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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.).
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.
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.
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 (214) 308-2027.
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:
Prohibiting indoor smoking
Providing outdoor ashtrays
Posting signs encouraging people to use ashtrays
Staying alert to potential dangers, such as people trying to smoke in the building, and flicking lit cigarette butts near the building
Keeping the area surrounding the building free of dry brush and leaves
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.
Electrical fires can begin for a number of different reasons. Typically an electrical fire can be traced back to the following issues:
Issues with fixed wiring in the home, such as old wiring and light switch and electrical outlet malfunction
Faulty electrical wiring in power cords
Faulty light fixtures and light bulbs
Misuse of electrical outlets, such as overloading circuits and running cords underneath carpet or rugs
Every year, approximately 26,100 electrical fires are caused by these problems, costing nearly $1 billion in total for Americans and untold physical and emotional suffering.
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 (214) 308-2027 to work on potentially taking legal action to get the payment you need.
Many families are devastated each year by fires that ravage their homes. At Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, our legal team has represented a great many of these unfortunate families and individuals, and we have compiled the following list of preventative measures that you should take to avoid finding yourself in a similar situation.
Make sure to put smoke detectors at strategic areas around the house, including the kitchen and bedrooms.
Do not leave the kitchen while cooking.
Do not leave lit candles unattended.
Regularly check that your smoke detectors are working properly.
Make sure that fire extinguishers are readily available in the kitchen and in the garage.
Have your heating elements and radiators inspected regularly.
Cover your fireplace with a metal screen.
Though the tips mentioned here can be very helpful in preventing some of the most common causes of house fires, there are still situations in which fires cannot be avoided. In these cases, families should be able to rely on their home owner’s insurance to provide an adequate settlement to help them recover.
Cooking fires can start suddenly and spread quickly. The most common reasons fires break out in the kitchen include:
Placing flammable items or cooking equipment near active stove
Wearing loose, hanging clothing while cooking
Forgetting to turn off burners, stoves, and ovens
While no one expects a fire to happen while cooking, insurance is designed to protect against unexpected disasters. That is why it is so important for insurance companies to provide the necessary financial relief when a cooking fire causes devastating damage to someone’s property.
At Grisham & Kendall, PLLC , a Dallas fire damage lawyer is dedicated to helping individuals who have been wrongly denied or underpaid by their home insurance company. If your home was damaged in a fire and your insurance company is failing to pay your full coverage, contact us today at (214) 308-2027.
The state of Texas has suffered a large amount of damage from wildfires over the past year because of severe drought conditions. In 2010 alone, Texas experienced an estimated 16,000 wildfires that damaged over 750,000 acres. Recent wildfires in 2011 have damaged close to 1.4 million acres of land already. Because wildfires can cause significant damage to your home, it is comforting to know you are covered by insurance in case of a fire.
Unfortunately, though, many insurance companies act in bad faith in times of crisis, either significantly underpaying or even denying your claim. This could leave you with tens of thousands of dollars in damage that you have to pay out-of-pocket. You do not have to suffer any longer. To get the benefits you need on your wildfire claim, contact the Dallas wildfire lawyers of Grisham & Kendall, PLLC today at (214) 308-2027 and schedule your consultation with a qualified legal representative.
Wildfires are becoming an increasing problem for areas all over the country and most recently in Texas. The path of destruction a wildfire can carve is vast, and even a home is not burned to the ground, it may sustain significant damage from the smoke and soot are spread for miles by the blaze. Homeowners have a right to compensation from their insurance companies when their home is damaged by the residual effects of wildfires and the terms of the policy provide for this. Regrettably, homeowners who are already reeling may encounter resistance from an insurance company acting in bad faith.
If your home was damaged by smoke and soot, contact the Dallas wildfire insurance claim attorneys of Grisham & Kendall, PLLC, to speak with a qualified attorney who can help you to pursue the insurance benefits you are rightfully due. Call our firm today at (214) 308-2027.
Smoke, soot, ash, and other particles can settle into homes and landscapes when there is a wildfire nearby, causing extensive damage to many different parts of the home. Some of the issues with which a homeowner may have to contend are:
Damage to swimming pools caused by ash and soot buildup in filters and pumps
Lawn damage from fire-fighting chemical dumps
Buildup of ash and soot in crevices, storm drains, attics, and crawl spaces
Smoke damage to carpet, drapes, and linen
Ash and soot contain toxins that can be very damaging to a number of items in and around the home. Getting damaged items replaced is an expensive but necessary task after a wildfire, and homeowners ought to receive the insurance benefits which they are rightfully due.