Insurance is a contract-based risk-sharing business, and insurance companies
often fight to avoid payment by alleging that the claims are fraudulent.
While insurance fraud is a serious problem in this country, insurers use
such accusations far too often to deny legitimate claims. For homeowners
and businesses alike, securing sufficient coverage for water-related damage
is one the major battlegrounds.
Learn more about how we can help with
water damage claims and other types of insurance claims.
WATER DAMAGE: COMMON CAUSES
Include natural disasters, leaking pipes, malfunctioning household appliances,
overflowing septic tanks, clogged gutters, and bathtubs/showers/toilets
in need of repair.
Water intrusion is a common occurrence.
We've all seen sagging ceiling tiles or water stains on ceilings caused
by a leaky roof or a burst overhead pipe. However, repairing the roof
or fixing the pipe may not sufficiently address the damage. In all probability,
the ceiling sheetrock/drywall/plaster itself has been compromised and
should be replaced. The wood joists to which the ceiling is attached and
any attic insulation should also be carefully inspected and possibly replaced.
What if the water got into the duct work? A building's HVAC system
is very similar to a human's respiratory system and some serious health
conditions can result from breathing in air contaminated by stagnant water.
Major renovations (wood, tiles, paint, etc.) may be necessary to avoid
a significant health hazard, yet
few insurance companies will factor in these additional damages when they
make a settlement offer.
Damage Inspections: Taking a Second Look
Policyholders also may suspect that their water loss claims were wrongfully
adjusted because some adjusters are sent into the field without the tools
necessary to fully investigate the loss. There are several nondestructive
tools available for finding moisture hidden behind walls, roofs, ceilings,
and floors, most notably electric capacitance (EC), infrared thermography
(IR), and nuclear hydrogen detection (NHD). Without such a full inspection,
secondary problems often develop because the water and moisture never
get removed. There are numerous lawsuits nationwide involving flat roofing
systems and synthetic stucco systems because these building techniques
rarely give any visual clues as to their condition or the location of leaks.
Unforeseen Damage & Consequences for Businesses
Water intrusion can be especially devastating to a commercial policyholder,
whose very existence may depend on its insurer paying promptly and comprehensively.
The water itself can damage merchandise, equipment, and records, while
repairs can negatively influence income, production, and the ability to
fund payroll. There's never a good time for a business to close for
repairs, and even just a few days can result in losses that are difficult
to measure, such as the effect on customer loyalty, on key limited opportunities,
and on industry-specific factors. Though some commercial properties have
business interruption insurance, calculating the losses can be extremely
complex. Moreover, if the adjuster's investigation is inadequate and
additional damage surfaces later, closing temporarily for re-repairs can
easily become a permanent situation.
Fight for the Insurance Settlement that You Deserve
If, after your damages are properly documented, your insurance company
is still not willing to pay to restore your property to what it was before
the damage, it's time to seek legal help. An insurance attorney can
communicate with your insurer on your behalf, review your policy, determine
if there are other sources of recovery (such as a negligent contractor
or plumber), and file suit to enforce your rights.
If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact us by
calling 305-643-3100 or
filling out a free case evaluation form.
The information about past verdicts and settlements is based on the unique
facts of each case. Every case is different, and future cases may not
achieve the same or similar results. These amounts reflect the gross recovery
(before attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted).