Smoke & Fire Damage
It can be devastating to witness your home or business going up in flames. After the fire subsides, you can be left with a heap of dusty items that will soon need to be fixed or replaced. Fire and smoke can swiftly destroy everything you cherish, and sorting through the losses can be an emotionally trying obstacle. How can you ensure that you receive the financial support you need at this time?
At William Terry, P.A., Vero Beach insurance claim attorney William Terry understands the challenges of recovering after a fire strikes your property and how the situation can worsen after your insurance company denies a valid insurance claim. A policyholder who loyally pays costly premiums shouldn’t undergo greater stress after a severe loss. William Terry fights back against unjustly rejected claims by helping homeowners in the claims process receive a fair settlement for their losses.
Why Was My Fire and Smoke Claim Denied?
One of the top reasons homeowners seek legal representation for a homeowner’s insurance claim is because the insurance company denied a seemingly valid claim. Your insurance claim for fire and smoke damage may have been dismissed due to:
- Arson allegation
- Valuation differences
- Insurance policy violations
- Fraudulent accusations or charges
What to Know about Smoke Damage
While the fire may have severely affected a specific area of your property, smoke damage is much more sinister. Smoke creeps into every crevice, nook, and cranny in a home, meaning even if there was no immediate fire damage to an item, the smoke that persisted after the flames waned could have tarnished it.
Far worse than harmless vapor, smoke is composed of toxic chemical compounds that can corrode nearly anything it touches. The heat from a fire propels the smoke, distributing it through every room in the house. Clothing, rugs, carpeting, bedding, curtains, and other fabric items absorb the odor like a sponge, rendering them unbearable to the sense of smell. Soot can also damage electronics, air conditioning units, heaters, walls, and even floors by discoloring marble and tile surfaces.
Smoke damage is often an afterthought during the insurance claims process; and in many cases, homeowners dispose of items damaged by smoke right away to get rid of the smell. After a fire, homeowners are advised to keep all affected items until a fair settlement is reached.
Partial vs. Total Loss
Your home or business property may be declared a partial or total loss depending on the extent of the damage the property sustained. If the fire failed to completely destroy a property, policyholders face a partial loss.
It’s up to the insurance company to determine that a property is a total loss; if you suspect that your property has sustained significant structural damage, you may benefit from working with a public adjuster to assess the full extent of the damage to your home or business. An insurer is more inclined to declare a total loss if the catastrophe compromised the property’s foundation.
During a partial loss, the insurance company may hesitate to act quickly considering the structure is still intact. William Terry, P.A. believes that losses of any size should be a high priority. He will fight to ensure you receive a prompt and fair settlement following a partial or total loss.
Why Hire a Property Insurance Lawyer for Fire Damage?
All too often, the insurance companies homeowners rely upon after a fire reject claims by offering less than they are worth or denying them outright. Policyholders who expect coverage should immediately seek an attorney to evaluate their claim and make sure it holds up to scrutiny. An attorney can properly file all documents on time to avoid complications and delay. A dedicated Vero Beach property insurance lawyer uses his years of experience handling homeowner’s insurance claims to negotiate with insurers on his clients’ behalf.
William Terry is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who focuses on representing regular people against powerful insurance companies. Call (772) 217-6600 for a free consultation or contact us online.