Storm Damage Insurance Claim Defense
The Worst is Over Now: How a Florida Storm Damage Lawyer Can Help You Navigate the Aftermath
Florida is no stranger to storms. From hurricanes to tropical storms to floods, the Sunshine State faces some of the most severe weather in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these storms cause extensive property damage and interrupt business.
If your home or business has been affected by a tropical storm or natural disaster, you may be wondering what steps to take next. Even if you know what those steps are, dealing with the aftermath of a storm and talking to insurance companies can be stressful and overwhelming.
That’s where lawyers come in. A Florida storm or hurricane damage lawyer can answer your questions, help you file a property damage claim, and inform you of your legal rights.
Keep reading to learn more about what weather events cause property damage in Florida, what steps to take after damage occurs, what a storm damage lawyer is, and how a storm damage lawyer can help you file claims, deal with insurance companies, and get adequate compensation.
Reasons You Might Need a Storm Damage Claim Lawyer in Florida:
- Frequent Denials or Delays: Given Florida’s vulnerability to storms, insurance companies often become stringent, leading to frequent denials or delays in settling valid claims.
- Complex Policy Interpretation: Storm damage clauses can be convoluted, requiring a keen understanding to ensure rightful compensation. Legal expertise is crucial to navigating these complexities.
- Inadequate Assessment: Insurance adjusters may undervalue the extent of the damage, leaving homeowners under-compensated. An attorney can challenge such assessments.
- Distinguishing Damages: Differentiating between damages from the storm and those due to wear and tear or other causes can be contentious. Legal representation ensures the distinction is clear and fair.
Why Call Leader, Leader & Zucker for a Free Consultation on Storm Damage Claims in Florida?
- Unrivaled Experience: With years of experience in Florida’s storm damage landscape, Leader, Leader & Zucker brings a unique blend of local insight and legal acumen to the table.
- Client-Centered Approach: Recognizing the emotional toll of storm damages, we provide empathetic, comprehensive support, treating each client as a part of our extended family.
- Transparent Evaluation: Our free consultation provides an honest assessment of your claim’s viability and the best strategies for resolution.
- Dedicated to Excellence: At Leader, Leader & Zucker, we don’t just represent; we fiercely advocate. We dive deep, ensuring every aspect of your claim is meticulously addressed, striving for the optimum outcome you deserve.
What Are Some Common Causes of Storm Damage in Florida?
In Florida, many severe weather events can result in damaged property and even personal injury and death, including:
- Hurricanes and tropical storms
- Heavy rains
- High winds
- Lightning strikes
Each event is a natural disaster, and property owners should treat them as such. If such an event affects where you live, own a rental or vacation home, or operate a business, there are specific steps you should take.
What Steps Should You Take After Property Damage Occurs?
Let’s say your property has suffered Florida storm or hurricane damage. In such a case, there are several steps you should take to protect your legal rights and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Document the extent of the damage.
Take photographs and videos of any damage to your property, using a measuring tape or another object for scale if necessary. Then, list any items that have been damaged or destroyed. Include everything from pool cover damage to a windblown roof.
Contact your insurance company.
Notify the insurance companies behind any insurance policies you have of the property damage as soon as possible and provide them with all relevant documentation. If you notice any further damage later, document that and update your provider.
Keep all receipts and records.
Keep track of all expenses related to the storm damage, including repair costs, temporary living expenses, and any other costs associated with the recovery process.
Consider hiring a lawyer.
As we will discuss in more detail below, an experienced attorney can help you easily navigate the insurance claims process and help you seek compensation.
Don’t sign anything without having a lawyer review it first.
Be wary of signing any documents or agreements without consulting a lawyer. Insurance companies will often try to settle a claim quickly and for less than they’re worth, so it’s important to have an attorney review any proposed settlements before you agree to accept them and potentially waive your right to take further action.
Speaking of lawyers, let’s back up and talk about what storm and hurricane damage lawyers do.
What is a Storm or Hurricane Damage Lawyer?
A storm or hurricane damage lawyer is a licensed legal professional who specializes in helping clients who have suffered property damage or other losses due to severe weather.
Lawyers can provide guidance, assistance, and moral support in understanding your homeowner’s insurance policy, dealing with insurance companies, filing claims, and navigating the legal system. A lawyer with Florida law experience can also help you understand your legal rights and options and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Types of Storm and Hurricane Damage Can a Lawyer Help With?
Florida storm damage lawyers can assist clients with filing a property damage claim related to almost any kind of natural disaster, including:
- Hurricane damage
- Tornado damage
- Flood damage
- Hail damage
- Wind damage
- Lightning strike damage
- Fire damage
- Mold damage
- Roof damage
Even if you don’t see the damage you’ve suffered on this list, you can consult with a lawyer to see whether filing a claim is worth your time.
What Types of Claims Can A Lawyer Help You File?
A severe storm can cause more issues than most people realize. Luckily, a lawyer can help with a wide range of issues related to severe weather damage, including:
- Significant property damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe weather events
- Flooding caused damage and water damage from heavy rainfall
- Wind damage to roofs, windows, and other structures affected by heavy winds
- Damage from fallen or uprooted trees or other debris
- Business interruption losses due to storm, water, or wind damage, power outages, heavy rains, or other weather-related disruptions
No matter what storm damage claim you wish to file, a lawyer can help you understand what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers, seek compensation, and work with your provider to get it.
