initially denies your claim, all hope is not lost. You can still file a business interruption claim denial lawsuit. What you would be arguing in such a lawsuit is that the insurance company improperly denied you compensation. Essentially, it gives you another chance to fight for the compensation you deserve. We recommend that you contact an experienced lawyer if you decide to file a business interruption claim denial lawsuit.
Learn More: Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers in Dallas
DO I NEED A LAWYER TO FILE A BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIM?
Hiring an experienced lawyer can be extremely helpful if you decide to file a business interruption claim. Insurance companies are going to try every trick in the book to deny you as much compensation as possible. Furthermore, you may wish to hire a lawyer if your business interruption claim is related to COVID-19. Because BII policies generally require that there be physical loss or damage to property, insurance companies may use that requirement as an excuse to deny you coverage. However, because COVID-19 is such a unique circumstance, there may be a way to receive compensation despite this requirement. A business interruption lawyer in Dallas may be able to help you find out your options.
HOW ZINDA LAW GROUP HANDLES FIRST-PARTY INSURANCE DISPUTES
First-party insurance disputes are disputes between the policyholder and the insurance company. Disputes arise because the insurance company often pays less than what the policyholder believes is owed to him or her under the insurance policy. There are, of course, other ways disputes arise. Below is a list of how insurance companies can:
- Denying or delaying compensation
- Not addressing a policyholder’s claim
- Failing to inform the policyholder of an appeals process
- Failing to provide an explanation for denying a claim
- Requiring excessive or unnecessary documentation from the policyholder
Zinda Law Group may help you fight against these unethical behaviors and help you build a strong claim with the necessary evidence so that your insurance company fairly evaluates your claim.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
ZINDA LAW GROUP’S DALLAS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION ATTORNEYS MAY HELP YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS
Trying to go against an insurance company alone can be daunting. Lawyers at Zinda Law Group have handled cases dealing with insurance companies trying to deny valid claims made by policyholders. Remember that Zinda Law Group operates on a no win no fee basis. This means that if we do not win your case, you pay us nothing.
If you or your loved one is a business owner and has filed a business interruption claim with your insurance company but have trouble processing the claim, you may wish to speak to a lawyer. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.
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