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In the insurance industry, claims are divided up into first-party and third-party. Insurance companies typically cover properties via property insurance. Occasionally they will have to deal with a property insurance claim. Insurance carriers may find themselves dealing with claims from their own clients as opposed to the renters or other parties that may have an impact on the property. This is where a property law firm comes in. Property law firms are able to help insurers handle these types of situations efficiently and effectively. They can assist in the following areas:

Insurance Litigation

Property law firms often work closely with insurance carriers to represent them in court cases involving insurance claims. These cases can be very complex and require extensive legal knowledge. A property lawyer has experience handling such matters.

Real Estate Transactions

The lawyers at a property law firm can provide assistance with real estate transactions. Real estate attorneys are familiar with all aspects of real estate law including contracts, mortgages, title searches, escrow services, etc.

Residential & Commercial Disputes

When disputes arise between tenants and landlords, it's important to know who has what rights under the lease agreement. In commercial leases, there are usually provisions for how much rent is owed and when the rent must be paid. Landlords and tenants need to make sure that they're both aware of any changes that could affect the terms of the lease. If either party doesn't agree with the terms of the lease, they need to talk to a property lawyer about their options.

Commercial Litigation

If you've been involved in a dispute over your business' assets, then you'll want to consult a first-party property attorney. They can help you determine if you have a case against another party. Commercial property litigation can call under several categories. Most of the time, it deals with third-party litigation between a renter and a landlord. The insurance company will typically look at these cases for a potential settlement that doesn't require them to go to a district court. An experienced lawyer will spot where they can settle these cases out of court on behalf of the insurance company.

But what happens when the commercial property owner is the one bringing the suit against the insurer? An owner of an apartment building or a commercial building might need to get certain damages covered. Ideally, they would look to their insurance provider to help them settle these cases. This situation is termed a first-party property insurance dispute and could lead to severe fallout for the client and their insurance provider.

The Difference Between A First-Party Property Insurance Dispute and Third-Party Disputes

As mentioned before there are two distinct types of disputes, first-party and third-party. For an insurance company, the person responsible for the damage is vital to determining whether they pay for the coverage or not. The insurance industry focuses on paying out as little as they possibly can to clients. This ensures that they manage to make a profit at the end of everything, since they are a for-profit business. Third-party disputes are distinct from first-party disputes in several ways.

If you're pursuing a third-party property insurance dispute, you might leave it to your insurance company to settle the damages. If, for example, you have a tenant who has done something in breach of their rental contract, you cam submit a claim for damage through your insurance to them directly. If they have their own personal insurance, their insurer will investigate the claim for damage and pay out a settlement. if they don't have insurance to deal with it, they may have to decide whether they'll take it to a district court or settle. In either case, the insurance will aggressively pursue the wrongdoer to ensure that they have to pay less.

In a first-party property insurance dispute, things are a lot different. YOU are the one who is bringing the suit against your insurer. Business owners involved in a first-party property insurance dispute might feel as though their insurance payout was less than they deserved. Owners of an apartment building might consider that their insurer kept back some of the money they should have received from a particular case. Because of how the insurance industry views property insurance, it's important to know what your property insurance covers. The insurer will outline all of the things they are liable to cover to show that they aren't liable for your damages. In such a case, an experienced lawyer can help you settle the case in a manner that's agreeable to both you and the insurer either in or out of a district court.

How A First-Party Property Insurance Dispute is Litigated

In the event of a first-party property insurance dispute, the insurer will fall back on their policy document. The case may go to trial in a district court, or you and the insurer will settle outside of a courtroom setting. Knowing what sort of settlement you're going for heading into the discussion will guide your super lawyers as to what they should be looking to achieve. Many of these insurers are represented by a national law firm. These clout-heavy law firms can be daunting for a small business to deal with. Having professional super lawyers on your side can get you a settlement you're entitled to. But how does the process of litigation in a first-party property insurance dispute go?

The first thing your lawyer will do is investigate your policy. They may get professional assistance from the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters to help them determine what the policy covers. According to their website, the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) is a certification board that deals with education about insurance adjusting. Once the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters is satisfied with the policy, you super lawyers can take over and see if there is a case there.

While your super lawyers are investigating the case, the insurer is also doing the same. Their clout-heavy law firms will be looking to ensure that their client is in the right. A national law firm can leverage a lot of resources to make this happen, meaning that the owner of a brick building might be swimming against the stream. However, choosing the right super lawyer can give you the advantage you need to battle against a national law firm. If the national law firm is not convinced that the policy covers your damages, they may be willing to let the case go to a district court to determine wrongdoing.

If the policy does indeed cover the damages, the national law firm might consider settling out of court. An out of court settlement is a feather in the cap of your super lawyers, because it means they didn't have to take the case to long and drawn-out litigation. It saves you time and ensures you get the entirety of your settlement as you expect.

Common Types of Property Claims

The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters notes that most claims filed by property owners in the state are for third-party damages. For example, if a tenant tries to perform a repair or installation themselves in breach of their rental contract, the damages that come from this issue will be a third-party claim. However, there are enough first-party claims that also get filed. Business owners who have to deal with unpredictable weather may be forced to file claims for water damage or wind damage. If there is a property claim to be filed, the property owner shouldn't wait too long to file it.

When To File a First-Party Claim

When you're involved in a potential situation for a first-party claim, you should seek to file it as soon as possible. The sooner you file the claim, the sooner the legal professionals can get to work dealing with the claim. If you hesitate, the insurance company's national law firm might think that you're committing insurance fraud and look even closer at your application. They might even consider this enough ground to deny the claim outright and ask you to produce evidence of the damage. In these cases you should probably look for a legal representative to help you prove your case.

Evidence is Crucial to Proving the Case

Insurers will spend a lot of time trying to prove that they aren't liable for paying for your damages. They may even go do far to hire a federal investigator to prove that they don't need to pay for your damages. That's why you need to have evidence of the damage recorded as soon as possible. If your brick building is involved in a windstorm, for example, and you lose parts of the roof because of it, you should take pictures of the damage. Properly documenting the damage and timestamping the recording will go a long way towards proving your case.

Additionally, you may need to consult a professional to get a written report of the damages. The report will outline what damage happened and the most likely causes for such damage. When you submit your claim, you could also submit the report to ensure that the insurer is aware that you had the incident investigated. Even if they decide to investigate it themselves, you will have your own independent report that you can use to contest theirs.

A public adjuster might be a good way to deal with the insurance company's pushback. Your legal representation can seek out a public adjuster that can give you an independent estimate on the damages you're owed. The insurer will, no doubt, use their own adjuster, but having an independent advisor will ensure that the company doesn't try to lowball you on what you're entitled to. Typically, the insurer will try to delay the initial estimate as long as they can. This gives them the chance to find an issue with your claim so they can deny it. They are also likely to bog down your claim in litigation to avoid paying for it for as long as possible. That's where you need your own legal counsel to help you seek justice.

Our Services

At our firm, we focus on providing practical solutions to real problems faced by small and medium sized enterprises . We take pride in being accessible and responsive to our clients. At every stage of the process, we aim to deliver high quality service.

Our Services Include

• Advice on drafting and negotiating agreements

• Drafting contracts

• Negotiating and advising on commercial deals

• Advising on intellectual property issues

• Providing expert witness testimony

• Representation before the Australian Tax Office

• Legal representation during insolvency proceedings

• Litigation support

 If you're looking for professional advice or representation in business cases, consider a national law firm that can stand on your side. Give us a call today to discuss the details of your case. Let's arrange a meeting to better understand what we need to do to get you equitable settlement for your first-party dispute.

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