The Burden of Proof in an Insurance Claim

Should an insurance claim go to court, there is a strict process and shifting burden of proof when damage comes to your property. Whether dealing with a questionable cause to damage or if an exclusion prevents you from making a claim, the court takes a different approach that is necessary to understand when building your case.

While an insurance company policy often means to people a specific protection that seems simple enough, this is not the case. It is in fact the responsibility of the insured to prove whether or not a policy affords coverage for an incident. This burden of proof is heavily relied upon by insurance companies because, if it is not met, the insured is left out in the cold, regardless of how expensive premiums were or how confident they were in the the policy’s protection.

With this basis of a burden of proof on the insured to demonstrate the damage incurred is covered by their policy, this is not the case for policy exclusions. In regards to exclusions, it is the insurance company’s burden to prove that the exclusion is applicable to the incident in question.

Here is an example of how these burdens can play out:
A homeowner in Lafayette has windstorm protection. A heavy storm rolls through and a tree branch knocks in the roof. As the storm rages, the kitchen begins to fill with water. In the aftermath, the insurance company refuses to pay for the water stains and various other rain-based damages that come from the storm. The burden of law falls upon the homeowner to prove, through expert testimony and a fact pattern, that the tree branch was knocked down by the wind and that the water damage would have never occurred had the wind not damaged the tree and so on. However, if the insurance company maintained an exclusion that they would not insure tree damage from branches that hang within 5 feet of the home, it would be their responsibility to prove that the tree was, in fact, within the prevented distance.

As you can imagine, it is essential to have the best legal team possible to meet the burden of proof or disprove that of the insurance company’s.

If your claim is being refused by the insurance company, contact the Berniard Law Firm. Providing the best experts in construction and diagnosing the cause of damages, our law firm is fully capable of meeting your litigation needs. Call the Berniard Law Firm at (504) 527-6225 or Toll-Free at 1-866-574-8005 and an attorney specializing in storm damage will be more than happy to help you get the financial support your policy promises.

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