A proof of loss must be submitted before a lawsuit can be filed against an insurance company, Kelly said. The statute of limitations for filing a suit is also fast approaching, and with the six-month extension, the two deadlines may overlap, causing further confusion.
Kelly said that the statue of limitations for filing suit expires one year from the date of first denial by the insurance company — but that date can be difficult to determine. Some people received denial letters from their insurance companies, and can easily pinpoint that date. However, others who are contesting their settlements were never denied; they were just not satisfied with their insurance reimbursements.
For some, hiring a lawyer and going through legal proceeding may seem unappealing or intimidating, but, Kelly said, many of the insurance payments he has seen have been a third of what they should have been. If you need that money to rebuild, he said, filing suit may be the best option.
“I do understand people who have said, ‘I’ve got to move on,’” Kelly said. “This is psychologically and emotionally wrecking; I completely understand. But if you think you haven’t gotten paid enough, you should pursue this.”
Many lawyers, including Kelly, are taking Sandy insurance cases on contingency, meaning they receive no compensation unless they win. If they do win, however, they get one-third of the settlement.
Kelly said he is confident that he will make money for his clients on every claim. In many cases, he explained, he can argue in court that the insurance adjuster was not from the area, and was using software that estimated prices for another state, not for Long Island, where prices are far higher than most other areas of the country.
“We know we’re right,” he said.