Litigation is the last dispute resolution process used mainly for denied claims. This happens when a public adjuster or another third-party insurance adjuster cannot settle the claim. Litigation is available in all states; however, the cost varies by state, and attorneys will not accept all claims for continuation.
Litigation is a legal process that can help you achieve a fair outcome in these disputes, and in this blog, we’ll explore what litigation is, how it works, and why it’s often the best step to take when dealing with property damage. Whether you’re dealing with a leaky roof, a faulty foundation, or any other type of damage, we hope that this blog will provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions to protect your property and your rights.
What is litigation?
When a public adjuster believes that the insurance company is not offering a fair settlement, they may request to go to litigation. Litigation means they ask for the case to be taken to court to resolve the dispute. This is a serious step in the claims process and is not taken lightly. It is important to note that this process does require you to hire your own attorney.
Why does my public adjuster want to go to litigation?
This typically occurs when the public adjuster and the insurance company are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement on the amount of compensation for a claim. Your public adjuster may feel that the insurance company’s offer is not fair or adequate and therefore chooses to take the matter to court to seek a more favorable outcome. The insurance company may have denied the claim or offered a settlement that is significantly lower than the policyholder’s actual damages. In these cases, a public adjuster may recommend litigation as a means of seeking a fair and just settlement.
Is there a cost/ are there legal fees for litigation?
Going to litigation can be a costly process. It involves filing a lawsuit, hiring an attorney, and gathering evidence to support the policyholder’s claim. The case will be heard by a judge or a jury, who will decide based on the evidence presented. Costs are different per state, but usually, attorneys work on contingency, and fees can be upwards of around 30% of the settlement.
What is the timeframe?
Generally, the process begins with the filing of a complaint, which outlines the specific details of the damage and the parties involved. The defendant then has a certain amount of time, typically 30 days, to respond to the complaint. This response, known as an answer, will typically include any defenses or counterclaims that the defendant may have.
Once the complaint and answer have been filed, the parties will engage in a discovery process. This process allows each side to gather evidence and information that is relevant to the case. This can include things like witness statements, photographs, and expert reports. The discovery process can take several months to complete, depending on the complexity of the case and the amount of evidence that needs to be gathered.
Once the discovery process is complete, the parties will typically attend a settlement conference or mediation. This is an opportunity for the parties to try and reach a settlement agreement before the case goes to trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial.
The trial itself can take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses that need to be called. After the trial, the judge will issue a ruling, and if either party is unhappy with the ruling, they have the right to appeal the decision.
Will my insurance company respond negatively?
When it comes to litigation and insurance companies, the response can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Generally speaking, insurance companies do not want to be involved in litigation and will often try to resolve disputes outside of court. However, there are certain situations where an insurance company may respond negatively to litigation.
For the most part, an insurance company will respond negatively if the parameters of the litigation do not hold weight. For example, an insurance company would respond negatively if the policyholder makes a claim not covered under their policy. In this case, the insurance company may deny the claim and refuse to pay any benefits. They may also take legal action to contest the claim and argue that it is not covered under the policy.
Another situation where an insurance company may respond negatively to litigation is if the policyholder is making a fraudulent claim. In this case, the insurance company may investigate the claim, and if they find evidence of fraud, they may deny the claim and take legal action against the policyholder.
Additionally, if the policyholder is making a claim for damages that exceed the policy limits, the insurance company may only pay out the policy limits and refuse to pay any additional amounts. This could lead to litigation as the policyholder may argue that the insurance company should be held liable for the full amount of damages.
In some cases, insurance companies may also respond negatively to litigation if they believe that the policyholder is not cooperating with the claims process. For example, if the policyholder is not providing all the necessary documentation or is not cooperating with the insurance company’s investigation, the company may deny the claim and take legal action.
Are there any alternative forms of dispute resolution that may be more efficient?
Litigation is the final alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which is the most efficient in some cases. Both mediation and appraisal are also different forms of dispute resolution that would have taken place prior to the public adjuster recommending litigation.
Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party, known as a mediator, helps two or more parties in a dispute to reach a mutually agreed upon resolution. In the context of insurance claims, mediation may be used to resolve disputes between the policyholder (the person making a claim) and the insurance company.
An appraisal is a common dispute resolution method that involves both parties (the policyholder and the carrier) assigning an appraiser. Both appraisers will schedule the appraisal date and time and will meet at the property to negotiate the claim.
An appraisal is a binding process, and the decisions the appraisers make are final. In the case that the appraisers cannot come to an agreement, an umpire (who is previously elected) will settle the dispute. Appraisals are settled without an umpire most of the time. Appraisals do incur costs to both parties.
What are the potential outcomes of the litigation?
If the policyholder wins the case, they will receive a settlement that is deemed fair by the court. However, if they lose the case, they will not receive any additional compensation. You will not be able to appeal the decision if you disagree with it.
Will I need to bring any documentation to litigation?
Once you’ve decided to move forward with litigation, your main point of communication will be between both you and your attorney. Considering this, it would be wise to ask your attorney to answer any questions you may have with respect to what documentation you should bring with you.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the insurance claim process? Look no further than Bulldog Adjusters. Our team of expert adjusters will guide you every step of the way, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Whether you need help navigating the paperwork or need to go to litigation, we are here to support you. With Bulldog Adjusters, you can rest easy knowing that your claim is in good hands. Don’t let the stress of an insurance claim consume you – let us be your advocate.
Contact Bulldog Adjusters today for a stress-free claims experience.