Time is of the Essence: COVID-19 Business Interruption Claim Deadlines Approaching
It has been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began and drastically changed the world and the way society functions.
This date is doubly important for business owners and policyholders who may not be aware that the deadline for filing a COVID-19 business interruption insurance claim is fast approaching. Depending on the specifics of your insurance policy, your contractual limitations period may have been as short as one year from the date you first suffered a financial loss — which means your deadline may be fast approaching — or already passed.
Our McAllen bad faith insurance lawyers at Millin & Millin want to provide you with insight on policy deadlines and what options you may have if you already missed it.
Here’s What to Do Right Now
The first step business owners should take is to review their insurance policies and determine if a deadline exists. Business interruption and civil authority COVID-19 claims typically have suit limitation clauses that cap the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against your insurer. These time limits usually last for one or two years.
It’s important to note that state laws vary on how insurance suit limitation clauses are treated. In some states, there are specific laws that essentially override these limitations, providing you with extra time to file a claim. On the other hand, some states strictly enforce suite limitation clauses.
In Texas, one factor that may affect your insurance policy is a force majeure or act of God clause. This factor essentially states that one or both parties may not have to perform specific obligations under a contract under certain circumstances. Your policy may have language that specifies pandemics or may include catch-all language.
If after reviewing your policy, you are still unsure if a deadline exists, you should reach out to your insurance provider and ask them to confirm any limitations in writing.
If you do have a deadline approaching, you’ll want to either file the suit immediately against your carrier, or request an extension. Make sure to get any extension agreement in writing and properly confirmed.
Determining Suit Limitation Periods
Knowing when the clock began is another important facet to determine, and doing so without the guidance of an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer can be quite a challenge. State laws usually determine when the suit limitation period began.
In some instances, the clock begins from when your provider first denies your claim. In other states, the period begins as soon as the financial loss occurs and can come to a close even if you are already in negotiations with your insurance provider. It’s vital to speak with a lawyer to ensure this isn’t the case and you don’t miss your opportunity to file a claim within the legal timeframe.
Unfortunately, there are many complexities to consider when filing a COVID-19 business interruption insurance claim. Factors such as the first positive case in the region, proof of community spread, and civil authority sanctions can all affect determining suit limitation periods.
Because of this, it is always in your best interest to be cautious when calculating a deadline, and always assume you have less time to file a suit.
Potential Options if You Missed a Deadline
If you have missed your deadline to file a suit against your insurance provider, your first step is to determine if there are statutes in place that extend the limitation. Our McAllen bad faith insurance lawyers can help you review all potential statutes and laws to uncover if any potential opportunities to still file a suit are beyond the time limitation.
You may also be able to argue that your provider waived its right to assert the limitations clause.
If these aren’t viable options, you may still be able to file a bad faith claim if it can be determined that your insurer failed to legally handle your claim as it should have.
Millin & Millin: Fighting for Your COVID-19 Business Interruption Claim
As we progress further into 2021, it’s essential that you uncover any limitation deadlines that can negatively affect your business. Unfortunately, the pandemic has still not been fully controlled, and business all across the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and the rest of the nation are still facing an uphill battle.
The support you receive from a business interruption claim can make all the difference in the world for your business, your finances, your family, and the livelihood of others.
That’s why you should reach out to Millin & Millin, PLLC, now!