The area of law encompassing insurance in general as well as insurance policies and even claims against an insurance policy is rightfully called insurance law. If you have a problem regarding insurance, whether it be in regards to regulating insurance policies or with the handling of a claim, an experienced Washington insurance law lawyer can help.
Insurance is available for almost any type of peril or danger, including natural disasters, theft, property damage, fire and even personal injury claims. The purpose is to protect you in case something damages whatever property you have insured.
Insurance law governs how policies are written, the duties and obligations under individual insurance policies as well as the protection you can receive against third party claims. Insurance law can also protect insurance companies against fraudulent insurance claims.
If you receive a claim denial, whether it's for car, health, homeowners, disability, or any other kind of insurance, you likely have the option to appeal. If you believe your denial was illegal or your insurance provider was acting in bad faith, you should consider consulting with an attorney to discuss your options. In some cases, you will be able to handle the appeal yourself.
This is where it's important to read the fine print. Every insurance policy — health, home, renters, car, disability, etc. — will list instances in which your coverage is not valid. For example, some health insurance policies cover certain surgeries, but not physical therapy. It's important that you understand what your policy does and does not cover.
This is best left to your best judgment. If you anticipate having trouble affording premium payments, then you may have no choice but to pay for less coverage. However, if you think that there is a chance that you will need coverage, and any losses will far exceed what you pay in premiums, you should consider purchasing more. Take your budget into account.
It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you've suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:
Depending on your specific legal situation, it's possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.