Fighting an insurance company over a refused claim is a difficult proposition. Most insurance companies employ a team of lawyers who do nothing but fight these kinds of battles. Furthermore, insurance companies have financial resources far beyond that of the clients who file lawsuits. However, because paying out a settlement is often less expensive than going to court, you may be able to come out with a paid claim. Whether you win or lose your lawsuit, be prepared for a long, drawn-out and expensive process.
Carefully review your policy contract and the documents justifying why the company denied your claim. If, after reviewing, you feel the company may be legally correct, consider dropping the claim and cutting your losses. Legally correct is different from morally right, but you risk losing more money if you continue.
Gather supporting documentation for your suit. This will include proof of your financial losses, any information that supports your side of the argument and copies of all communications between you and the company about the matter.
Find a lawyer, preferably one who specializes in insurance claims. Only hire a lawyer willing to take the case on contingency — that is, a lawyer who is paid only a percentage on any judgment he wins for you. If you can't find a contingency lawyer willing to take on your case, this may be another sign to abandon the effort. It means none of the lawyers you spoke with think they can win or even get a favorable settlement.
File your lawsuit and all accompanying paperwork. Your lawyer will handle most of this for you, but you should be prepared to sign documents and provide your lawyer with copies of various documents.
Maintain realistic expectations. The timeline, and the demands on your time and energy, of a lawsuit are greater than you will initially expect. Trust the process and your lawyer, and be ready to make court appearances and attend meetings during business hours.
Consider seriously any out-of-court settlement the insurance company offers. Although the amount may not be as much as you feel you deserve, a settlement will often be less expensive than your final costs in time and energy if you go to court.
Jake Wayne has written professionally for more than 12 years, including assignments in business writing, national magazines and book-length projects. He has a psychology degree from the University of Oregon and black belts in three martial arts.