You may be wondering what is the difference between a public adjuster and an attorney or can you have both? After your home or business has sustained damage from either a storm, fire, termites, etc., you are going to want to go to your insurance company to file a claim. At that point, your insurance company is going to send out either an independently hired adjuster acting on their behalf, or one of their staff adjusters to inspect your home. The adjuster is going to inspect the damage and make an estimate based on the damage that they observe. This estimate is then forwarded to the insurance company who will make a coverage determination. The insurance company is either going to:
- pay the amount that they feel is owed minus your deductible
- deny your claim outright
You may find yourself in a situation where you feel the claim is undervalued. At this point, you are going to decide if you are going to hire an attorney or a public adjuster.
Much like insurance companies hire an adjuster to assess the damage in your home, you have the ability to hire an adjuster on your behalf to evaluate the claim.These public adjusters will come to your home and make their own estimate based on the damage that they observe. This is helpful in going to be valuable in going to the insurance company to defend why you think your claim is worth more.*Before signing any paperwork with a public adjuster, make sure you are covering all your bases.
At what point should you hire an attorney?Typically, public adjusters have the ability to negotiate the terms on your behalf however, some states don’t allow this. In these cases, most public adjusters can do is advise you on how to proceed.You may want to consider hiring an attorney from the very start. Attorneys, like the attorneys at Busciglio Sheridan & Schoeb commonly work with public adjusters and use them as expert witnesses later on, which makes the decision on hiring a public adjuster vs. an attorney much easier.The benefit of hiring an attorney is the fact that an attorney will be able to structure the claim from the start in the way that they want to see the claim end.For example, attorneys typically look at a case from a litigation standpoint. They pay attention to the legal issues that may arise later whereas public adjusters may just be looking at the evaluation of the case.Even though public adjusters and attorneys are looking at the case from 2 different angles, that doesn’t mean you can’t have both.
How are public adjusters paid?
This varies by the person but oftentimes public adjusters take a case on contingency bases and take a percentage of the settlement at the end OR they can charge an hourly fee.
How are attorneys paid?
If you hire an attorney, many times these attorneys have trusted public adjusters that will come out to the property to make their estimates, then the attorney is the one negotiating with the insurance company on the client’s behalf.Some people have a misconception that a client will have to pay a large retainer amount, however, in these situations, that is not the case. Attorneys typically take the case on contingency bases which means the client pays nothing upfront and nothing is paid unless they recover for you.
Regardless of what stage you are at in the insurance claims process, feel free to give Marie Schoeb a call directly at (813) 225-2695 so she can evaluate your case and discuss next steps.