A question lawyers representing insureds often must answer when preparing for trial in a first-party property insurance claim is, “In what capacity can I use the public adjuster as a witness?” In Pennsylvania, the Court of Common Pleas for Lycoming County has stated that a public adjuster on a contingent fee may not testify as an expert.


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In a time where expert reports are more the norm than the exception, it’s important to remember that a great expert report is only as good as the expert delivering it. Delivery here is being used in the sense of delivering a timely, well written report and verbally delivering a succinct explanation of the methodology used to reach the conclusions at a deposition.


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As promised yesterday in Wildfire and Smoke Claims – A Case Burning With Issues That Public Adjusters Should Study, today’s post will be the first study from the recent decision in Falcon v. State Farm Lloyds.1 The initial question is how long has the expert has been doing what he is asked to do. The fire in Falcon involved a September 2011 wildfire in Texas.


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Insurance companies and their attorneys bet they can beat me for a living – they are professional litigators and have a frequent motive to deny or underpay claims. My firm and I are in their way from profits and bad publicity for their manner of delay and denial way of life in the insurance claims business. It is a high stakes game and a very competitive forum where winning is everything – to prove who is “right.”

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When suing to recoup roof replacement costs in the Lone Star State you need an expert to prove up damages. Texas courts won’t consider a homeowner’s testimony as competent evidence where a roof was replaced and there was a question of the reasonable and necessary cost of the replacement. In Wortham Brothers, Inc. v. Haffner,1 property owners sued their roofing contractor for negligent roof replacement for two of their properties. The trial court entered judgment in favor of owners and awarded treble damages. On appeal, the contractor prevailed when the court determined the necessity of complete roof replacements and reasonableness of replacement roof costs were matters of specialized and technical nature that had to be established by expert testimony.


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