A Claim Against Your Own Insurance Company?
Let’s look at another kind of injury, bad faith by your fire insurance company:
You have a major fire.
The adjustor is overburdened, distracted, or may not even care.
The checks are slow in arriving, and you think your place is a total loss, but the adjustor does not.
It turns out you have some “environmental issues”, and your limited rental coverage is running out while your damaged house is moldering down around you.
Some lawyers will immediately file suit against your insurance company, embarrassing the adjustor, putting him on the defensive, and creating an enemy.
Now your fee will be at least 1/3, and your litigation expenses may be $10,000, or more, and your moldering house will molder for a year or two, making it unrepairable even if it really was.
Once your lawyer sizes up your situation, your cash flow, health, age, and tolerance for risk, he might counsel a different approach, taking an up-front contingent fee of 8% to 10%.
If suit must be filed, you get a credit for fees paid.
The lawyer can help you pester, document, argue, and negotiate with the field level adjustor, not a high paid lawyer billing hourly, who has no incentive to make the case go away quickly.
The news to your client and the adjustor is that if your position eventually prevails, even without a lawsuit, the company will probably pay your fee, and the client will get damages for “aggravation and Inconvenience”.
As a friend and colleague of mine counseled, “Give them the chance to do the right thing. If they don’t, punish them.”
- When they do, the damages remain “manageable” and the clients get to move on with their lives, and;
- When they do not, you have a solid “bad faith settlement practices claim” as defined by the famous “State Farm vs. Hayseeds, Inc.” WV Supreme Court of Appeals case. You can file suit with a clean conscience, knowing you tried to save your client and the company that grief.
The keys to this approach are:
- A lawyer who has been representing “the little guy” for a long time, and understands what is important to him; and
- A lawyer who is used to working on a tight budget, so he focuses on the “net to client”, on limiting expenses, and on moving the case forward as quickly as possible.
These cases do not get big headlines, but they enhance lives, and benefit people who just want to get on with their lives.
You may have to do some homework, search a bit closer to home, read online reviews, and ask around to find the lawyer who places the interests of the client above his own.
Our website url is www.hunterlawfirm.net. See you there!
This post was written by Burton Hunter