How to find the right attorney for a fire claim in Illinois
Fire Claims Adjusters and Fire Claims Settlements. An insurance Claim is a business negotiation. Do I need to hire an attorney? If I use an attorney to represent me in the fire insurance claim negotiation, adjustment and settlement what will happen and what can I expect?
Do I need an Attorney to settle my fire damage claim. Who is the insurance adjuster working for?At some point, after suffering a major fire loss or other major loss you will file your insurance claim. You will question the process and consider your options for help. You'll consider your rights. You will think and worry about trusting the insurance company. More importantly you will consider your financial interests and how they conflict with your insurance company's financial interests. Yes, they naturally conflict. The more paid to claimants the less profit for insurance companies. You want a maximum payout, your insurer a minimum.
An insurance claim is a business negotiation. Simple fact, pure and true. So while you paid good money for coverage and good claim service, you may have to fight for what you deserve and are entitled to. You may need professional assistance to win the fight. In a perfect world you do not need an attorney, you would be paid in full and your world placed back in order in short time. This is not a perfect world however.
To ensure a fair settlement of a large claim, usually above $10,000, steps must be taken to learn the language and educate yourself. Seek out experts. Interview and research until you find and expert you can trust and rely upon. You truly need the "squeaky wheel", the right professional, to help you through this dangerous road. You're here so you're on the right track.
Do you need professional help? Do you need a lawyer? Do you need a public adjuster? What is a public adjuster? Can you handle it on your own? The first thing you need before making these decisions is a complete copy of your policy, including the "Declarations Page" and all "Endorsements" and "Riders". Not just the one page, which most usually only have.
Your Declarations Page is generally the first or second page of the policy. You need more than just this. The declaration page states the dollar limits applying to each category of coverage, and lists the endorsements and riders, (extras) that you have in addition to the basic policy. Each such addition will be listed by a code number or letter, or combination thereof. Review your basic coverage categories; Dwelling, Contents (Personal Property), and Loss of Use (sometimes called "Additional Living Expenses".) The Declarations page does not list the conditions and other obligations which form the insurance contract. Your rights to payments and recovery are dictated by the language of the policy. Not the declarations page only.
Questions and Answers.Q: I've filed a claim under my homeowner's policy. I've met with adjusters from my company. I'm getting frustrated. Do I need a lawyer?
A: If you are communicating in writing and in person with your insurer with confidence, polite assertiveness, and insistence on your rights and your insurer is responding, keep going on your own. If you feel like you've "hit a wall", are losing patience, feeling frustrated, angry or anxious, or are worried about time passing and/or losing your rights, a qualified attorney can help. An attorney can help you get the respect and claim results you deserve. If the dispute is only relates to the extent or value of property damage, and your insurer is cooperating in trying to resolve the dispute informally - hiring an insurance claim attorney may not be necessary. If you live in a state that licenses and regulates public adjusters and there are experienced and reputable ones available in your area, interview both lawyers and public adjusters before deciding which one would be best suited to resolve your particular situation. Illinois licenses Public Adjusters. Be sure to check for qualifications, background, bonding ect.
Who does the talking in a fire claim negotiation. The attorney or I, the Fire Victim?Q: Once I hire an attorney, should I let them to do all the talking to my insurer?
A: Not necessarily, but once the insurance company has dug in its heels and you've hired an attorney, let the attorney communicate with the insurance company. Most attorneys will insist on this and it's for your own protection.
Will I have to sue the insurance Company to pay the fire claim?Q: Do I have to sue my insurance company to get what I am entitled to under my policy?
A: Absolutely not. On most small dollar claims, your insurer will pay your claim with little fuss and bother. Basic negotiating will resolve most insurance disputes. There are laws and regulations in Illinois, like most states, that make it illegal for insurance companies to force consumers to file suit to recover their policy benefits.
What are my options if I dont not want to sue to recover for fire damage?Q: What are the alternatives to litigation?
A: Mediation, Arbitration, Appraisal are three of the most popular alternatives to litigation.
In MEDIATION, the parties work with a third party to negotiate a resolution of their dispute in an informal, voluntary process.
An ARBITRATION may be binding or non-binding, and is more formal than a mediation. The arbitrator may dictate the result, or simply work with the parties to reach a result.
APPRAISAL is a procedure that can be used to resolve a dispute over the amount of an insured loss. It has no relation to real estate appraisals. It can be fast and economical or slow and expensive, depending on the appraisers and umpire selected by both sides.