Dealing with insurance claims and legal matters can be daunting, especially when facing property damage or loss. Knowing when to seek professional assistance is essential for the claim outcome in such situations. Public adjusters and attorneys are two professional resources that can be invaluable assets to you and your claim. Understanding each of their roles and knowing when to hire a public adjuster versus an attorney can make a significant difference in achieving a favorable outcome. 

Everyone in the insurance claim process has their relevant expertise and place in the process. Knowing when and at what point each resource can benefit you and your claim can improve your experience and claim outcome. 

When to hire a public adjuster

Public Adjusters are a great asset to get involved early in the claim process, specifically for commercial properties or complex insurance claims. They set the claim up for success and often can help avoid costly and lengthy litigation by identifying common claim issues before they happen. However, if, for any reason, a claim still needs to go to litigation, a good public adjuster can benefit your attorney with the amount of documentation and evaluation they can provide. Here are a few ways a public adjuster can benefit you and your claim:

Claim Process 

If you’ve experienced property damage, such as due to a fire, flood, or storm, hiring a public adjuster can be a wise decision. They specialize in insurance claims and are well-versed in policy language and coverage complexities. Public adjusters assess the extent of the damage, gather evidence, and prepare a detailed claim package to present to your insurance provider on your behalf. They work with your insurance company’s representatives to secure the most accurate settlement possible. Hiring a public adjuster can ensure your claim receives proper representation and fair compensation for your losses.

Documentation and Evaluation

Public adjusters produce extensive documentation and prioritize proper property damage evaluation. They have experience in accurately assessing and identifying the extent of a property loss and estimating the cost of repairs or replacement. Their expertise can be particularly valuable when dealing with commercial or complex claims that the insurance company has a tendency to undervalue. Utilizing the assets a public adjuster provides can ensure all necessary evidence is gathered and ample documentation supports the claim.

Claim Negotiations

Insurance companies often have teams of professionals working to protect their interests by minimizing claim payouts. Remember, they are a for-profit company at the end of the day. Therefore, hiring a public adjuster puts you on the same playing field, as public adjusters act as your advocate during claim negotiations. They have the knowledge and experience to counter any tactics the insurance company employs to secure a fair settlement. Public adjusters understand the intricacies of policy terms, coverages, and applicable state laws that allow them to advocate for your rights as a policyholder effectively.


When to Hire an Attorney

 Attorneys can provide legal advice in various areas of an insurance claim. They can draft legal documents, negotiate, and represent you in legal proceedings. When facing legal complexities, consulting with an attorney ensures you have the legal support to protect your rights and interests. Situations where hiring an attorney for your insurance claim may be necessary:

Policy Interpretation Disputes 

An attorney can evaluate the policy in question and provide an assessment of both sides’ interpretations. They will identify relevant case law, statutory provisions, and legal principles to determine if the policy language is being properly interpreted. 

Breach of Insurance Contract 

First thing to note is that both parties, the insured and the insurance provider have obligations outlined under the policy. It is contractual that both parties fulfill their obligations in tandem. If an insured feels they have upheld their contractual obligations and the insurance provider has not, seeking the assistance of an attorney to assess the situation can be helpful. An attorney will review the actions and conduct of the insurance company to determine if they have met their obligations under the contract. Their assessment may include evaluating whether the insurer correctly investigated the claim, made a reasonable decision regarding coverage, and handled the claim in good faith. If the insured had a public adjuster to represent the claim, they would be able to advise if an attorney’s involvement is necessary. 

Unfair Claim Practices 

Insurance laws define various unfair claims practices that insurers are prohibited from engaging in. In short, an unfair claims practice is when an insurance provider tries to delay, avoid, or reduce the size of a claim due to be paid out to an insured party. These may include wrongful claim denials, unreasonable delays in processing claims, inadequate investigations, misleading statements, lowball settlement offers, or bad faith conduct. An attorney can determine if these practices have occurred in your case and advise further steps to rectify the situation. It is important to note that each state has its own regulations enforced by the state’s insurance department, and if a public adjuster was hired to help with the claim process, they could assist you in identifying this issue, documenting it for an attorney if necessary and even help to mitigate its impact. 

This is only a brief overview of the benefits of these resources and the value they may be able to provide throughout the claim process. There may be more ways each of these professionals may assist you when necessary. If you are unsure of a settlement offer or your insurance provider requests you sign a settlement agreement, seek a second opinion before making any final agreemen

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