Why Are So Many Insurance Companies Difficult to Deal With?
If your property has suffered a storm or hurricane-related damage, you may assume that your homeowner’s insurance covers the cost of repairs as long as you have paid your insurance premiums and filed a storm damage claim. After all, your policy exists to provide coverage.
But even if you have hurricane coverage or another type of insurance, your provider may not pay out. Providers want to deny claims to protect their bottom line whenever possible, so they often include extremely limiting terms in their insurance policies and avoid paying claims.
Even if your provider approves your storm damage claim, insurance adjusters often try to minimize the payout for a claim. Whether an adjuster does this in bad faith or not, minimizing their company’s liability is a part of their job and comes with the territory.
How Can a Storm Damage Lawyer Help You Deal with Your Insurance Company?
Just as insurance companies are weighing risks against rewards, a lawyer’s job is communicating and negotiating on their client’s behalf. An experienced lawyer can help you communicate with your insurance provider, navigate the claims process, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
A lawyer can also help you understand your legal rights and options if your provider denies a claim or offers a low settlement. For example, you may be able to file an appeal arguing that your provider acted in bad faith by denying your claim or calculating an insufficient settlement offer. We’ll talk more about the claim filing and appeals process next.
What is the Process for Filing an Insurance Claim for Storm Damage in Florida?
So your property is damaged. If you have what you think is the right type of wind, storm, or flood insurance, you’re probably ready to seek compensation. Here are the general steps involved:
Notify your insurance company of the damage to your property.
Provide documentation to support your claim if necessary. This documentation typically includes photographs and receipts.
Work with an insurance adjuster.
Once you have notified your provider of the damage to your property, it will assign an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and determine the amount of compensation they believe you’re entitled to.
Your insurance company will either approve your claim, deny your claim, or offer you a settlement amount.
Seek additional compensation.
If you believe your provider denied your claim in bad faith or offered you an insufficient settlement amount, you can negotiate with your insurance company or take legal action.
The process for filing a claim for storm damage in Florida can be complex and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how a lawyer can help.
How Can a Storm Damage Lawyer Help With the Insurance Claims Process?
A storm damage lawyer in Florida can help you with every step of filing a hurricane or storm damage claim, including:
- Reviewing your homeowner’s insurance policy and other insurance policies, such as flood insurance, to ensure that you’re covered for the specific type of damage you’ve suffered.
- Filing or re-filing a claim with your insurance company.
- Providing documentation and evidence to support your hurricane or storm damage claim, such as photos of wind or flood damage, estimates from contractors, and receipts for any necessary repairs.
- Negotiating with your insurance company to ensure that you receive a fair settlement for your damage claim based on your policy.
- Appealing a claim denial or low settlement offer.
This may sound like a lot to keep track of, but a good lawyer can help you do everything you need to do to recover your losses.
What Happens if Your Insurance Claim is Denied?
If your insurance claim is denied, don’t worry—you still have options. A lawyer can help you understand what your legal options are and, if you decide to fight for fair compensation, challenge the denial.
Your lawyer may be able to negotiate with your insurance company, file an appeal, or even file a legal complaint alleging that the insurance company violated the terms of your policy in bad faith. But of course, you will be less likely to face claim denial if you choose the right lawyer.
How Do You Choose the Right Lawyer to Help with Your Insurance Claim?
Hiring a lawyer usually pays off in the long run, but you should exercise caution when deciding which lawyer to go with. When choosing a storm damage lawyer, there are three key factors to consider.
First, consider their experience. You need an experienced lawyer with a track record of success. Ask your friends and family if they know of any good lawyers who are well-versed in Florida law, read online reviews, and make a list of lawyers in your area. Many lawyers will offer a free consultation. If any of the lawyers you are considering offer free consultations, schedule one and ask if they have successfully filed claims like yours.
Second, find out what their area of expertise is. Look for a lawyer specializing in storm and flood damage cases rather than a generalist who may not have the same knowledge about weather-related insurance claims.
And third, look for a lawyer with excellent communication skills. You need a lawyer who communicates clearly and succinctly, responds to your questions and concerns, and updates you regularly throughout the process.
No matter what, don’t be afraid to ask questions, trust your gut, and continue your search if the lawyers on your original list don’t seem like a good fit.
How the Right Lawyer Can Help Make Your Life After the Storm Easier
Natural disasters and storm surges can wreak havoc on your property and life. But with a lawyer’s help, you can easily navigate the claims filing process and effectively communicate with your insurance provider.
With the right lawyer, you’ll have a better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. Then, you get your home, business, and life back on track.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does it cost to hire a storm damage lawyer in Florida?
A: Many storm damage lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you receive a settlement. A contingency fee is based on a percentage of the total settlement amount and typically ranges from 20% to 40%.
Q: What if my insurance company denies my claim?
A: If your insurance company denies your claim, a storm damage lawyer in Florida can help you appeal the decision and fight for the compensation you deserve.