Hurricane Dorian Homeowners and Business Insurance Lawyer
Florida, as well as much of the southeastern United States, is bracing for impact from yet another hurricane. As Hurricane Dorian approaches, the danger of catastrophic property damage and loss of life has prompted voluntary mass evacuations and shortages of everything from bottled water to building materials. Unfortunately, Dorian will undoubtedly cause extensive property damage and will thus lead to a large numbers of homeowner and business insurance claims being filed. This will undoubtedly lead some insurance companies, and their armies of claims adjusters, to deal unfairly with their policy holders.
Insurance companies know they will be facing a large number of homeowner and business property damage claims following a powerful hurricane such as Dorian. Although insurance companies have a legal obligation (the insurance policy) to pay properly-documented claims, some companies will delay paying a claim in the hope that a policy holder will accept a lower-value settlement. However, if an insurance company uses “unreasonable” tactics (such as requiring multiple insurance adjuster reports or offering settlements that are clearly less that the value of the property that was lost or damaged) the policy holder may be able to file a lawsuit to have the disputed claim settled by a court.
Based on our past experience, we at The Doan Law Firm believe that insurance claims related to Hurricane Dorian will fall into one of three general groups: homeowner property damage, business property damage, and personal injury claims.
Homeowner property damage
Following a natural disaster such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes, homeowner’s insurance cases will account for the greatest number of claims filed. Some insurance companies will cite these large numbers of claims as an excuse for not settling your claim within a reasonable amount of time. Insurance companies may also demand multiple insurance adjuster reports or some other “proof” (photographs, receipts, or personal financial data) before they offer you a settlement. In general, the courts will view such “delaying tactics” that an insurer is acting in “bad faith” and order the insurance company to pay a claim plus a penalty for bad faith.
If you feel that you are being treated unfairly by an insurance company or by an adjuster, you should speak with an experienced insurance litigation, such as the insurance claims lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, to discuss the legal options that may be available to you.
Business property damage
The dollar value of insurance claims filed by businesses are, on average, much higher than those of homeowners. This is because business claims will include damages to equipment used to deliver products and services to customers as well as damages to products kept “on hand” in inventory. Since these potential losses can easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, insurance adjusters will do everything they can to reduce the amount their employers will eventually pay to settle these claims. Such tactics may include “under-valuing” damaged inventory, insisting that damaged equipment can be repaired rather than replaced, and making unreasonable demands that the policy holder produce business records to “justify” a claim.
In general, personal injury claims that are related to unsafe conditions created by bad weather are not accepted by the courts. However, both private and government facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, or even a county jail have both a moral obligation and a legal duty to protect those that are under their care. If an injury occurs, and it can be shown that a facility failed to exercise good judgement prior to the arrival of dangerous weather conditions, such facilities could be found liable for damages.
By way of example, if a hospital failed to transfer a critically ill patient requiring a high level of care to another facility the original hospital could be held liable it lost electrical power but did not have a backup power source. Another example would be a failure to “weatherproof” a building (such as not using sandbags to protect against flooding or not boarding-up windows to protect against flying object injury). Liability could arise in ether case because whoever was in charge had ample warning that a storm was approaching but did not act on that warning. That failure to act in the presence of a potential danger could therefore be seen as negligence and result in a finding of liability.
Insurance cases can be some of the most complex cases that a law firm will handle. Needless to say, an individual would have very little hope if he or she tried to deal with an insurance company’s adjusters and lawyers on their own.
Insurance companies know that most policy holders are unprepared for the emotional and financial trauma that always comes with from sustaining property damage and other losses following a natural disaster. It is also a fact that some unscrupulous insurance companies and their adjusters will use that trauma to their advantage when dealing with you after you file a claim.
If you feel that an insurance company is treating you unfairly, you should contact a law firm with years of experience in managing lawsuits against companies that try to cheat a policy holder out of a fair settlement of their insurance claim. One such firm is The Doan Law Firm, a national law practice with offices located throughout the country, including offices in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tallahassee. You can also contact us via e-mail or at by calling our national hotline at (800) 349-0000!
When you contact our firm there is never a charge to review the facts of your case and the legal options that may be available to you. Should it become necessary to file a lawsuit in order to protect your legal right to a fair settlement of your insurance claim, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.
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