Public Adjuster vs. Attorney: What Is the Difference?
The decision of when to use a public adjuster vs. attorney depends upon your situation. When your property experiences damage from a hurricane or water, for instance, the next step is filing a claim with your insurance company. If the insurer does not pay you the benefits you deserve, you need to hire a public adjuster or attorney to negotiate a higher award.
While a public adjuster can estimate and negotiate on your behalf, he or she cannot provide legal advice or protect your rights if the dispute escalates. Always speak with an insurance attorney if you have questions after dealing with property damage.
What Is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is a professional individual who is licensed to come to your home and make an independent estimate of your damages. Their opinion provides an unbiased, third-party estimate that your attorney can use to defend what your claim is worth.
Although some states do not allow it, public adjusters are permitted to negotiate the terms and conditions of your insurance settlement and advise you on moving forward in the State of Florida.
How Does an Attorney Help?
Hiring an attorney is a wise decision when the insurance company issues a partial or total claim denial that does not seem fair or legal. Your attorney will hire a public adjuster to review your case and may use their opinions as expert witness testimony if legal issues with your insurance company continue.
Your attorney will also structure your claim deal from the beginning so that you have reassurance in knowing where it is headed. For instance, rather than look at your claim as a one-shot deal, we look at it from a comprehensive, “big picture” standpoint. There is no chance of making legal mistakes when you hire an attorney, either.
Public Adjuster vs. Lawyer: How Are They Paid?
Just like an attorney, a public adjuster will take your case on a contingency fee basis, which means that he or she will keep a percentage of the settlement offer you received as a result of their work. However, they can also charge an hourly fee.
On the other hand, an attorney has a trusted public adjuster that they work with routinely to estimate. He or she will also take your case on a contingency fee basis, and you will pay nothing for him or her to take on your case.
Work with an Attorney From the Outset
In the State of Florida, our insurance laws address the deadlines by which insurers have to pay insurance settlements. However, legal problems arise when they do not follow these laws, which can leave claimants, who hired a public adjuster, needing an attorney anyway.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes Title XXXVII. Insurance § 627.70131, your insurance company must adhere to the following timeline:
· Within fourteen (14) days: Acknowledgement that your claim was received.
· Within ninety (90) days: Decision on your claim.
· Within twenty (20) days of decision: Make an insurance payment.
If your insurer is delaying payments or not communicating with you, then you will need to speak with a lawyer at this point. A public adjuster cannot represent you in a bad faith insurance claim. Hire an attorney from the outset to protect your legal rights comprehensively.
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