So, your insurance company is playing games and they’re not paying you what you need to do your repairs. At this point, you’re probably thinking or considering hiring an attorney to help you. But you’re also wondering, “What does that entail? Why would I get an attorney involved?
What is that going to cost?
What are the pros and the cons of bringing in an attorney rather than trying to deal with the insurance company on my own?” In this Article, we’re gonna talk about the pros and the cons of hiring an attorney to help you with your property insurance claim. I don’t know about you, but I like to hear the bad before I hear the good. So, let’s start with the cons.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, what everybody’s thinking about. Attorney’s fees. Yes, attorneys charge fees to handle insurance claims for clients. Nobody works for free. Not you, certainly not attorneys. I know you’re concerned about an attorney coming in and eating up 50% of whatever the insurance company pays.
And then, you’re still left with not enough money to do repairs. That is a valid fear. But also think about this. At this point, the insurance company hasn’t done what they were supposed to do. They haven’t paid you when you need to do repairs. There may be ignoring you, brushing you off, delaying your claim, they have a bunch of tactics to make sure the money stays in their pocket instead of yours.
Now, you need somebody in your corner. You need somebody fighting on your behalf so you can actually get that money that you’re owed. Without this person fighting in your corner, without this attorney fighting on your behalf, it’s just you alone with the insurance company, which hasn’t worked out very well so far. So, I would say that hiring an attorney is worth it, whatever the fee.
In Florida, thankfully, there’s something called a statutory fee. Meaning, if we win in litigation, we can get the insurance company to pay our attorney’s fees. But honestly, whatever state you’re in, whatever the fee, hiring an attorney is worth it. A good attorney is worth their weight in gold because up till this point, you haven’t been paid properly by the insurance company.
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If a good attorney comes in, gets what you’re owed, you’re way better off than you were before you hired that attorney. You wouldn’t have gotten that money without the attorney doing what they need to do. Like I said before, nobody works for free; not you, not attorneys. And I would caution to be wary of an attorney who says they will decrease their fee if you sign up with them versus another attorney.
Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. If you hire an attorney that doesn’t practice a specific area of law or that decreases their fee just to get you to sign with them, I would be cautious because that attorney may not know what they’re doing. They may be just be inexperienced. They may not have enough business coming to the door and you’re their last resort.
Whatever the reason, that’s not the attorney you want. An attorney with good experience and reputation in this practice area will take you on at their normal fee. But rest assured, great attorneys in this practice area will still get you what you need to do your repairs. That person with that reputation and that expertise is much more likely to refuse to discount their fee, but deliver better results in the end.
So, the first con of having an attorney represent you in your insurance claim is fees. It’s also a pro because the attorney only gets paid if you get paid. Your attorney is just as invested and interested in resolving the case so they can get paid and you can get your money to do repairs. The second con of having an attorney represent you in your insurance claim is time.
Insurance claims take time
Litigation takes even more time. That’s just the nature of our court system. There are certain timelines, deadlines, and rules that sometimes make the litigation process drag out a bit. These rules also work in your favor because it’s allowing not only the insurance company, but you, time to gather information from the other side, from your experts, from yourselves so you can build the case against the insurance company showing why your claim should be covered and for how much.
In Florida, the insurance company has 90 days to decide whether they’re paying or denying your claim. So, best case, it will take a few months to resolve your insurance claim and that’s just right from the outset.
And you find yourself in a situation where the insurance company’s already denied, or underpaid, or has just completely delaying your claim, it’s going to take longer.
If it goes to litigation route, it’s going to take several months in litigation up to a year, sometimes more to get that set for trial and heard by a jury, though most cases don’t really make it that far.
This is just how our system works. It takes time to resolve a claim. There’s a lot of details, a lot of moving parts, a lot of people involved. So, it’s kind of unavoidable. But at the end of the day, if you have a great attorney with experience, they will know how to move the case along quickly.
This goes back to what I was saying before about the fact that a great attorney is worth their weight in gold. It is worth it to go with the best attorney you can find, best reputation, experience, because that’s gonna move your case along quicker in the litigation process, in the claims process that’ll shorten up the time period. So, those are the bad before the good.
The cons on hiring an insurance attorney to handle your insurance claim, are fees, which really is not that big of a deal considering if you get a great attorney, they’ll still be able to recover a maximum amount for you; and time, which is just unavoidable considering the rules, and procedures, and processes that we have in the claims process and the litigation. Now, let’s talk about the pros.
