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Insurance Disputes in Alabama

Tornado Insurance Dispute Attorney in Alabama

Helping tornado victims in Mobile and throughout Alabama recover from the storm

As of April 2019, Alabama had already seen 53 tornadoes – more than the yearly state average. According to the Weather Channel, 29 tornadoes occurred in March. One tornado in Lee County killed 23 people. Spring temperatures, combined with moisture, and strong “low-level” winds are contributing to the increase in Alabama tornadoes.

Tornadoes, unlike flood insurance, should be covered by your insurance policy, but that doesn’t mean your insurer will willingly pay out your claim. When they won’t play ball, you’re going to need an Alabama insurance dispute lawyer who will fight back for you. At Warhurst Law, that’s exactly what you’ll find. We’ve secured millions in recovery for our clients, including an additional $2.37 million for a commercial policyholder in Alabama who was originally offered $50,000. Call us today to schedule a consultation with Gene Warhurst or a member of our team.

Kinds of tornadoes

According to Live Science, “the worst tornadoes form from so-called supercell thunderstorms when warm, moist air is trapped underneath cool, dry air and when winds high up travel in a different direction than those at ground level.” They can happen any time of year, though spring tornadoes and midsummer tornadoes are more common.

Tornadoes are rated using the Enhanced F Scale, a “set of wind estimates (not measurements) based on damage.” The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses “three-second gusts estimated at the point of damage based on a judgment of 8 levels of damage to the 28 indicators...These estimates vary with height and exposure.” Based on those numbers, tornadoes fall into 5 categories:

  • F0: winds from 40-72 mph; 3-second gusts from 45-78 mph
  • F1: winds from 73-112 mph; 3-second gusts from 79-117 mph
  • F2: winds from 113-157 mph; 3 second gusts from 118-161 mph
  • F3: winds from 158-207 mph; 3-second gusts from 162-209 mph
  • F4: winds from 208-260 mph; 3-second gusts from 210-261 mph
  • F5: winds from 261-318 mph; 3-second gust from 262-317 mph

You can find NOAA’s 28 indicators here.

Our Case Results

$11 Million Hurricane
Hurricane Katrina property damage of New Orleans apartment complex settled pre-suit.

Katrina Settlement

$2.4 Million Settlement in Commercial Tornado Claim
Warhurst Law secured $2.2 million in additional recovery for a lumber mill damaged in a tornado.

Tornado Claim

$2.226 Million Fire Loss Settlement
Warhurst Law secured more than $2.226 million in additional recovery for a Baptist Church

Fire Loss Settlement

$1.3 Million Car Crash Settlement
Client was in a car accident resulting in severe brain damage.

Car Crash Settlement

$26 Million Hurricane Katrina Settlement
Hurricane Katrina loss of New Orleans Apartment complex previously offered $3 million.

Katrina Settlement

Types of tornado damage

Tornadoes, especially higher category tornadoes, can destroy anything in their path. The NOAA scale is not conclusive. Even in lower-level tornadoes, homes can be uprooted from their foundation. Structural damage is quite common. A common question after a tornado strikes a home or building is, Can the home/building be repaired – or is it better to just tear down the property and start over?

In addition to structural damage, any personal or business items in the home (called “contents”) are often damaged beyond repair. This includes furniture, computer equipment, clothing and personal possessions, appliances, inventory, tools, and equipment. Vehicles, which should be covered by comprehensive insurance, can also be damaged or destroyed.

Building contractors, engineers, and others are usually called out to investigate and analyze the structural damage. A skilled Mobile tornado claims attorney works with appraisers who can properly value the damage to personal possessions and other non-structural items.

Some of the many parts of the home that should be reviewed for any type of visible or hidden damage include:

  • The house’s foundation
  • Interior and exterior walls
  • Roof, siding, shingles, and other exterior features
  • Windows, doors, screens, and gutters
  • Utilities such as plumbing and electricity
  • Every other part of the home from the basement to the attic

Damages that should be covered

The homeowner or property owner policy insurance should cover the structural damage and the damage to the contents. Most policies have deductibles. All policies limit the maximum amount of coverage. In some cases, other polices may be applied to the damages, such as hurricane policies or comprehensive vehicle policies. The insurances should cover:

  • The cost to analyze whether repairs can be made or whether the home or property is beyond repair
  • The amount needed to make any repairs
  • The value of the home or property if repairs can’t be made
  • Living costs to move to a new place while the repairs are done
  • The cost of any continuing expenses such as mortgage, property tax, and utility payments
  • The value of the personal and business possessions that were damaged

Our skilled attorneys understand when you are entitled to replacement damages and not just to the fair market value of the damage item. The cost to buy a new home or new inventory is often much more than what your home or inventory is worth on the open market.

We also fight to get you an advance. In insurance dispute cases, the policyholder should be able to receive a partial payment for living expenses and continuing expenses while the repairs are being done.

Practical issues when tornadoes damage a home or property

Insurance disputes and advice are more than just arguing which policy applies and how much money you should ultimately receive. There are a lot of practical matters that can help validate your claim and minimize further damage. Odds are a tornado damaged many homes in a community. Your damage needs to be coordinated by federal and state agencies so that road access, utility damage, and other common issues can be addressed.

Why you want Warhurst Law to represent you after a tornado

Our lawyers explain when and how to document your damages through photographs, videos, and written reports. We explain (or have the professionals we work with explain) practical matters such as turning off utilities if they pose a safety risk, protecting the structure with a tarp or boarding it up, and removing wet items to a dry part of the house.

At Warhurst Law, attorney Gene Warhurst is able to negotiate strong settlements because of his unique understanding of the insurance claims process. In addition to advising clients about their legal rights for nearly 25 years, he also worked as a claims adjuster. By understanding how a claims adjuster approaches policy and damage issues combined with understanding the legal issues, Gene can cut through a lot of the red tape. His knowledge of both sides of the claims process also means he can anticipate and counter many of the tricks and methods insurance companies use to try to avoid paying you what you deserve.

When tornadoes lead to losses, Warhurst Law stands ready to serve

Gene Warhurst fights for policyholders when natural or accident disasters strike. We understand first-hand how crushing it can be to live in your nice home or work in your building, only to be uprooted after a storm. We understand that you get only one chance to settle your case or try your case, so you need to get all the damages right – so you can start over. To speak with a skilled Alabama insurance dispute lawyer, call us at 251-694-1932 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent businesses in Mobile and across Alabama and the Southeast.

* Warhurst Law cannot and does not guarantee an outcome to any case.