West Palm Beach Storm Damage Lawyer
There's no question that going over the post-storm damage can be a trying and difficult time. While you always hope for the minimum amount of damage, sometimes you're going to have to deal with more than a few damaged shingles or downed tree branches. Normally an insurance company would come in to cover the costs and set things right, but when they refuse to hold up their end of the bargain it is time to find a high-quality storm damage attorney.
What Is a Storm Damage Attorney?
While this is a term that might let a search engine know what you're looking for, the truth is there is no one specialty group of attorneys who only take care of storm damage cases. In theory, you shouldn't even need an attorney since this should be an insurance matter. This becomes a legal matter when the insurance company refuses to honor the coverage offered in their policy. Some particular types of damage, like shingle damage, are often challenged by insurance companies according to sources like the National Storm Damage Center.
Storm damage comes under property insurance laws. When these laws are violated, the only option many homeowners or business owners have is to look for an attorney who can fight for their rights in civil court by suing the insurance company. Finding a local experienced attorney is critical since laws can vary quite a bit from state to state. Not every lawyer is going to specialize in civil cases, and fighting insurance companies requires a special set of skills since even small insurance companies will almost certainly have the money for exceptional legal coverage.
Property insurance laws or statutes have many variables, including:
- The state laws about torts
- The specific policy being offered
- What the common coverage is for the policy in question
- The damage being argued over
- The specific scope of the policy versus how the damage took place
Get Good Legal Representation Early!
While it can be tempting to put off getting legal representation and trying to work it out with the insurance company, it's important to get legal representation as early as possible when it looks like there might be problems with getting a claim. Sometimes the threat of litigation is enough to make an insurance company pay out on the policy. Even if this isn't the case, having legal counsel will help guide you to make sure you're taking the right steps to work through a disputed claim. This early guidance can help prevent you from making a terrible mistake.
What You Need to Do
According to Trilogy Restoration, there are four things that you are responsible for as the insurance policy holder. If you don't follow these steps immediately after the accident, it can shoot down your case later on.
Your personal responsibilities include:
- Making written claims to your insurer and keeping records of all correspondence
- Listen to their request and cooperate as much as possible
- Document the full details of your losses, gather as much evidence as possible, and give your insurance company a copy of all that information
- Take all the necessary actions to secure your property and prevent further damage from taking place
As a good attorney can tell you, these early steps are critical to making sure that you are safe and solid in taking care of your own personal responsibilities.
Preparing for Court
Having a fantastic personal property insurance attorney is critical to handle any storm damage lawsuits. As many natural disasters ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the more recent storm Sandy have shown that sometimes it takes lawsuits to get local insurance agencies to pay out on their policies. Courant.com has published such stories on the post-Sandy legal needs.
As unfortunate as this fact is, the plus side is that by having a competent and passionate attorney, you'll be prepared for the rigors that a civil court case can force on you.