Like many legal matters, it is certainly possible for a person to try handle a diminished value claim in Florida on his or her own, without the assistance of an attorney. But just because it is possible to do so does not mean that it is a good idea. In our experience, it is clearly in the best interests of the client to have an attorney on board. This article will discuss the reasons why you should have an experienced diminished value lawyer on your side.
First, insurance companies are extremely difficult to deal with. Lawyers know how the companies operate and have a better understanding of how to get their attention. When a person tries to deal with the insurance company directly for his or her diminished value claim, they usually encounter a lot of problems and headaches. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster will simply ignore the claim and will not respond to any phone calls or letters, hoping that you will just go away. Many times, clients do become so frustrated with the process that they just give up. If you are lucky enough to receive a response, it probably won’t be a response that you were hoping for. The adjuster is likely to outright deny your claim and will give you one of many silly reasons for doing so. Often times, they will deny the claim without any explanation. And if your diminished claim is not denied, they will ask you to provide various documents and information in order to support the claim, even though much of what they are asking for is completely irrelevant to your claim. On the rare occasion that a settlement offer is made, the offer will usually be very low and will in no way reflect the real value of your diminished value claim.
On the other hand, when you have an attorney on board, especially an attorney who specializes in diminished value claims, the insurance companies will take your claim more serious. The lawyer knows what information and documentation is necessary to support your claim. The lawyer will know how to respond to any ridiculous statements and requests made by the adjuster. The lawyer will know the law and will know what you are entitled to. The lawyer will be able to recognize when an offer is unreasonable or when a denial has no merit. The lawyer will know when it is a good idea to file a lawsuit.
This brings us to the other main reason why it is necessary to have a lawyer on board for your diminished value claim. When an insurance adjuster is being unreasonable, the lawyer can threaten litigation. Any threat of litigation from a lay person, or even from a public adjuster, is usually not taken seriously by the adjuster. They hear these hollowed threats all of the time. But when an experienced trial lawyer makes this threat, the adjuster is likely to take it more seriously because the threat is real. Not only will litigation cost the insurance company money to defend, but it is also very possible that the client will end up with more money in the end anyways. Remember, once a lawsuit is filed, the value of the diminished value claim is not decided anymore by the adjuster, rather it is decided by a judge or jury. For these reasons, it makes more sense for insurance companies to at least try to amicably settle the diminished value claim prior to a lawsuit being filed. In sum, having an experienced lawyer on your side will keep the insurance companies honest.
Clients who try to handle their diminished value claim on their own usually do so thinking that they will end up with more money in their pocket if they don’t have to pay an attorney. But the reality is that recoveries obtained by the lawyer typically end up being much greater, and if everything goes as expected, the client will end up with more money in his or her pocket even after paying the attorney a percentage of the settlement.