This is a new series devoted to public adjusters. The purpose is to share your stories and to tell others about your cases and clients. I want to make this a place where information can be shared and the industry examined for the benefit of field advocates fighting for policyholders.
“Case Law:” you have probably heard this term a lot and chances are that, if you are reading this blog, you are familiar with insurance case law. Client claims can turn into case law or “common law.” When a court issues an opinion and it is published, the rules of law applied to the facts of the claim become case law. Generally, the opinion includes past claims opinions for support. The facts and the rulings are used or cited by lawyers as guides for future cases. When I am making an argument or I need to find out how the courts are dealing with an issue, I research the case law. Using a favorite legal research database, I can do a keyword search, statute search, or even list a name of a party to find out about the cases in state or federal courts.
Often, the difficult part is when I have persuade a court that a particular legal issue is the same or different from the cases which have come before the court or a higher court. The published opinions include rules of law and facts particular to the case. The facts detailed in opinions really matter and make a difference.
For instance, when I am looking to find authority to help my client, I want to find favorable cases that have similar facts, and I want distinguish cases with unfavorable opinions. The particular facts of the opinions I use must be explained to the court in a pleading or in an oral argument. The judge needs to see how the case law relates to my client’s situation so the right ruling can be made. Also, case law is used to show why an action requested by the insurer should not be granted. To do this, I try to show how the cases relied on by the other side do not apply to my client’s case.
Case law research has become much easier through the use of online databases. With the right app, I can even find a case on my cell phone. It’s pretty amazing. Legal research databases are a valuable learning tool. Many times, the lawyers and clients who make the case law pave the road for a successful resolution of my clients’ claims.
I believe and online database for public adjusters could help in the same way. An online forum where public insurance adjusters could share information about current cases, insurance experts, and outcomes could help us all to represent our clients more effectively. An adjuster’s background and individual experiences can contribute significantly to how a claim is presented. Sometimes, a different outlook or opinion can make a big difference in the presentation of a claim. Hopefully, this series will provide such an opportunity
So, I’ll be here on Saturdays to facilitate this information sharing. Discussions of difficult claims, behind-the-scenes public adjusting, and the untold facts behind a claim resolution will benefit us all. So, send me an email, or call me at (813) 415-8758. I look forward to this new forum.