Dealing with the aftermath of a fire is by no means an easy task. As a homeowner, you may not know who to turn to or what steps you should take during this trying time. Everything may seem confusing and perplexing, but you shouldn’t lose hope because we are here to encourage you and protect your best interests.
At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we have helped homeowners throughout Miami and Florida after dealing with severe losses from fires. Regardless if the fire was caused by an accident or a known event, you can trust our property damage lawyers to be there for you when you need a shoulder to lean on.
By contacting our Miami fire damage attorneys, you can be confident that you’ll get the best legal advice and representation in relation to fire damage claims. We will get to hear your side of the story and walk you through all your legal options – discussing how you can recover from the tragedy and what you can do next.
You can contact Klotzman Property Damage Law at 954-915-7405 to talk to a qualified and experienced fire damage claims attorney.
What Are Common Causes of Fires?
There are many fire hazards facing homeowners and businesses in Florida. Some of the common causes of fires include:
- Misuse of outlets or faulty electrical wiring
- Negligence, such as leaving candles or cigarettes burning
- Water heater and furnaces
- Gas fires
- Faulty consumer products
What Do I Do if My Property Has Sustained Fire Damage?
If your home or business was damaged in a fire, here are the steps you need to take.
Contact the Police and Fire Department
The first step is to contact the Miami Police and fire department. The goal is to have them investigate and determine the cause of the fire. You need proof of what caused the damage for your claim to be approved.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Homeowners’ insurance policies demand that any form of property damage is reported as soon as possible after an incidence occurs. With that said, it’s important to immediately inform your insurance company that your home has suffered fire damage.
Document the Damage and Your Expenses
Take photos and videos showing the damage caused by the fire. Keep a list of all the belongings that were damaged or destroyed. You should have a professional building inspection done as soon as possible.
Keek a record of all extra expenses incurred due to the fire. If you hired a clean-up crew, document it. If you had to live in a hotel for a while, document it!
Contact a Fire Damage Lawyer
Our Miami fire damage attorneys will help you draft your claim with accurate information that will secure you the right compensation. Contact Klotzman Property Damage Law to talk to highly-qualified and component fire damage attorneys.
How Does a Fire Claim Work?
There is no “one size fits all” claim process for property damage that involves fire because there are many types of damage that your residential property in Miami can sustain. If only certain parts of your property are damaged in the fire, you qualify for compensation for partial loss. You can be compensated for total loss if the insurance company determines that your home can’t be repaired.
The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights in Florida, the home insurance company should acknowledge your claim within 15 days after you communicate with them. The law gives the insurance company 30 days from when you submit a proof of loss statement to assess your claim.
After investigating, the insurance company may inform you whether your claim is partly or fully covered, denied, or whether further investigation is underway. The insurance company should offer a full or partial settlement within 90 days.
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. Our Miami fire damage claim lawyers are ready to fight for you.
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.
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 Fire Damage Covered by My Homeowner’s Insurance?
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover fire damage. But, these policies are not always clear and straightforward as they ought to be. Certain clauses of these policies may limit the scope of coverage or the insurance provider may offer themselves a ‘backdoor’ or an out by refusing to cover damage that results from a fire that was caused by particular circumstances.
Even when you believe that you have a valid property damage claim, your insurance provider is likely to complicate and prolong the claims process. They may not pay you a sufficient amount to cover the damage or they may try to argue that your property hasn’t sustained a lot of damage even though it’s obvious that the cost of fixing your house is much greater that the value of the underlying structure.
In some instances, insurance providers totally refuse to cover the damage, citing clauses that absolve them from any liability. This is why it’s very important to work with a competent and experienced fire damage attorney when dealing with insurance companies.
Why Was My Fire Claim Denied?
As a profit-oriented business, it is in the best interest of your insurance company to avoid payouts to homeowners who file fire damage claims. However, this is not a justifiable reason to deny a claim. Many states, including Florida, have implemented an Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act. This law aims to protect policyholders from deceitful or wrongful actions of their insurance companies.
Some common forms of unfair handling of claims include:
- Delaying the settlement or valuation of a claim by alleging arson or fraud was the cause of the fire
- A clear violation of the terms of the insurance policy
- Threats of prosecution to the policyholder in an attempt to lower the payout
- Denial of a total loss claim despite supporting evidence
- Failure to investigate in a timely manner
- Undervaluing damaged property
If you believe your insurance company has undervalued or wrongfully denied your claim, our team is more than willing to help you out with your case.
How Can a Miami Fire Damage Attorney Help Me With My Claim?
Fire damage lawyers who handle fire claims are familiar with all the tactics employed by insurance companies. Luckily, their extensive legal knowledge allows them to protect the rights and interests of their clients.
Evaluating Your Insurance Coverage
Homeowner’s insurance is complicated and can be difficult to understand. A fire damage attorney can accurately interpret what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t.
A fire damage lawyer does a thorough investigation of the fire, what caused it, as well as the overall damage your property suffered. By relying on sound opinions from various experts in the fire prevention and control industry, attorneys can identify the true cause of the fire and the actual extent of the damage.
All of this information will be extremely useful when filing your claim.
Compensation claims are often settled through negotiations. Our Miami fire 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 have the expertise to prepare and bring the case to a civil court.
Fire the Best Fire Damage Lawyers in Miami!
Our fire damage insurance claim attorneys in Miami have tons of experience dealing with insurance companies and identifying the tricks they use to avoid payment. Our law firm is committed to helping homeowners get the compensation they truly deserve.
If you are looking for competent and experienced fire damage attorneys in Miami, look no further than Klotzman Property Damage Law. Contact us at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free case review and learn more about our legal services.