If your home or business has been damaged by fire, it is critical for both you and your insurance company to act quickly to ensure that the claim is handled properly, and just as importantly, that you are able to secure alternative living arrangements immediately, if appropriate. A fire can, of course, destroy everything you’ve worked your whole life for, from your home to your personal belongings, including irreplaceable objects, in a matter of minutes. But even when a fire doesn’t destroy the entire structure of your home or commercial building, the damages sustained may very well extend far beyond the immediate area of the fire, whether due to smoke damage from the fire or water damage from the firefighters who are doing their job.
For residential fire claims especially, it is important that you create a contents inventory—if one doesn’t already exist—as soon as possible after the fire. Preparing a thorough and accurate contents inventory list from scratch after a fire, however, may be extremely difficult or impossible when your home or business and everything in it is damaged beyond recognition. Regardless, the insurance company and the assigned adjuster will require that you provide such a list, including estimated values, while also requesting proof of purchase (e.g., receipts, etc.).
Fire claims for which the insured property may be salvaged or repaired still must be adjusted properly by the insurance company. Accordingly, it is important that the carrier or adjuster assigned by the insurance company utilizes the appropriate experts, including in part, fire causation experts, certified industrial hygienists or other water damage experts, damages experts, etc. Failure to do so may cause your insurance company to not address significant areas of damage to your property.
If the insurance company tells you your claim has been assigned to a Special Investigative Unit (SIU), what does this mean for your claim? It means that something, at least in the opinion of the insurance company, has raised an alert that the reported loss may have occurred due to fraud, either by the insured or a third party. If you have been notified that an SIU adjuster has been assigned to your claim, you should expect that the carrier will perform a much more thorough investigation than is typical. The investigation will likely include extensive background checks and even surveillance. You may be asked to submit to questioning before a court report (i.e., examination under oath) and be asked for extensive documentation regarding your background (e.g., financial documents, phone records, etc.). It can be quite stressful for an insured to know his or her rights under such a situation, and whether it is appropriate to comply with the insurer’s requests or whether it’s better to object.
At Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, we have represented both residential and commercial property owners with their fire insurance claims for more than 15 years. The attorneys at Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, know how to respond to the insurance company’s tactics when it fails to properly adjust or pay your claim. Don’t fight back alone if your insurance company has treated you unfairly after a fire. The insurance companies have expensive experts who work exclusively for their benefit. Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, has formed relationships with qualified experts who are willing to work for insureds (not just the carriers) when homeowners or business owners have been lost property to fire. We will aggressively pursue your rights owed under the insurance policy if your claim was delayed, underpaid, or denied.
Because of the large amount of damage, many insurance companies may act in bad faith to save money. Our team of qualified lawyers is prepared to help all persons who encounter difficulty with their fire damage claims, but we are especially committed to assisting those who have needs incurred in the wake of:
$65,000 at Mediation for Home Fire Claim
After paying policy limits to insured for fire and smoke damage to dwelling, insurance company argued smoke damaged contents could be successfully cleaned and paid only $4,278.67. Obtained additional $65,000 on behalf of client for replacement of smoke damaged contents.
Whether you smoke or not, everyone can be affected by accidental fires started by smoking. In fact, smoking is the number one cause of preventable fatal home fires. When people who smoke flick their cigarettes near buildings or whenever anyone falls asleep while smoking, there is a risk of a fire starting. As such, many states have implemented “fire-safety” cigarettes to curb cigarette fires, but unfortunately, this has not stopped cigarette fires in homes and commercial buildings from occurring.
If your business or home was destroyed or damaged by a fire started by a cigarette, you will probably need to rely on your insurance company to help you deal with the damage. Unfortunately, many insurance companies attempt to deny or underpay claims. When this happens, it is important to have an attorney on your side, helping you pursue the compensation you may be due. For a free consultation, contact the Dallas fire insurance attorneys of Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, today at (713) 999-5085.
Even if you don’t smoke, there is a chance that a smoking fire can be caused by someone who does smoke. Some ways people try to prevent smoking fires in their homes and businesses include:
Unfortunately, even when people take steps to prevent fires, they can still occur. At that point, it is important to have an insurance company that will do their best to help you recover much-needed compensation.
If your business was harmed by fire due to a cigarette or other tobacco smoking near or in your building, your insurance company should be able to help you cover the costs. But, if your insurance company has attempted to deny or underpay your claim, contact a Dallas fire damage attorney of Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, at (713) 999-5085 to work on potentially taking legal action to get the payment you need.