Kathleen Defever is in the very unique position of having the full credentials to act as both a Public Insurance Adjuster and a Consumer’s Insurance Litigator. While these roles are similar in that she advocates to help people receive their rightful insurance benefits, there is definitely a difference between the need for advocacy to reach a settlement without filing suit and the need to file a legal claim. The simplest way to explain the difference is –
When you don’t have a good legal claim against your insurance company, you can still advocate for better treatment and more benefits by hiring a Public Adjuster. Oftentimes, people are surprised to learn that their issue can be resolved without any litigation at all.
- What are the costs?
Public Adjusters are generally much less expensive than Insurance Attorneys. PAs tend to cost 60-80% less, so the services of a great Public Adjuster are a fantastic deal. However, if your claim cannot be settled or resolved successfully without a legal fight, you will need an Insurance Attorney and the extra cost will be more than justified. The experts at Defever Law & Adjusting will advise you on your specific situation, so that you can feel confident you are seeking the correct expertise at the best price.
- What kind of insurance claims do each handle?
Attorneys take a general bar exam and then are able to decide which type of law they will practice. A great Insurance Attorney could probably handle any type of insurance claim, because the insurance laws tend to be similar for all types of insurance, but there are some notable exceptions (such as health insurance or claims subject to ERISA), and all attorneys have different experience levels. Insurance law also tends to divide between property or liability, and first-party or third-party.
No need to panic – a good Insurance Lawyer can explain the differences, and the resources at the Defever Law & Adjusting website and MisInsured blog are constantly being updated with the aim to make your search easier.
Public Adjusters mostly handle homeowners or commercial property losses (i.e. Fires and Floods).
- Is your claim in the early stages after filing, or have you already been negotiating the claim for more than a few weeks?
If you have just filed your claim and you are waiting for the insurance company to respond or you are busy collecting the documents their company adjuster has initially requested, you probably will benefit most from a Public Adjuster. However, if the insurance company has involved lawyers in your claim or you have exhaustively tried to get the results you believe you are entitled to and they just won’t budge, you should call an Insurance Attorney. Unfortunately there is no clear cut method to determine which type of advocacy will best suit your claim, so the experts at Defever Law & Adjusting are available to advise you.
- What is the issue you need assistance with?
As mentioned above, Public Adjusters handle property damage claims. If your insurance claim involves a different type of coverage, look for an Insurance Attorney who handles that specific type.
If your claim is for property damage, Public Adjusters have an entire toolbox full of resources to help you prove that your insurance company that your claim is worth more than they intend to pay. For example, a good PA can obtain you a detailed competitive estimate for rebuilding the damage, a fully exhaustive personal or business property inventory with accurate values and depreciation, and assistance receiving the additional living expense or loss of rent value you need.
However, if your claim has been refused outright or the insurance company refuses to pay one portion of the claim but pays another, you are more likely to need an experienced Insurance Attorney.
Unfortunately, determining which type of advocacy that is needed is a complex process based on the unique aspects of your situation. Hopefully the information above has been helpful to you in your search, and please do not hesitate to contact Defever Law & Adjusting for assistance.