How Will You Pay Your Attorney in a Homeowners’ Insurance Claim Case?
Let’s imagine that something bad happens to your home. Your roof sustains damage after a storm, or your floors flood after a burst pipe, or your home sustains any other kind of damage that requires making a claim on your homeowners’ insurance policy. You make your claim, but the insurance company either denies coverage, or there is a dispute about how much the insurance company should pay.
You know that the insurance company is wrong (or at least, you suspect that it is), but you have concern over how you will ever afford an attorney to represent you in your homeowners’ claim. The insurance adjuster—who seems really nice—even “kindly” told you how expensive hiring an attorney would be.
How Attorneys Get Paid in Insurance Claims
Actually, hiring an attorney in property damage claims and cases is not expensive at all for consumers. That’s because of language that is included in most homeowners’ insurance policies that provides for prevailing party attorney’s fees. That means that if you win your case, the insurance company will not only pay for what it should be paying under your policy, but it also will pay for your attorney’s fees.
Because of this contractual language, most homeowners’ insurance attorneys will take your case on what is known as contingency. That means that the attorney will represent you for free while the case is going on, and accept whatever the insurance company pays (or is ordered to pay by a court or jury) towards your attorneys fees.
In most cases, with contingent fee agreements, the homeowner will not pay anything if for some reason the case is not successful.
Personal Injury Cases
You’ve probably heard of personal injury attorneys that advertise contingency fee agreements, which promise that you do not pay anything unless you win your case. This is true, and makes personal injury cases very similar to homeowners’ insurance cases, in that your attorney will work for you until your case is settled or goes to trial, and will take his or her payment after your case.
The difference is that in personal injury cases, the attorney will take a percentage of your total recovery.
So, for example, if you settled or won $100,000, your attorney may take anywhere between 25%-40% as his or her fees. In a homeowners’ insurance case, if your overall damages were $100,000, the insurance company would pay you $100,000 in addition to whatever your attorney charges.
Of course, this is just a summary of your agreement with your attorney in these kinds of cases—you should read it fully and discuss it with him or her. However, you should at least have some peace of mind that hiring an attorney will usually require you putting out little or no money at all to start your case against your homeowners’ insurance company.
Is your insurance company refusing to pay for damage that is supposed to be covered by your insurance policy? Contact the Miami property damage insurance attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today with any questions you may have.