A broken window, a vandalized car, damage done to your home that will be excessively costly to fix: property damage can be devastating, and whether or not the damage was intentional, the person who caused it is the one responsible for covering the cost of repairs or replacement of damaged items.
But what happens when that person refuses to pay up? What happens when they deny responsibility? What happens when your insurance company refuses to take the claim? This can leave you in a precarious and frustrating position, financially and emotionally. This is when it may be time to consider taking the case to court. Yes, court cases can be long and taxing, and yes, hiring a lawyer can be expensive, but it can be worth it to get back what you lost. The legal fees may turn out to be a good investment.
If you’ve found yourself the victim of property damage and are considering taking the case to court, know that this is a reasonable step in many cases. But before you proceed, here are a few things to consider when hiring a property damage lawyer.
Find Someone with a Good Reputation
We are lucky to live in a time when virtually everything you need to know about a lawyer is available online at the click of a button. Not only can you look at the client testimonials that they will likely feature on their own website, but you can also look at other reviews and read about other cases in the news to determine how successful they tend to be and what kinds of cases they typically take on. Do some thorough research before settling on a lawyer (and if possible, ask for recommendations from friends and family members who have been through a similar situation). And make sure that, before you agree to hire a lawyer, you go for an initial consultation so you can get a feel for how they will approach the case.
Make Sure You’re on the Same Page
One of the most important things to keep in mind when hiring a property damage lawyer is to make sure that they are on the same page when it comes to your desired outcome for the case. Don’t let a lawyer pressure you to sue for an unreasonable amount; that may cause the case to drag on for too long, and you may be less likely to win. Conversely, if you feel like a lawyer is low-balling the amount of damage caused and how much you should sue for, it may be worth it to explore other options. If you are in constant disagreement with your lawyer, the case will be an unpleasant one and you may not be happy with the results.
Make Sure the Damage is Worth the Trouble
There is one step you should take before even hiring a lawyer, and that is to assess the damage to determine whether it’s worth even bringing the case to trial. If it is a small amount of damage, or if you feel you can cover the damage through insurance without trouble, a court case may not be worth it. You also have to consider how willing you are to sacrifice time, money, and energy to hire a lawyer to bring the case to court.
If, after careful consideration, you’re still uncertain, go for a consultation with a lawyer. They will provide some insight into the value of taking the case to court and whether it is worth pursuing.
The main takeaway in all of this is to do your research and to investigate each step thoroughly. Though you don’t want your research process to drag on for an excessive period of time, it is okay—and advisable—to take enough time to ensure you are confident and comfortable with the process and your choices, and that you have complete understanding of each step as you proceed. Property damage cmay be a headache, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life or your finances. With a well-reasoned process and a good lawyer on your side, you can win your case, get back what you lost, and move on from the situation.