Property Claim Dispute: When To Involve an Attorney

Knowing when to involve an attorney in a property dispute can save money in the long haul and ensure success in your claim. Common insurance claims typically low-ball settlements because adjusters try to pay as little as possible for all claims.

When To Contact an Attorney About an Insurance Claim

Most minor cases settle easily, and since there’s not a lot of money involved, insurance adjusters willingly pay the estimated damages. However, there can always be unforeseen issues when dealing with complex or expensive claims. That’s when consulting a lawyer is in your best interest. The types of property claims that usually require a deft legal touch include:

  • Large claims like fire damage that destroys your home
  • Any claim where fault is not clearly established
  • Expensive claims for losses of small but expensive items like jewelry
  • Appealing claims that were denied by your insurance company
  • Cases where the adjuster seems particularly unsympathetic

Hiring a Lawyer at the Start of a Major Claim

You should hire an attorney right at the beginning of making a major property claim for damages caused by fire, theft, flood, or other natural disasters. Your interests and the insurance company’s are diametrically opposed. You want to get a maximum settlement, and the insurance company wants to pay out a minimal amount of cash.

It’s always better to be a squeaky wheel that gets the grease than plodding along amiably for a quick settlement without hassles. Let your attorney worry about the legal hassles — that’s what they’re paid to do.

Hiring a Public Adjuster

Insurance companies work on behalf of the insurance company, but you can hire unbiased public adjusters just as easily — independently or on the advice of your attorney. According to, there’s no substitute for the expert services of an impartial claims adjuster who has experience in estimating damages and the fair value of claims.

Public adjusters may be your best recourse when disputes arise about the value and extent of damages.

They can help you make an informed decision about whether to repair or replace damaged property. Adjusters know all the latest information about the origins and causes of damages, how to make accurate property value estimates, building restoration best practices, loss of use estimates and claims, and other kinds of evaluations.

Homeowners’ policies prohibit lawsuits over damage disputes, so it’s difficult to interest an attorney in working on a contingency basis.

Attorneys are your best bet if you want to make a “bad faith” or coverage claim that involves insurance companies denying coverage unethically. However, these cases can take a long time to be settled.

Hiring the Right Attorney

Hiring the right attorney gets someone on your side who has a duty of care to work for your best interests. It’s hard to trust insurance companies and their adjusters if the case is complex. The right lawyer can win your case and make sure that you will receive compensation to cover their property losses.

It’s important to know about common disputes so you can better understand the situation that you’re in. The most common property disputes include:

  • Conduct appraisals to learn the market value of disputed property
  • Consult land surveys and other legal documents
  • Run a title search to find relevant documents for your case
  • Negotiate in a neutral atmosphere that’s not subject to personal animosities
  • Handle complex issues over easements
  • Deal with zoning issues
  • Manage investigations
  • Determine responsibility for repairs between the homeowner and construction company

There are many times when you can settle your own property claim with an insurance claim when the claims are small and well defined.

However, having a dedicated team handle your case has a series of benefits. You can always hire an attorney when it becomes obvious you need help to get the money you feel that you deserve.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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