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Flood Claims Dispute Attorneys in Florida

Helping flood victims across the Panhandle, the Gulf Coast, and other Florida regions

Flooding is a natural consequence of disaster, both man-made and natural. Flooding is especially common in Florida where summer hurricanes and flash floods pour into homes, streets, and communities in minutes.

Attorney Gene Warhurst works aggressively when natural disasters strike. Since 1995, he’s helped flood victims in Florida verify the cause of the water damage so you can avoid complications down the line. At Warhurst Law, we work with water damage remediation professionals, contractors, and appraisers so that you get the right damage settlement or award for home repairs and for damage to all the contents that are destroyed from the flood. If you’ve sustained losses, contact us today. We’ve obtained millions of dollars on our clients’ behalves, including $2.568 million in additional funds to policyholders who suffered damages related to flooding.

Verification of the damage

After a flood, policyholders should call an experienced insurance dispute lawyer as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to make sure your insurance policy is in order. Photographs and videos should be taken of all the damage to the inside of the home or building and the outside. The images should show the height of the water, the surface area, and all the places that had water damage but may now be drying out. Homeowners should make a detailed list of all the damaged items and if possible, detail when they were purchased, from where, and for how much.

It is critical that your home be inspected and examined so that the extent of the damage and any hidden damage can be analyzed. If may be necessary to contact FEMA, Florida, or local officials to properly secure the property and dispose of damaged items (after the photo/video stage is complete).

Qualified emergency personnel should explain what safety steps should be taken, including whether the homeowner or business owner should:

  • Turn off the water supply
  • Turn off the electricity
  • Vacate the property

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 flood damage

Floods cause different types of damage, including the following:

  • Structural damage to the home. Flooding is likely to cause damage from the bottom up – from basement to the lower floors. Flooding damage from a hurricane can enter the home from any point: the roof, the windows, the doors, and any open areas or leaks. All parts of the home should be inspected, including:
    • Walls
    • Floors
    • Roof and ceilings
    • The plumbing
    • The electrical components
    • Insulation
  • Damage to the contents. Homeowners, business owners, and churches should make a habit of regularly documenting their inventory before any storms, hurricanes, or other disasters cause flooding. If there is no inventory, the owner will need to document the damaged items through:
    • A written list called a proof of loss statement
    • Photographs and videos
    • Records to show when and where the items were purchased and the receipt or invoice price
    • The cost to replace the items – which is normally much more than what the owner originally paid for the item
  • Mold damage. A professional will need to verify that the mold is due to flood damage and not to other causes such as poor home construction or improper home maintenance.
  • Odors. Flood damage can cause horrific smelling odors which need to be taken care of due to any garbage, sewage, or silt.
  • Business interruption. Business owners may need to cease operations or move to a temporary or permanent location while the repairs are being made. Business owners may need separate business interruption insurance. Your Florida insurance lawyer can explain which policy (the flood insurance policy or another policy) applies.

Why Florida flooding is so dangerous

Most homeowners’ policies do NOT provide flood protection – even if the flood is due to rain or storms. Property owners need to acquire separate flood insurance from private insurance companies backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is administered by FEMA. The terms of coverage and protection vary and should also be reviewed by legal counsel beforehand.

The NFIP generally defines flooding as being due to full or partial “inundation” of multiple areas or multiple homes (including yours) due to “Overflow of inland waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, and mudflows.” Some of the causes of floods include:

  • Hurricanes
  • Heavy storms and heavy rains
  • Storm surgeries
  • Overflowing bodies of water
  • Dams that break
  • A lack of vegetation
  • Urban drainage basins made from concrete

Another cause, not too common in Florida but not unheard of, is melting snow and ice.

Determining the value of the damage

Unless you’ve made a claim for a loss before, you might be surprised to know just what your policy covers. Here are a few of the losses you can claim.

The cost to repair the property

Ideally, the homeowner can restore his/home to pre-flood conditions with the help of contractors who specialize in water damage and flood repairs. Insurance disputes often revolve around:

  • Who should be hired to do the repair work
  • The scope of the repair work
  • The amount the contractors should be paid for doing the work

In some cases, the extent of the damage may not become clear until the contractors start the repair work. Repair damage should also include:

An advance to cover living expenses while the repairs are being made

Many homeowners will need to move to a hotel or another location while the repairs are being made. Most policies will cover this. The same may be true for business owners who need to continue to operate while their property is being repaired.

Contents damage

Along with the physical property, you can make a claim for all of your personal and business possessions, too. This includes clothing, jewelry, furniture, electronics, tools, equipment, inventory, and so forth.

The loss of value of the home if the repairs can’t adequately solve the flood damage. This damage can be claimed if part of the home becomes inhabitable or unsellable.

Attorney Gene Warhurst worked as a claims adjuster before launching his legal career. He understands that floods are traumatic experiences. They cause extensive damage, and removing the water isn’t easy. Repairing the structures damaged by the leaks requires working with professional engineers. It takes the right resources and the right understanding of contract law to place the correct value on your damaged home, building, furniture, equipment, and other contents. When you’re facing a flood loss in Florida, Warhurst Law stands ready to protect your rights.

Hire a Florida insurance lawyer who understands what you’ve lost

Flooding causes a lot of damage. Work with a team who can help you get back on your feet. To discuss your insurance claim rights, call Warhurst Law at 251-694-1932 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent flood victims throughout the Florida Panhandle and Gulf Coast including those who live in Panama City, Apalachicola, Pensacola, and Port St. Joe.

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

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