Is seeking legal advice worth while regarding an insurer that is trying to get out of paying on a claim?

UPDATED: Dec 11, 2014

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UPDATED: Dec 11, 2014Fact Checked

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Is seeking legal advice worth while regarding an insurer that is trying to get out of paying on a claim?

We had a fire in our backyard originating from a green waste trashcan near our parked RV travel trailer. The travel trailer, not insured, was burned and deemed a loss. Additionally, I (the resident) sustained burns and injuries. Our homeowner’s policy states that it will only pay out $500 max for damage or loss to a trailer on personal property (it was purchased 5 months ago for $12,000). It seems not only has the insurance company dragged its feet for the past 5 weeks but it is also now trying to get out of the claim. Is this worth while getting an attorney for advice or action against our insurance company for the value of the travel trailer, as well as any personal property destroyed by the fire?

Asked on December 11, 2014 under Insurance Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What was the current fair market value of the trailer, as of when it was burned (the purchase price is irrelevant; it's the then-current FMV that matters)? And what was the then fair market value of any property lost? Generally, a lawyer will run you for even simple cases (assuming the other side doesn't simply "roll over" and give up quickly) $3,000 - $6,000 (that's a rough ballpark; lower and higher are both possible). If the total value you are trying to recover is over that, it's probably worth hiring an attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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