You’ve tried negotiating your claim with your home insurance company, but they keep sending you complex documents and won’t agree to a settlement amount that addresses the extent of the issues with your home.
Now, you’re ready to hire a home insurance lawyer, and you’re wondering what to expect when settling the case with their help.
Here we’ll explain what the settlement process looks like, including what you can do to make the steps easier. We’ll also point out some red flags to look for when it comes to selecting the bad-faith attorney who is right for you.
Cooperation and Prioritization
If you want your claim to proceed quickly, your lawyer will need your full cooperation throughout the duration of the process. Fortunately, they will be able to take care of most of the work with minimal participation on your part.
However, when they do reach out, you should be punctual and forthcoming with the information they request. If they ask you to obtain documentation or run an errand to further your case, you should prioritize their request.
It is customary for a home insurance lawyer to send out an independent adjuster to inspect the damage and calculate an estimate for repairs.
Most professional adjusters charge by the hour and receive payment when their task is completed. This means that they come on the scene to inspect and calculate and then are no longer part of the process. Be wary of bad-faith attorneys who only pay their adjusters after the case has concluded.
An attorney who does not pay their adjuster until the case has been decided could be indicative of a kickback scheme, where a portion of their pay is calculated based on your settlement amount. Remember, the only parties that should be awaiting the outcome of your claim are you, your attorney, and the insurance company.
Demand Letters and Settlement Conferences
Once the adjuster has assessed the scope of the damage and provided an estimate to your attorney, the attorney will prepare a demand letter and send it to the insurance company. From there, you might attend a settlement conference consisting of you, the insurance company representative, and your lawyer.
The settlement conference gives you and the insurance company a chance to avoid going to court. You and your attorney will lay out the facts of your case and the insurance company will either agree or disagree with the overall settlement amount. If they disagree, your lawyer will file a lawsuit and the case will move to trial.
How Long Does a Settlement Conference Take?
A settlement conference is a relatively short process. Although a judge monitors the proceeding, it is less formal than an official trial. A settlement conference usually takes place in a conference room or in the judge’s chambers. The location may vary depending on the preference of the judge overseeing the conference.
What Are the Procedures for a Settlement Conference?
At the beginning of the conference, each party will answer the judge’s preliminary questions. The judge will meet with your attorney and the insurance company’s attorney to discuss the details of the case. Each attorney will have an opportunity to present their view of the facts. You may or may not be required to attend this portion of the meeting.
After the attorneys present their information, the judge will speak with you and convey the other side’s offer as well as their recommendations. Keep in mind that the judge’s recommendations are just that — you do not have to accept them if they do not meet your needs.
If you still can’t reach an agreement after this process then the case will move to trial. On the other hand, if you are able to reach an agreement, your attorney and the insurance company’s attorney will draft a settlement document.
Maximizing the Value of Your Claim
The best way to maximize the value of your claim is to hire a bad-faith attorney with plenty of experience and a solid reputation.
Hiring a lawyer with an impeccable reputation can be beneficial during pre-suit negotiations, as their presence and understanding of the law can dissuade the other side from putting up a lengthy fight.
Even if the other side decides to play hardball, an experienced attorney will understand how to deal with it.
Contact Brasher Law Today
Settling a home insurance claim can be a lengthy process without the right attorney in your corner. If you are looking for a qualified attorney to help you maximize your claim, look no further than Brasher Law.
Our team of experienced home insurance lawyers has plenty of experience dealing with insurance companies and handling complex negotiations. Don’t spend another day wondering what to do about your home insurance claim. Contact us today.