Fire Loss Insurance Dispute Attorneys in Alabama
Helping policyholders recoup their losses after a fire in Mobile or throughout the Southeast
In 2017, fires took more than 3,000 lives nationwide. There were over a million fires that were reported. Nationally, fire losses according to FEMA, totaled $23 billion for the year. In 2016, Alabama, West Virginia, and Alaska had the most deaths per million population due to fires in the United States.
At Warhurst Law, we’re ready to move quickly when fires ravage your home, any buildings, and any items in the path of the blazes. That means working with federal and state investigators to determine the cause of the fire, assessing which items can be saved, the cost to repair or rebuild, and the value of your possessions. Our Mobile insurance dispute attorneys can move quickly because attorney Gene Warhurst worked as a claims adjustor before starting his legal practice nearly 25 years ago. He understands when insurance companies aren’t negotiating fairly and how to get the compensation our clients need after a fire:
- $1.79 million in additional funds for a church fire
- $973,003 in additional funds for a church fire
- $$483,019 in additional funds for a residential fire
- $395,329 in additional funds for a residential fire
The initial investigation
Normally, the local fire department, the police, and any local or state agencies will work to put out the fire as quickly as possible. The owner, insured, and government officials will also work to examine:
- How the fire started
- What the structural damage to the property is
- What is the likelihood of another fire and any other safety issues such as electrical or plumbing damage
- Whether the property should be covered or boarded up
There may be other immediate issues that need to be addressed depending on whether the fire was confined to just your home or to multiple residences and buildings.
Factual and legal items that need to be resolved after a fire
Fires destroy homes and businesses. Many policyholders suffer unbearable losses including damage to furniture, appliances, personal possessions, and personal memories, and some may sustain serious personal injuries, as well. Our Alabama insurance dispute attorneys understand the steps insurance companies take to try to deny claims or to reduce the amount they should pay out. Our lawyers penetrate the smoke of unjustified disputes to aggressively help owners get the benefits they paid for. Some of the common disputes we fight to resolve are:
- Whether the cause was accidental or intentional. Insurance companies often try to deny their duty to pay by asserting that that fire was an act of arson. Our Mobile lawyers work with private and public investigators to verify the fire was due to an accident or to factors outside of the control of the owner.
- What items can be saved. Once the fire is extinguished, homeowners and property owners need to determine whether their home or building can be saved. Often, fires cause hidden damages to structures requiring that part or all of a residence or building be rebuilt from scratch. Most personal possessions damaged by fire need to be replaced.
- What damages are covered. We anticipate the argument by insurance companies that your homeowner’s or property owner’s policy only covers fire damage. We explain that, in most cases, water damage and smoke damage should be covered too.
- Temporary expenses. Often fire victims need to relocate until a decision can be made by the homeowner, insurance company, and government inspectors as to what should be done with the property. If repairs are needed, the victim and the family usually need to stay elsewhere while the work is being done. Insurance policies should cover the cost to live in and move to a temporary location. Also, victims may need to pay for new clothes and personal items if they were damaged in the fire. Owners and family members should keep receipts for all new purchases.
- How value is determined. Ideally, your policy provides that that you have the right to replace any items that are damaged instead of just getting the value of those items. Replacement costs are normally much more than fair market value costs.
- Verification of damaged possessions. You should have an inventory of your personal and business possessions when you first buy the insurance policy. You should also make an inventory of the possessions you assert were damaged - as soon as you can after the fire.