A Fort Lauderdale Fire Damage Attorney Can Help You Get the Compensation You Need to Make Repairs
For a homeowner, having a home damaged by fire is a devastating life event. The property damage from fire tends to be especially severe. Although homeowners insurance should cover the fire damage, recovering adequate compensation is not always an easy matter. The claims process can be difficult to navigate. Add to this the pressures of needing the repairs made quickly so that you have somewhere to live, and fire damage insurance claims can quickly become daunting. A Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney at the Maus Law Firm can help homeowners successfully resolve fire damage insurance claims. With our trial experience and knowledge of insurance matters, our firm should be your first call after your home suffers fire damage.
What is the Process for a Fire Damage Insurance Claim in Florida?
For a Fort Lauderdale homeowner whose residence suffers fire damage, getting the insurance process started should be a priority. After ensuring the safety of yourself and your family, you should take steps to ensure you receive adequate compensation from your carrier as soon as possible. The following are the basic steps for pursuing an insurance claim for fire damage to your home.
▪ Notify Insurance Company
One of your first actions should be notifying your insurance company to make a claim for the fire damage. The insurance company is obligated to respond and start the claims process within a reasonable timeframe. Your carrier should provide guidance on making an inventory of damaged property. The carrier should also give a timeline for restoration of the property, and it may recommend fire restoration companies. However, the policyholder should be wary of any settlement offers made at this point. The amount offered is likely to be too low. It is not in the policyholder’s interest to accept any settlement without fully assessing damages and speaking with a Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney.
▪ Assess Damage
The homeowner should make a list of all damaged property. Take photos of all damaged property and, if possible, make a video of the burned house. No damaged item should be discarded until it is documented. Also be sure to collect any receipts for out-of-pocket expenses. These expenses may be for repairs, replacement of items or relocation expenses while the house is restored.
▪ Consider Requesting Advance From Insurance Company
The homeowner may wish to request advance funds from the insurance company to cover immediate expenses that cannot be delayed. Examples of such expenses would be those for living arrangements, clothing and other basic items needed on a daily basis. Homeowners policies typically contain Additional Living Expense (ALE) provisions that will cover these costs.
▪ Submit Proof of Loss
Before making a final payment on the insurance claim, your carrier will need a Proof of Loss statement. This statement, which the policyholder signs under penalty of perjury, itemizes the damages. It goes without saying that all damages must be fully assessed before the Proof of Loss statement is submitted. You should have the guidance and counsel of a Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney before turning in your statement.
▪ Do Not Close Your Insurance Claim Prematurely
Although your insurance carrier may pressure you to close the claim quickly, you should not do so. Remember that the policyholder must consent to closing the claim – the insurance company cannot do so unilaterally. In addition, you have the right to accept partial payment while notifying your insurance company, in writing, that you do not consider the claim closed. However, instead of dealing with the insurer on your own, you are encouraged to work with an attorney who can take over all communications with the carrier. With your attorney’s help, you may also wish to hire a public adjuster to assess the damages independently of the insurance carrier’s assessment. Finally, do not sign any settlement agreement or release without first consulting with counsel.
How Can a Fort Lauderdale Fire Damage Attorney Help With the Claims Process?
After you make an insurance claim for fire damage, the insurance carrier can present obstacles to your fair recovery in several ways. For example, the carrier may make a lowball settlement offer or the carrier may make only partial payment and then pressure you to close the claim or sign a release.
A Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney can first analyze your policy and determine the full extent of your coverage. The lawyer can also take control of the claims process, including all communications with the insurance company on your behalf. It is always preferable for communications with the carrier to be in writing; however,it is better to have those written communications drafted by an attorney.
The attorney can also ensure that the homeowner meets all deadlines under the policy. In addition, the attorney can ensure the insurance carrier is meeting all of its obligations and processing the claim with reasonable speed. The final Proof of Loss statement is a very important document that must list all damages as accurately as possible. A fire damage attorney can ensure the Proof of Loss is as airtight as possible.
Perhaps most importantly, your lawyer can assess all settlement offers from the insurance company to determine if they are reasonable. If the carrier is considering a denial of any part of the claim, the lawyer can assess the carrier’s arguments and fight for the homeowner’s rights. If the carrier denies the claim, in full or in part, your fire damage attorney can take any legal action necessary, such as filing a lawsuit for breach of contract or insurance bad faith.
Speak With a Proven Fort Lauderdale Fire Damage Attorney at the Maus Law Firm
If you are having difficulty with your insurance claim for fire damage, contact the Maus Law Firm immediately to speak with a Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney. The claims process can be lengthy and complex and the stakes are high, so you need experienced counsel in your corner. To schedule a consultation, call 855-999-5297 or contact the Maus Law Firm online and let us help you get through this difficult time successfully.