Property Damage Attorney
For most people, purchasing a homeowners insurance policy provides a sense of security related to potential property damage claims. But in truth, property damage claims are rarely straightforward. Insurance companies do not always look out for the best interests of their insureds which creates the very real potential for a claim to be denied, delayed, or underpaid.
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A we take on the challenge of holding insurance companies responsible for what should be paid to our clients for their property damage claims. Ensure your insurance company holds up its end of the bargain, with legal assistance from our property damage attorney team.
Property Damage Attorneys Led by Experience
Our property damage team is led by Jonathon W. Douglas. Mr. Douglas has first-hand knowledge of how the insurance industry works from the inside out. He has represented some of the largest insurers in the State of Florida and will use this insight and understanding of how insurance companies handle disputed insurance claims to help you during your time of need.
When to Hire a Property Damage Attorney
Insurance companies are for-profit companies that will do everything possible to minimize their outgoing costs. Natural disasters such as Hurricane Ian can leave Floridians facing losses of up to $47 billion. In such cases, insurers will try to manipulate, deny and undervalue their customers. Here are some signs that it’s time to hire a property damage lawyer:
1. If Your Claim Has Been Denied
Call a property damage lawyer fast if your insurance claim has been denied.
There are very few reasons why your claim should be denied entirely, yet insurance companies try it in the hope that their customers will accept it and move on.
In most cases, denials are unjust and in bad faith. Our property damage attorneys can reopen your case and prove that you require compensation to repair or rebuild your home.
2. If You’re Asked to Sign a Release
If your insurance company asks you to sign a release soon after the damage causing event (or if you still have unresolved damage) such as a storm, then alarm bells should be ringing. Call an attorney so they can review your settlement.
Just because the storm has passed doesn’t mean the damage has. A release is simply a trick to lure you into limiting how much the insurer owes you.
3. Your Claim Has Been Undervalued
Call a property damage lawyer fast if your insurance company fails to provide coverage for the entire loss.
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to cut corners on their estimations to minimize their outgoing cost. But in reality, you will be left to pay out-of-pocket for the remaining repairs and replacements.
An attorney can reveal the true valuation by using independent assessments, contractor quotes and specialists.
4. Negotiations Are At a Stand-Still
Insurance companies are great at negotiating with regular homeowners but not so much with attorneys. Their mind games, manipulation and power tricks don’t go far vs. professionals.
The mere presence of an attorney can help get negotiations moving in the right direction, as the insurance company knows there’s no point messing around anymore.
5. You’ve Been Delayed or ‘Ghosted’
Contact a property damage lawyer if your insurance carrier is acting in bad faith.
- They must initiate adjustment within 60 days after you file your claim.
- They must tender initial payment within 30 days of you submitting valid proof of loss.
If your insurance company is not responding or has failed to meet the deadlines, then they must pay your claims. They may also be required to pay penalties and attorney fees.
6. You’re Advised Not to Use an Attorney
Red flag! You always have the right to use an attorney in a property damage claim. If you’re told otherwise, it means the insurer is trying to hide or get away with something. They cannot and will not penalize you for using an attorney. If that happens to you, think of doing the opposite fast!
7. You’ve Been Pushed to Admit Fault
Insurance companies try to trick homeowners into admitting fault to avoid paying out.
You might be asked to admit that you left a door or window open, or that you didn’t realize the damage existed long in advance. Most likely, this isn’t true.
We know navigating these allegations is challenging, but don’t give in. Contact a property damage attorney so they can take the fight on your behalf.
8. You’re Bullied or Manipulated
Finally, if your insurer is pressuring you, emotionally bullying you or using any other dodgy tricks, then call a property damage lawyer as soon as possible.
Don’t feel like you’re overreacting. We understand what you’re going through. This is your home on the line, and you deserve the maximum possible settlement.
Common Types of Property Damage:
Florida property owners know all about the devastating effects of hurricanes and storms. Sadly, insurance companies do not realize the real devastation storm and hurricane damage can have on homeowners. At the homeowners time of need, insurance companies have been known to not appreciate the entire scope of loss. Some examples include:
- Stating the damage does not exceed your deductible
- Frustrating you through poor communication, so you accept a lower offer
- Claiming there isn’t legitimate proof of your damages
- Blaming you for poor maintenance
- Claiming you missed out on information when you bought the policy
- Claiming the damage was caused by “flooding,” which isn’t covered in homeowner policies.
