A fire on your private or commercial property is a devastating disaster. Suddenly, your regular routine is halted, you have to reorganize your usual activities, get estimates for repairs or replacements, file claims with insurance claims adjusters, and possibly move your family or business to a new location while overseeing reconstruction of the damaged property.
Coming up with the funding for all this disruption and rebuilding may be as simple as making a claim and collecting checks, or it may become much more complicated, legally speaking. If someone else was liable for the damage, you may need to initiate civil litigation. To pursue compensation from your own property insurance and/or the insurance company of a liable party may result in complications, as insurers try to pass the buck to each other. Protect your investment with the help of our skillful, determined insurance claims attorneys. Eric Townsend, Esq., at the Law Eagles can help ensure that you know your rights and stand up for them.
Considerations In Home Fire Insurance Claims
If you have ever known anyone who lost their home to a fire, you may have witnessed the ongoing stress they lived under for some length of time. The costs in terms of time and anxiety in your case may include:
- Extensive negotiations with the insurance claims adjusters
- Disputes that may arise between you and the insurer
- Any lawsuit and/or appeal that you go through in pursuit of adequate and appropriate repair or replacement for your home
- Legal and practical aspects of recovering from physical and emotional injuries
Did anyone in the home suffer from smoke inhalation? Does anyone need trauma counseling to recover? Your home fire insurance does not likely cover such things. You may have health insurance that will cover your injuries, but the health insurer is likely to look for ways to limit the benefits it pays out. Insurers may ask if someone’s negligence was responsible for the fire? If so, you may need to work on a claim or lawsuit with the help of a plaintiff’s attorney. Ask a personal injury lawyer to help you evaluate the facts and look for other insurance coverage you may have. Was the fire caused by a utility company’s error? There may be a class action lawsuit that you can join, or you may be able to start one as the lead plaintiff.
You will need to complete documentation of your losses, including an inventory of contents damaged or destroyed in the fire. This can be more difficult than you might imagine. If you kept videos of every part of your house, this process may be straightforward. If not, you may find it helpful to interview members of your family who have spent time in your house to help you remember all items that were lost in the fire. Losses may be irreplaceable or may take time and money to replace, such as:
- Jewelry and clothing
- Paintings and artwork
- Furniture and decor
- Personal documents
- Recreational equipment
Your insurance may cover the dwelling, other structures on the property, personal property, and additional living expenses, such as rental fees for where you will live until your home is repaired or replaced.
Justifying your claim will include getting estimates using actual cash value, policy limits, or fair market value methods. An insurer is required to work with you in good faith and treat your interests as if they are as important as their own. The insurer has 40 days to deny or accept your loss claim, with additional 30-day extensions granted with good reason.
Beware of this common problem: The insurer may have reduced the benefits available to you by changing the kind of policy you have without giving you proper notice. You may be able to take legal action if it did not notify you clearly of such a change.
After a Business Property Fire
Your business property fire insurance may cover the following:
- One or more buildings
- Installed machinery or equipment
Your business property insurance may also cover business personal property, including:
- Furniture, machines, stock ,and personal property that you used for business purposes
- Customers’ property or property owned by other people that was at your place of business
- Improvements that you made to the property as a tenant, if the property was leased
To get back on your feet as expeditiously as you can, advice and representation from a qualified insurance claims attorney will help you understand your business property coverage, including:
- The type of coverage that you have or should have been offered
- Business interruption
- Ordinance and law coverage (to enable your business to rebuild according to current building codes if those differ from rules at the time your property was originally built)
Cut to the Chase with the Help of the Fire and Smoke Attorneys, Law Eagles
The information on this page is in summary form and may not apply specifically to your situation after a home or business fire in California. For help interpreting your insurance policy or policies, preparing a loss claim, negotiating with claims adjusters, and resolving claims disputes in your favor, contact California Fire Damage attorney, Eric Townsend by phone at 619-359-0206 or send us a message.