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The pros of hiring a great attorney to represent you in your insurance claim. Number one, and probably one that nobody ever thinks about is commanding attention. As a property owner, as a lay person, meaning not an attorney, you don’t really know much about the insurance process.
You maybe know that you have a policy and how to report a claim, but there’s a lot that goes into insurance claims. That policy you have is 50 or 100 pages long and it details a lot about the claim’s process that you may not know, but that an attorney is going to know offhand.
The insurance company, of course, knows everything that’s in the policies. They have things in their policies that benefit them, certain things you have to do that you may not know about, certain caveats and exclusions that they try to hide so that you think something’s covered when it’s not or you think something’s beneficial for you when it’s not.
But the main point is the insurance company can push you around. They can delay things. There are certain timelines that the insurance company has to abide by, but there’s no real consequence for their failure to meet these deadlines and to communicate with you properly.
That’s where an attorney comes in. An attorney knows the rules. Beyond this expertise, they can command attention from the insurance company. So, while you’re following up with the adjuster, you’re making calls, you’re sending emails, you’re getting no response, an attorney can come in and get a much quicker response.
Believe me when I say that an attorney can command attention better than just the insurer. Because, again, the attorney knows the rules. The attorney knows how this claim works. The attorney can call the adjuster and say, “Hey, you did X, Y, and Z wrong.
We didn’t get a response by this date. You’re screwing this, and this, and this up.” And you better believe that that adjuster’s gonna perk up and say, “Ooh, okay, somebody else is on the other side now that knows what’s going on.
I better step my game up or we’re gonna end up in a lawsuit on our hands.” And in Florida, the insurance company will especially pay attention when there’s an attorney involved, because attorney means possible litigation means, like I said before, the insurance company may be responsible for paying attorney’s fees not only to their attorneys, but to your attorney as well.
So, number one pro, I think, is that the attorney can command attention from the insurance company better than just a homeowner on their own would.
The second pro to hiring an attorney to help you with your insurance claim is expertise. Like I’ve been saying since the beginning of this Article, the insurance company tries to take advantage of property owners that don’t know what’s in their policy, don’t understand the laws that apply.
But an attorney does. An attorney in this practice area, with a good reputation, good experience is going to know what’s required. They’re gonna know when the insurance company asks for A, B, and C document, they can say, “Well, you’re not really entitled to C.
So, we’re not gonna give you that because C might’ve been detrimental to your claim.”
Do you see how this kind of works?
Having somebody with the deep knowledge and understanding of how the insurance process works, how the claims process works, what is needed, what’s not needed, what can damage your claim, and what can benefit your claim.
Having somebody like that in your corner can make all the difference to whether the insurance company is denying and delaying your claim or paying and closing your claim. The third pro for hiring an attorney to help you with an insurance claim is preparation.
This goes hand in hand with experience. So, if you hire an attorney who knows what they’re doing, knows how to prepare the claim, get the information that we need to move forward to get the insurance company to pay your claim, well, that is perfectly preparing the claim.
Sometimes, if you wait too long to bring on an attorney for your claim, things may have already happened in the past, things that may have been said, documents may have been exchanged that are not so great for the claim and it’s kind of harder to fix those issues down the line versus if you have an attorney early on.
They’ll be able to nip that right in the bud, stop the insurance company in its tracks from doing something it shouldn’t be doing, and prepare the claim later on if you potentially go to the
you are adjusting the claim to put it in the light most favorable to you as the property owner so that the claim gets covered and paid. The fourth pro in hiring an attorney to help you with their insurance claim is outcome.
What is the outcome that you want for this claim?
To get paid! You want the insurance company to cover and pay your claim. Like I mentioned before, especially in Florida, the attorney only gets paid if you get paid. Usually, these cases are taken on a contingency fee basis.
Meaning, there’s either a percentage or a statutory fee in Florida where the attorney only gets paid if you get paid. If you don’t get paid, the attorney doesn’t get paid for all the work that they put in to the case.
So, the attorney also has an interest in getting the claim covered and paid because they wanna be paid. So, you can bet that that attorney will put all of the work possible into this claim to get it paid. It’s in your interest to get it paid.
So, the attorney will be focused on that outcome, the outcome is really a combination of the other three pros we talked about: commanding attention, expertise, and preparation.
Those three things combined should lead to the outcome that you want, which is to get paid and compensated for your insurance claim.
Premier Property Law in Florida helps Florida homeowners and Florida property owners get paid for their insurance claims.