What’s a Public Adjuster? Ask the Insurance Lawyer

memphis insurance lawyerHave you ever heard of a public adjuster? Most people have not. When you file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance carrier, the company assigns an employee–called an “adjuster”– to investigate and handle the claim.   The adjuster’s duties might include, among other things, to visit the damage site, to take photos, to hire and analyze data from cause and origin investigators, to parse what part of your damage is covered vs. what is not covered, and to coordinate with damage estimators and/or potential contractors.

At some point, the adjuster will arrive at some plan of action to ultimately resolve your claim. This could range from supervising re-construction or repair, to simply giving you a check and letting you oversee your own repairs.

What if you disagree with the insurance company adjuster?

But what happens when you disagree with the adjuster?  What if you believe the amount you’re being offered is a low-ball offer, is based on estimates from contractors who you think aren’t “up to snuff” so to speak, or  is based on a scope of repair that you don’t believe fully remedies your problem?

What do you do?

Well, you can always call a lawyer.  That’s a given.  However, you might be better served to first consider a less “nuclear option” than going legal.   Indeed, you might first consider utilizing the services of a public adjuster.

What is a Public Adjuster?

A public adjuster is a licensed professional who works exclusively for the public as a counterweight to the in-house adjuster who is employed by your insurance company. Read more about public adjusters over at the Tennessee Insurance Litigation Blog by clicking here.

Need an Insurance Lawyer?

If you have an insurance claim that you’ve been unable to resolve, call us at (901) 372-5003 or email us here.  Do not delay. There are deadlines in insurance policies that you don’t want to miss. Visit out website to learn more about us.

 

Conversation with a Doctor Who Wanted to file Malpractice Suit

John Day is one of the most well-known medical malpractice attorneys in Tennessee.  He is also one of the leaders in our profession when it comes to exploding the myths and misimpressions that underlie much of society’s false assumptions about medical malpractice lawsuits.

In his blog post today over at Day on Torts, John details a conversation he had with a doctor who came in wanting to file a medical malpractice action in connection with the wrongful death of his father.  The conversation (and John’s commentary) is quite enlightening, and it details quite nicely the challenges, risks, and assumptions that must be overcome by lawyers and/or litigants in this arena.  I highly recommend taking a few moments to read it.

The Worst Question for Direct Examination at Trial

In law school, you’re told over and over again in trial advocacy class — “Don’t lead the witness. Let him/her tell the story. The lawyer isn’t supposed to be the one testifying.”

Sounds easy enough, right?  Well, it’s actually harder than it sounds to guide a witness through a story and get a coherent point across, and so most lawyers rely on a old crutch: when all else fails, simply ask your witness “So what happened next?”

The problem is that our crutch may not really be all that “tried and true” according to Elliot Wilcox at the Winning Trial Advocacy Tips Blog. In fact, Mr. Wilcox contends that “What happened next?” might actually be the worst question you can ask.  Specifically, he writes:

It doesn’t give the witness any guidance at all. When you ask the witness to tell you what happened next, you’re not doing anything to narrow his range of responses. Technically, there may have been a million different things that happened “next.” Which one do you want the witness to talk about?

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“What happened next?” is simply too broad a question. It allows for a whole world of possible responses. If you want to help your witness tell his story more effectively, give him some idea of what he’s supposed to say by focusing his attention toward a narrower range of responses. Instead of asking, “What happened next,” ask something like this:

  • “Where did you drive to next?”
  • “Who did you speak to after that?”
  • “What was the next test you performed on the substance?”
  • “How does the man in the white jacket react?”
  • “Let’s focus your attention on the operating nurse. What does she do next?”

See how the questions direct the witness towards a limited area?

Read more here.

Chris Patterson quoted in Memphis Daily News

Chris serves on the Memphis/Shelby County Charter Commission.  In the most recent Commission meeting, the members were discussing how to handle hiring/firing issues (i.e. civil service protection) in the to-be-proposed consolidated government. 

Apparently, the unions were there protesting in an attempt to secure greater protection for employees than what is available in the private sector.  Specifically, a top union official observed that many of his friends ask him for help in getting a government job because they know they can’t fired like they were from their job at a private company.

At which point Chris responded:  “What is it about a government job that deserves more protection than an equal job in the private sector?”

Good question.  I think the union official may have inadverently stumbled upon the problem.