Fort Lauderdale First Party Storm Damage Lawyer
While Florida enjoys a pretty mild climate year-round, the state is also subject to getting hit by some pretty horrible storms and hurricanes. Residents maintain homeowners’ coverage designed to protect them in the event a storm hits, the plumbing bursts, or there is a fire. So, what do you do when you suffer damage after a storm? You need to file what’s called a first party storm damage claim with your insurance company.
In addition, it’s important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale first party storm damage lawyer who can examine your policy language and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
What to Do After a Storm Damages Your Property
If your home suffered damage during a storm, you need to immediately file a claim with your insurance company. This is what’s known as a first party claim because you are making the claim directly on your policy as the claimant. This is different from a third party claim where you might pursue damages from someone else who caused you harm, like in an auto accident where you were injured.
Next, you want to take all precautions to safely protect your property from any further damage. Once the storm has completely passed, document all your damage with photos and/or video. You should start taking a written inventory of all your damage and keep it in a safe place so you can refer to it and provide to your insurance company.
If your insurance company provides you with documents, like when an adjuster comes out to appraise the damage, put all that information in your folder as well. If you have any expenses you’ve incurred to start repairs or keep the house from sustaining further damage, keep copies of all expenses and receipts.
It’s also wise to keep a journal of all the communications you’ve had with your insurance company and assigned adjuster. Insurance companies keep detailed notes of conversations, so you need to protect yourself and verify you have a written record of what was said.
In some cases, your insurance company may deny your storm damage claim or offer you significantly less than the claim is worth. This is when you definitely need an attorney on your side. You have rights under your policy, and in some cases, your insurer may have unfairly denied your claim, unreasonably delayed settlement, or made you a lowball offer. In this case, you may have grounds to file a bad faith claim against your insurance company.
What is a First Party Bad Faith Claim?
If your insurance company acted in bad faith per the policy agreement, then you have the right to sue for breach of contract or bad faith. This is for situations where the insurance company misleads you or intentionally delays payment on a perfectly valid claim. Bad faith laws in Florida also allow you to recoup legal fees and costs if you are successful.
Retaining a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer
Pursuing a first party storm damage claim or bad faith action can be complex, which is why you need to speak with an experienced attorney who can examine your policy’s language and look at how the claims process was handled. If you need assistance, contact The Pendas Law Firm today at 888-LPENDAS (573-6327) to schedule an initial consultation.