Louisiana has been devastated by Hurricane Ida. In the town of Jean Lafitte, at least 90 percent of homes sustained serious damage.
If you suffered property damage because of the hurricane and your insurance company isn’t paying up, you need an insurance claim lawyer.
If you think you can’t afford a lawyer – think again. Keep reading to learn more about how insurance claim lawyers get paid and how you can benefit from their services without paying a penny out of your pocket.
Paying Your Insurance Claim Lawyer
Many people don’t realize that hiring an insurance claim layer is actually affordable.
There are a couple of different ways that insurance claim lawyers get paid. Most lawyers that help clients with insurance claims work on what is called a contingency basis. However, some charge an hourly fee.
Let’s take a closer look at these payment options and the pros and cons of each.
Charging by the Hour
Some insurance claim lawyers bill clients an hourly rate. The fees you can expect to pay your lawyer who charges by the hour depend on a number of factors. These include your geographic location, the size of the firm, and the experience and skill level of your attorney.
Partners usually charge more than associates. Larger firms cost more than smaller ones. Firms in rural areas charge less than those in big cities.
There really aren’t any pros to paying your lawyer by the hour. Fortunately, few lawyers use this fee structure. This is because most insurance policyholders simply can’t afford to pay a lawyer by the hour.
You can imagine how quickly your bills would pile up. Good lawyers understand that most clients can’t or won’t want to pay by the hour. You shouldn’t have to pay upfront when you don’t even know if you are going to win your case.
Contingency Fee Agreements
The most popular alternative to an hourly fee is called a contingency fee agreement. This is by far the best option when you need to hire a lawyer to resolve an insurance dispute. With a contingency fee agreement, your attorney only gets paid if they help you recover additional money in a claim or lawsuit.
Your lawyer will be paid a percentage of any additional money they recover from your insurer on your behalf. You won’t owe any fees on what your insurance company has already paid you. So your lawyer will only be paid if they can get you more money.
When you get paid an additional settlement, your lawyer will take a percentage of that amount. This percentage will be agreed upon ahead of time when you first hire your lawyer, so you will know what to expect.
This system is more effective because it allows policyholders to get the legal help that they otherwise couldn’t afford.
Attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis offer free consultations. This is a no-cost, no-obligation opportunity to discuss your claim with an insurance claim lawyer. During this time, your lawyer will evaluate your case and your odds of success.
If they feel confident that they can win, they will take your case on a contingency basis. As a policyholder, there is no risk to you. If your lawyer doesn’t win, they don’t get paid.
What if a Case Goes to Trial?
If your claim turns into a lawsuit, you will be responsible for litigation costs. If your attorney operates on a contingency fee basis, they will most likely advance your litigation costs. This means you won’t have to pay anything upfront.
Some lawyers will still hold you responsible for litigation costs, even if you don’t win your case. This might be the case whether you pay on an hourly basis or have a contingency arrangement. We aren’t one of those firms, though.
It’s difficult to predict the exact cost of litigating a claim. This is because the cost of litigation depends on the facts of the case, the complexity of the claim, and the cost of getting witnesses to testify.
Some insurance claim lawyers still offer a contingency arrangement for litigated matters. However, they take a larger cut of your settlement if the case goes to trial than if you get a settlement out of court. This helps them cover the costs of litigation, which can be expensive.
It’s important to always be on the same page as your lawyer about how and when they will get paid. If you decide to take your case to trial, you can establish a cost reserve ahead of time with your lawyer. They will work to keep costs within that amount.
Reimbursement for Attorney Fees
The best part of hiring a good insurance claim lawyer is that you might not have to pay them at all – even if you win your case.
Homeowners’ insurance policies sometimes have a clause that requires the insurance company to pay your attorney’s fees if you win your case. This means that you will get your settlement amount and your attorney will be paid on top of that.
Sometimes, a court will even order your insurance company to pay penalty fees, which can go towards paying your lawyer. When this happens, you will be made whole for your damages and your attorney will be paid by the insurance company – everybody wins.
Do You Need an Insurance Claim Lawyer?
If you’re a Lousiana resident and have experienced property damage as a result of Hurricane Ida, your insurance company might not offer you a fair settlement. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you have rights.
Hiring an insurance claim lawyer can help you get the money you deserve from your insurance company.
We operate on a contingency fee basis, so if we don’t win, we don’t get paid. You can rest assured that we will get you the settlement you are entitled to or you don’t have to pay.
Click here to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how we can help you.