A fire in your commercial or residential property is devastating. It is an experience that comes with different emotions, including anxiety and stress. Whether you have suffered minimal fire damage or total loss, dealing with an insurance claim is challenging.
If your Florida property has been damaged by fire, you need the services of a highly experienced Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney. With an attorney by your side, you will get all the benefits of having someone with legal knowledge. Remember, fire property damage claims are complicated because it is a process that involves investigations.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we have one focus, which is to recover the maximum financial compensation possible for our clients after their property has been damaged by fire. We have represented many business owners and homeowners in the past and recovered thousands of dollars in compensation for their fire-related property damage. We have years of experience and know what is required.
As a property owner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you pay premiums to an insurance company, trusting that they will be there when you lose some of your personal belongings in a fire. However, things are not always that straightforward. That is because the insurance company will try to deny or reduce the compensation amount.
To avoid this, call us today at 954-915-7405 and we will help you. Do not worry because we offer a free case evaluation.
What Are Common Causes of Fires?
There are many fire hazards facing homeowners and businesses in Florida. Some of these include:
- Electrical fires – caused by misuse of outlets or faulty electrical wiring
- Negligence, such as improper candle support, cigarettes, and so on
- Water heater and furnace fires
- Explosions and gas fires
- Fires caused by faulty consumer products
- A wildfire caused by lightning
It is important to note that fire causes different kinds of damage. For example, a small fire can create a lot of smoke, causing smoke damage.
What Should I Do If My Property Has Sustained Fire Damage?
The steps you take after a fire can either make or break your compensation claim. For this reason, it is important to know the steps to follow to prevent being denied compensation for the damage caused. Below are the steps you should follow.
Contact the Police and Fire Department
The first step is to contact relevant authorities. These are the police and fire department. The goal is to have them investigate to determine the cause of the fire. You cannot get compensation without an investigation report from the police.
Inform Your Insurance Company
After a fire, it is important to inform your insurance company immediately. This is the time when you will be required to file a fire insurance claim. It is important to note that Florida has a robust fire insurance system in place.
After the fire, notify your insurance company and set up a building inspection to determine the extent of the damage. Try to contact a restoration professional as soon as possible to find out the duration of the rebuild. This will help you arrange for temporary shelter.
Determine the Extent of the Fire Damage
Before you begin the restoration process, it is important to know the extent of the damage to your property. A professional inspector will go through the whole house to determine the structural stability and damage of your home. This will include columns, load-bearing walls, attic joints, beams, basement retaining walls, roof structure stability, and others. Try to find out how much work is needed.
Contact a Fire Damage Attorney
It is important to allow an experienced Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney to work on your compensation as you work on restoring your property. The lawyer will make the whole process faster and prevent you from being denied compensation.
Keep a Record of Everything
Remember, keeping a record of everything is more of ongoing activity from the moment you file an insurance claim. Take pictures, keep receipts, retain invoices, and record all bills and paperwork. In other words, you should keep documents related to the restoration of your home. These documents play an important role in the claim process.
How Does a Florida Fire Claim Work?
After you have submitted the insurance claim, the insurance company is supposed to recognize the claim within 15 days. After this, they have up to 40 days to approve or deny the claim. If the claim has been approved, they have up to 30 days to reimburse you.
If the claim is denied, you have the option to take legal action. This is where Klotzman Property Damage Law flourishes. We will help collect evidence and anything else needed to fight for your rights. Remember, determining liability after a fire can be quite complex, especially for those who are not experienced.
If an insurance company denies your claim or fails to fairly compensate you in a timely matter, you have the right to hold the insurance company liable and gain an opportunity to be awarded damages.
If a fire has not completely destroyed your property, you will qualify for a partial loss. This type of claim creates several issues if not handled correctly. As such, it is important to first determine the areas that have been damaged before filing for a partial loss.
Our Fort Lauderdale fire damage lawyers are ready to offer assistance.
Does Smoke Damage Count As Fire Damage?
Smoke damage and fire damage are two different things. However, it is important to note that where there is smoke, there is some kind of heat or fire, no matter how small.
There are few catalysts for smoke damage. These include:
- Improper ventilation
- Burning items
- A fire (no matter how small)
Smoke damage is defined as any structural or physical harm caused by smoke and not the fire itself. Smoke will not destroy property like the way a fire can. However, the devastation can be severe, especially if you are dealing with soot. The soot will coat some items and leave others with a persistent odor.
There are four types of smoke damage:
- Dry smoke
- Wet smoke
- Protein residue
- Oil/fuel residue
NOTE: A majority of insurance policies will cover both fire and smoke damage.
Is My Fire Damage Covered By My Insurance?
If you are a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the chances are you have homeowner’s insurance coverage. Because of this, you are wondering what types of fire damage are covered by your policy. Well, the policy covers the following.
The insurance policy will cover the loss of personal property like furniture, clothing, and appliances. If these personal properties are lost completely, the insurance company may help replace them.
Some insurance companies’ policies will include detached structures like sheds, fences, detached garages, and others.
The homeowner’s insurance will help cover the damage to your home. It will include the garage if it is attached to the home. If the home is destroyed, the insurance policy may cover additional temporary living expenses and food.
Some homeowners’ insurance policies will cover lawn damage such as shrubs and trees.
Why Was My Fire Claim Denied?
Insurance adjusters are trained to find ways to decrease, devalue, or deny your claim. Below are common reasons why a fire insurance claim can be denied.
- Failure to investigate the cause of the fire
- The insurance claims that the damage was pre-existing
- Lack of documents to support the claim
- Insurance claims the home was old and needed to be upgraded
- You took too long to file the claim
- Alleged violation of the insurance policy
- Accusation of arson or intentional damage
- Unreasonable claim
- Homeowner negligence
How Can a Fire Damage Attorney Help Me With My Claim?
A Fort Lauderdale fire damage attorney offers many benefits to you after a fire. Below are a few ways a fire damage lawyer can help you.
Because you cannot be awarded compensation without an investigation, our lawyer will aggressively investigate your claim. We will help compile all the necessary documents needed to maximize the value of your claim. The lawyer will also bring fire experts to strengthen your claim.
Compensation claims are often settled through negotiations. Our Fort Lauderdale, Florida property damage lawyers will present your case to the insurance company with the aim of resolving the case before it goes further. We will make all efforts possible to resolve the issue out of court while ensuring you get fair compensation for your property damage.
When negotiations fail, the next step is going to court. Our lawyers will help prepare and bring the case to a civil court.
Contact our property damage lawyers today for a free case evaluation and legal advice.
Call a Fort Lauderdale Fire Damage Attorney Today!
Fire-related damage is complicated because of hidden damage. If your Fort Lauderdale property has been damaged by fire, our team at Klotzman Property Damage Law can help.
We will bring on experts who know where and how to look. We will help you recover compensation for the damage caused by the fire. Because we understand how difficult it is to find the right property damage lawyer for you, we offer free consultation sessions where we evaluate your claim, answer questions, and advise you on your legal options.
Call us today at 954-915-7405.