Hiring a Qualified Property Damage Insurance Claim Attorney

“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” — Abraham Lincoln

This phrase remains as applicable today as it was 200 years ago when said. Mostly attributable to Abraham Lincoln, the above quote may have had earlier origins. In the context of our famous President, who was also a lawyer, he means that a lawyer should not represent himself or herself in court. The overriding principle is the loss of objectivity, the inability to see both sides of the equation, and, worse, to be consumed with punishing a perceived wrong.

However, the above quote also has universal application. Stated alone, you are taken more seriously when qualified people speak for you. Fundamentally, it relates a perception that you have other people on your side, which is important because it often feels like a David v. Goliath situation. Also, it sends a message that you are willing to take this matter further if needed.
In litigation, a qualified attorney is a necessity. Your chances of being taken seriously without are slim to none. Interview as many as possible and retain the one who has the factual and legal capacity to understand the claim, has the resources and time to do so, and most importantly, cares about you as a client.
While the right to represent oneself is provided for in both civil and criminal proceedings, legal matters can be complex and quite the challenge for someone with no formal education or training in the law. We are all human and humans have emotions. Emotions can cloud even the best of judgment, especially when you are talking about things of financial nature. When personally invested, emotions combined with the complexities of the situation make it obvious that professional help is necessary.
Another layer to personal representation to consider is, whether you’re hiring a property damage attorney or a licensed public adjuster, the experts are an important piece of the puzzle. For litigation purposes, anything outside of “common knowledge” requires the hiring of an expert. Specialists and/or experts have one thing certain in common, years of education and training in their area of expertise that can be used objectively in the given situation.
Representing oneself is likely to end badly. Just because you have the time to handle a complicated property damage claim on your own absolutely doesn’t mean that you should. Attorneys who handle these types of cases work on a contingency fee which means you have no out of pocket expenses and they get paid when the case is settled. So, if you aren’t paying anything out of pocket, then why wouldn’t you hire an experienced attorney to handle the matter for you?

New Year’s Resolutions – Hire a Public Adjuster

Out with the old and in with the new as we kick off 2017. Everyone is making New Year’s resolutions, including myself. Most of those include things like diet and exercise and more time with family and friends. Mine also includes better time management. This can apply to lots of areas of your daily life – personal and professional. Good time management includes not wasting time bothering with things someone else can do for you, such as handling a new or unsettled property insurance claim.

Did you know that there are professionals out there who are just waiting for you to contact them and they will do the work for you. There are licensed public adjusters, property damage attorneys, contents specialists, and other consultants and experts who will handle your claim for you. These various claim professionals can inspect, estimate, and/or negotiate your claim from start to finish or, depending on the situation, come in on a disputed or difficult claim and clean up the mess. A public adjuster is required to be licensed by the Department of Insurance (in most states) and is trained in reading your policy coverage. They have the knowledge, training, and expertise necessary to advocate on your behalf with no conflict of interest. Furthermore, they are a motivated advocate considering they work on a contingency fee basis and don’t get paid until you get paid.

Some people just don’t have time the deal with an insurance claim. More importantly though, most don’t have the knowledge and/or background to know what is covered in order to maximize payment of the claim. We use the word “maximize” your claim but what we really mean is get the claim paid fairly to begin with. So much gets left on the table, which goes right back into the insurance company’s pockets. That’s the way they want to keep it. Ask your agent or insurance adjuster and they will tell you that you don’t need to hire a public adjuster because they are going to take care of you. Well hire a public adjuster or other claim professional and see where the difference takes you. You just might be shocked.

If you have been so unfortunate to have experienced a fire lately then the situation may be even worse. The adjuster for the insurance company is likely going to hand you a sheet of paper and ask you to inventory all of your contents which were damaged by the fire. This includes the item description, brand, model and/or serial number, date purchased, place purchased, purchase price, age, condition, etc. We didn’t all just go out and fill an entire house overnight. These are things that we have accumulated over a lifetime of living in our home. This task isn’t as easy as one might think, especially when you get to what is in the drawers, doors, and closets. I mean seriously, I have 78 pairs of shoes and that doesn’t even count flip flops because those don’t count when the husband asks.

My time is valuable and I’m certain that yours is too. This New Year let’s all do ourselves a favor and maximize the use of our time doing what we are good at and leave what we aren’t to someone else.

Insurance Adjusting Can Feel Like the Wild West

Trading claim stories with others in the insurance business sometimes feels like we’re talking about the Wild West. Everyone is kind of doing their own thing which results in vast differences from adjuster to adjuster and from company to company. It can certainly make you think that the insurance companies are all in cahoots and creating a bit of chaos.

With 2016 almost in the record books, we reflect back on all the severe weather and storms this year and the many questions surrounding whether or not damages were sustained as a result. The damages arising from a hail/wind claim can be vast and are often unknown to a residential or commercial property owner. For example, did you know that if your roof is damaged in a wind/hail storm and the materials are no longer available, the insurance company likely has to replace your entire roof rather than just the shingles that were damaged. This is just one of many examples that show the importance of hiring a qualified claim expert who works in the industry to ensure that your property looks and functions as great as it did before the storm.

When we refer to a “qualified claim expert,” we don’t mean those working for the insurance company who offer up a lick and a promise. We mean real claim help – someone who is on your side and has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to navigate and negotiate your claim on your behalf to full resolution.

This may also include hiring an attorney who specializes in property damage claims. Lots of folks are intimated by just the mention of hiring an attorney when a problem arises. But, a quick visit with a qualified first party claims attorney and your mind may be at ease immediately. These professionals usually work on a contingency fee basis and almost always their first consultation is free of charge. They are hardworking attorneys who have your back at the end of the day. They can quickly make the insurance company and its adjusters feel like a bunch of long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs.

Don’t worry about biting off more than you can chew, your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger than you think. It doesn’t have to be a dicey experience. Hiring a claim professional right out of the gate does nothing but increase your chances of a timely and successful resolution of your claim.

It could just be your ace in the hole!