As Miami homeowner’s claims attorneys we often get asked about our fees. Often the question of attorney’s fees is also related to the question of an adjuster’s fees. Before many homeowners hire an attorney they tend to hire public adjusters. Public adjusters evaluate the loss to the home or property and submit a claim to the homeowner’s insurance company. On many occasions, claims prepared by public adjusters are denied. Indeed, if the claim is denied the only recourse left to the homeowner is to hire an attorney to further pursue the matter. So at this point a homeowner is subject to both attorney’s fees and adjuster’s fees.
We are often asked what fees public adjusters are entitled to. Adjusters usually charge between 10% and 20% contingency fees. According to Florida Statute 626.854 a public adjuster cannot charge more than 20% contingency on non-emergency claims and no more than 10% on claims related to a declaration of emergency event. Events that may count as emergencies are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. Note that the combination of an adjuster and an attorney may be the perfect team to prepare a claim and litigate your case. The insurance companies have their experts and so should you.
Nonetheless, this will be better explained by an example. An adjuster signs up a new client who had a water loss and agrees to pursue the claim for 20% contingency . The adjuster fails to get any compensation for his client. The client is now obliged to go and hire an attorney. Six month later the attorney settles the case for $50,000 on the client’s behalf. The attorney agrees that $40,000 will go toward the water loss and $10,000 will go toward attorney’s fees. Here the adjuster would be entitled to 20% of $40,000. The adjuster would not be entitled to 20% of the attorney’s fees. It goes without saying that adjusters are often not happy with such results. As South Florida homeowner’s water loss claims attorneys we are well aware of this.
Be sure to ask questions to both your adjuster and attorney as it pertains to contingency fees. In some instances it may be wise to make a flat fee agreement with your adjuster. This is more true when dealing with large claims that are the result of fire or catastrophic events. The issues of fees may get more complicated when dealing with appraisals. An appraisal is a process by which an insurance company and the insured try to agree on the proper amount to compensate a claim. However, this is topic for another blog and we will not address it here.
If you have suffered a loss at your home Fort Lauderdale homeowner’s claims attorneys are here to assist you 24/7. We can be reached at 305.764.9907 or 1.888.413.8353.