After a fire, homeowners have a lot to contend with. They must repair their homes, replace damaged property, and deal with the emotional stress of living in a disaster area.
However, insurance companies often undervalue, deny or prolong fire damage claims. An experienced lawyer can help.
Homeowners are often overwhelmed after a fire, trying to get their lives back together and find the money to pay for alternative living expenses, rebuilding, or replacing their lost belongings. They do not have time to deal with insurance companies that take too long to acknowledge their claim, drag their feet on paying them, or, even worse—deny their fire damage claims entirely.
Some common reasons that insurance companies deny or undervalue a fire damage claim are:
Having a lawyer familiar with the complexities of homeowners’ policies and how to interpret them can help you avoid these traps. They can help you understand your policy, file the claim promptly and avoid missed filing deadlines, which many insurance companies will use to deny your claim.
They can also assess all settlement offers from the insurance company to determine if they are reasonable. If they are not, your lawyers can take legal action to pursue compensation for your losses.
Expert witnesses are professionals with specialized skills who can help a judge and jury make sense of factual evidence in a case. For instance, experts may testify about the cause and manner of the accident, the extent of the property damage, or the claim’s value.
An expert witness can be a valuable asset to your case, particularly in complex condos cases. This is because the condominium’s insurance may cover some damage, and the individual unit owner’s policy might cover other damage.
However, it’s important to note that the expert witness must meet specific requirements under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Specifically, an expert witness must disclose the facts or data that form the basis of the expert’s opinion. Additionally, expert witness should not give their opinion on matters of hearsay during direct examination. This is known as vouching and can be grounds for a ruling that the testimony is inadmissible.
Fires cause billions of dollars in property damage yearly, and the cost of putting homes and lives back together can be enormous. Policyholders must file insurance claims and secure adequate compensation to recover these costs.
Unfortunately, some insurers will try to deny or undervalue claims. They may find loopholes in the policy wording or accuse a homeowner of arson, among other things. A seasoned bad-faith insurance lawyer can help clients handle such unreasonable behavior.
A homeowners insurance attorney such as Schilling & Silvers PLLC can also assess settlement offers to ensure they are reasonable. If an insurance company refuses to pay, a lawyer can file an insurance bad faith lawsuit to hold the carrier responsible for its actions. Fortunately, most homeowners’ insurance policies include language that pays for prevailing parties’ attorneys’ fees in such cases. Therefore, hiring an experienced property damage attorney is a worthwhile investment. It can significantly increase the chances of a successful outcome.
You paid into your homeowner’s insurance policy and have every right to expect that it will cover you when you need it. Unfortunately, many insurance companies deny or underpay claims and stonewall policyholders.
An experienced fire damage insurance lawyer will help you understand the full scope of your coverage and ensure that your claim is filed promptly. They will also assess any settlement offers from the insurer and ensure they are reasonable. Your lawyer can take appropriate legal action if the insurance company engages in unreasonable denial of your claim or bad faith settlement practices.
Valuing your loss can be complicated and involves several factors, including contractor cost estimates, replacement value assessments for personal property, and market value appraisals for real property. An attorney will also assist you with a claim for additional coverages such as debris removal, temporary repairs to prevent further damage, and code upgrades. If a condo policy is involved, your lawyer may need to work with a condominium association attorney to ensure that all relevant property damage is covered.