We’re well accustomed to these tactics and will help you navigate the process to find success. Contact a storm & hurricane insurance claim attorney today.
Fire damage can be one of the most devastating types of property damage. Fires can rapidly destroy entire buildings, leaving huge repair costs. Sadly, insurance companies are notoriously well skilled at placing the blame on property owners. If your claim has been undervalued or denied, we will fight for you to hold the insurance company accountable for the payments they are responsible for. Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes adjust claims in ‘bad faith’. This means they may have engaged in:
- Ignoring or undervaluing property damage
- Unreasonably reducing, denying or delaying payments.
- Making allegations of arson
- Using threatening behavior in attempts to reduce the payments
- Violating the terms of the insurance policy
- Frustrating you, in an attempt to make you accept a low payment
If you haven’t yet filed a claim for fire damage, then you should use a fire damage attorney to help collect critical evidence and prepare a complete claim to submit to the insurance company.
Many insurance companies deny, delay or low-ball property owners for mold damage caused by hurricanes, storms and floods. Our property damage attorneys regularly take on insurance companies to help property owners receive the financial recovery they deserve from their policies.
Our property damage attorneys offer a realistic chance at fighting insurance companies off during roof damage claims. From documenting your current situation and preventing further damage, to ensuring you get fair compensation, we will help make your roof damage claims process smooth and problem-free.
Here in Florida, we have more sinkholes than anywhere else in the country. Regardless of their size or visibility, they can tear buildings part. Unfortunately, insurance companies attempt to construe the policy language and statutory wording of what sinkhole damage is to justify denying sinkhole claims.
Our sink hole damage attorneys can prepare a winning strategy to help you rebuild. We’ll seek to ensure your insurer’s interpretation of your policy and Florida law is fair and appropriate which will help to secure the full payment you’re entitled to.
Property damage caused during a burglary is not just frightening; it is often costly. However, insurance companies often look at the weaknesses in security and place the blame on the owner. An adjuster may also overlook damage or undervalue your stolen items. Our property theft insurance claim attorneys won’t fall for these tactics and will use persistence to get you the money you deserve.
Tree damage claims are more complicated than they seem. Roots and overhanging branches tend to cross over property lines, leaving tense disputes over which property owner is liable. Various factors will determine who is at fault, such as neighbors ignoring prior warnings, unclear property lines and policy interpretation.
You should contact an attorney that specializes in tree damage so they can collect case-winning evidence quickly.
Water damage can occur suddenly and without giving you a chance to react. The damage varies from small isolated areas to severe structural damage. The insurer will usually send an adjuster to your property to analyze the damages, and the associated costs. Sadly, the adjusters are working for the insurance companies, not you. They often ignore damage that isn’t visible or attempt to avoid providing coverage based on alleged policy exclusions.
You need a property damage attorney that handles water damage to ensure that the language used in your policy isn’t being exploited and misinterpreted and to check you’ve received a fair evaluation and compensation.
The majority of Florida residents know all too well about the costs of wind damage. However, insurance companies rarely pay out the sum that their clients need. They do this often through the following methods:
- Using out of state adjusters who are unfamiliar with Florida building codes.
- Incorrectly claim that under 25% of your roof is damaged, to avoid the full replacement that is necessary by law for more than 25% roof damage.
- Blame the damage on wear and tear.
- Blame the damage of design or installation defects.
- Claim the damage was caused by flooding, which may not be covered in your policy.
Some of the most frequent claims handling issues we see are claims that are either denied or underpaid by the insurance company. The denial or underpayment of claims occur for many reasons; however, the homeowner does not have to bear the financial and emotional burden of the insurance company’s wrongful claims handling.
While it may seem that the insurance company has the final say on the value of a claim, this is simply not true. It is always imperative to seek a second opinion on a denied or underpaid homeowners insurance claim. Rarely do insurance companies pay full value for a claim. But rest assured, there is always a chance to battle a denied or undervalued claim. Seeking legal assistance from a property damage attorney can help turn a claim in your favor.
Reopening Old Property Damage Claims
In many cases, it is possible to reopen an old insurance claim. This is called a ‘Supplemental Claim.’ If you believe you were unfairly denied a claim or underpaid, then contact Jonathon W. Douglas so he can help you recover the money you’re entitled to.
You should contact an attorney that specializes in wind damage so they can collect case-winning evidence quickly.
Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A offer free consultations for anyone in need of a property damage attorney. Call Jonathon W. Douglas at (727) 381-2300 if you need legal assistance or have any questions.