Navigating an insurance policy can be challenging, especially if you incur a significant loss. It is no secret that policies can be confusing. Apart from that, insurance providers often exercise their right to deny claims. But what makes things worse is that some providers do that to maximize their profits.
The outcome of such cases depends on the nature of the conflict or dispute. But once you realize that an insurance company’s financial interests go against yours, you need to get legal advice right away.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common reasons behind retaining an insurance dispute attorney and how it can enhance the likelihood of getting the desired settlement.
Top 5 Reasons To Get in Touch With Insurance Claim Lawyers
Let’s face it: every claim is essentially a business negotiation. When taking out a policy, it is only natural to count on decent service and extensive coverage, especially if you fulfill all the obligations. That is why most policyholders do not expect carriers to act in bad faith. However, disputes may arise for various reasons.
Here are the examples of the most common cases dictating the need to retain an insurance claim attorney:
1. Conflict With An Insurance Adjuster
Unfortunately, it is common for policyholders to deal with adjusters. More often than not, they utilize stalling tactics to delay and minimize payments. That is why you need to be battle-ready and understand how to handle insurance adjusters and minimize claims.
2. Complex Claims
The typical examples are environmental, industrial, or product liability claims, and it is not that common for individuals to handle such claims. However, settling and litigation can be problematic if your company deals with pollution incidents.
3. Large Claims
Americans are no strangers to wildfires, tornadoes, and other hazards. Since such risks can result in massive claims, policyholders must be organized when filing them, and it is crucial to store invoices, damage estimates, and other pieces of evidence.
4. Unestablished Fault
Auto insurance holders face this issue more than others. It may be the case that the fault is impossible to establish right away or at all. Therefore, such accidents typically require maximum clarity on your side. Remember that a 50/50 settlement is the only option if no clear evidence is found.
5. Bad Faith
It is generally associated with stalling and other unfair tactics. Some agencies and providers use this approach to minimize payments and maximize profits. So while providers often utilize the benefits of joining a professional insurance association, the insured party needs to evaluate the risks and get proper support from an insurance attorney.
Naturally, every policyholder wishes to receive a settlement and feel satisfied even after a significant loss. The insured must understand how the claim process works to ensure the desired result when dealing with claims.
Reasons To Hire a Property Insurance Attorney
Being lowballed or denied a settlement is not something a person wants to experience. But the issues typically arise when you start documenting everything, and it often results in unpreserved scenes and biased expert opinions on the loss.
So what do you need to do to ensure an impartial assessment of your property loss? It would help if you had a reputable team of specialists, including general contractors, engineers, architects, fire investigators, and other experts suitable for a specific case.
When contacting a homeowners insurance lawyer, people consider it a last resort. When, in fact, it is something they should do the moment they file a claim. Ideally, a person should involve an insurance attorney while working on home insurance or any other claim. This way, it will be adequately prepared and adjusted.
If you accurately report everything, you may avoid a legal dispute altogether. Naturally, it does not mean you get a 100% guarantee that the provider will not wrongfully deny your claim. But it certainly increases your chances of success.
Getting legal advice can be expensive. But there are ways to reduce the costs. For instance, you can find a lawyer willing to work for a contingency fee, which implies paying a specific percentage of the claim once it is recovered. In other words, an attorney has to win the case to get paid.
If working on a contingency fee basis is an acceptable arrangement for an insurance attorney, you will likely have a solid case. But what if your claim is small? First, let’s put your mind at ease.
The fee is typically a third of the payout, but this number can significantly increase if you go to court. Deciding to sue your provider or letting the company know you are planning to take legal action can make them settle a claim. It means that you do not have to face financial risks even if the claim is small.
What To Expect After Suing Your Provider
Let’s take a look at the process if you decide to take your insurance provider to trial. Here is how it looks:
- You and your provider hire attorneys. Before hiring one, make sure he has decent references.
- Both lawyers start the discovery process — they investigate the event and history of the dispute. The process implies exchanging the documentation and conducting depositions. A deposition suggests that an insurance company’s lawyer typically asks a series of questions to receive pretrial testimony from witnesses.
- Both parties bear the costs of court proceedings, discovery, involving outside experts, and travel.
- Eventually, your lawyer will help you with deposition preparations.
- If you or your provider decide not to settle, the case goes to trial, which means you will have to testify in court.
- Being patient is crucial because it can take years to resolve the matter.
- You might have to take part in mediation or settlement discussions.
- The provider will likely come up with several settlement offers. Make sure you assess every offer carefully.
Does Hiring an Insurance Attorney Mean You Win the Case?
Retaining an attorney certainly enhances the likelihood of success. However, you need to find a seasoned attorney.
A competent lawyer will evaluate the claim and determine whether you have a case. If you do, chances are you will win it. Besides, skilled lawyers know every tactic insurance companies use when their clients decide to get legal help.
Let’s imagine that your claim is valid, but the provider does not want to make a full payment. It means that you will receive a fast but very low offer. In some cases, policyholders choose to take the money and be done with it. So a quick offer is a way to check how serious you are about the claim.
It will be denied if the provider knows that you will have to work hard to prove the claim. Retaining an attorney before you file a claim can significantly improve your odds. Ultimately, it will help you overcome the stalling tactics many insurance companies use these days.
Victoria is a Senior Content Writer at American REIA. She helps customers find the right educational material through easily-digestible blog posts and buying guides backing their insurance coverage choice. Victoria covers the latest industry news and various insurance topics, including auto, home, health, and life insurance.