Texas Fire Damage Attorneys
Houston Lawyers Helping with Fire & Smoke Damage Insurance Claims
After fire and smoke damaged your property, the last thing you want to do is wrestle with your insurance company. Unfortunately, insurers will sometimes make the claims process more difficult than it needs to be because they know this kind of damage is going to cost a lot of money.
If you’re currently dealing with the aftermath of a fire, we know it can be difficult to know where to turn. You may not know who is there to help you, what steps you should take first, and how you can protect your best interests. It can be a confusing, frustrating experience. That’s why we encourage you to contact us immediately.
At Arnold & Itkin, we have helped homeowners throughout Texas and nationwide after dealing with catastrophic losses from a fire. Regardless of whether something in your own home sparked the fire or if your home was a casualty in a wildfire, you can trust in our law firm to be there for you when we’re needed most. By reaching out, you can receive a 100% free, confidential consultation. It is a chance for you to tell us your story and explain what happened to your family. Once our Texas fire insurance lawyers have all the details, we can walk you through all of your legal options—discussing what you can do next and how you can recover from tragedy.
To take the first step in the recovery process, all you need to do is call (888) 493-1629 or fill out our online form!
Understanding the Damage Caused by Fire & Smoke
Fire damage can either be partial or complete. Obviously, the severity of damages should determine the extent of your claim. When fire and smoke damage your home during a wildfire, the damage might take more work to fix than you think. A remediation team will likely have to come in and professionally assess the damage. Remember not to sign any forms unless you fully understand them and document as much as you can after your home sustains fire and smoke damage. Insurance companies will be hard-pressed to fight against the evidence.
Smoke damage seems like it may not be as severe as fire damage, therefore giving insurance companies a reason to put off payment. The truth about smoke damage is that it can cost a significant amount to remediate. The longer smoke damage sits without being taken care of, the worse the damage gets. If your insurance company is dragging their feet in payment to you, then you do not have to sit back without a defense.
Fires cause all different types of smoke damage, such as the following:
- Wet smoke
- Dry smoke
- Protein-based smoke
- Fuel oil soot
Each is different and must be taken care of differently. Odors need to be removed, and surfaces need to be cleaned and sanitized. You need to make sure that you are properly compensated by your insurance company so that you can pay for these expenses. Our team of Houston fire and smoke damage insurance attorneys are here to help you hold them accountable so you can properly recover. Call now!
Attorneys for Denied, Delayed & Underpaid Wildfire Claims
There is no "one size fits all" claim for wildfire damage because there are many types of damage that your property can suffer. If you own a home and are faithful to make payments for homeowners insurance, you still might not be completely protected in the event of a wildfire, even if all of your property was lost. In the event that only parts of your assets were harmed in the wildfire, you can file a claim of partial loss.
Homes aren't the only things to be destroyed in wildfires. If your business suffered damages or complete loss, then you can file claims such as business destruction or interruption. These may even pay for lost profits. In the event that there is a large influx of claims at one time, such as was the case with the 2011 Texas wildfires, insurance companies may try to change the rules and limit the amount of claims money they give out to their policy holders.
This constitutes insurance bad faith. If it happens to you, you can seek help from an attorney.
Your home may have suffered extensive smoke damage. Humidity within homes can also significantly increase after smoke dissipates. Whatever damage was done to your home, if you own a policy that covers wildfire damage but you are not getting coverage, then come speak with the wildfire insurance claim attorneys at our law firm.
2017 Napa Valley Wildfires
In October 2017, California faced its deadliest week of wildfires in state history. Over 40 people were killed, and 8,400 families and business owners lost their properties to the blaze. This tragedy caused approximately $3 billion in damages, a staggering amount for such a small time-frame. As time settled and investigations began, PG&E quickly became the number one suspect in why these blazes initially erupted, and as to why they had gone on for so long. Evidence suggests that PG&E failed to keep their electrical equipment up to date and well maintained.
If you are a Napa resident who suffered due to the California wildfires, Arnold & Itkin is here for you.
Our Napa and Sonoma fire insurance attorneys are ready to hear about your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve from your insurers. At our firm, we have earned a reputation nationwide for our results and are proud to have helped clients from coast to coast with complex insurance cases. In fact, we have taken on cases originating in every state in America. You want peace of mind. You want professionals. You want Arnold & Itkin.
2010-2011 Texas Wildfire Season
2010-2011 was the timeframe for a fire season that Texas will never forget. According to reports from the Texas Forest Service, there were more than 28,000 fires in Texas alone during that time. These wildfires burned hundreds of homes and left four million acres burned. The areas most heavily hit were Bastrop County, Cedar Park, Steiner Ranch, and other communities throughout Central Texas. Firemen came from many other states in order to help combat these fires, for a long time to no avail. Texas has never before seen a wildfire season this catastrophic.
Although these wildfires have since ceased, many properties still suffer the damage. Wildfires are bound to happen in the state again, but all hope they will not be as severe as the 2011 Texas wildfires. Many homes were completely destroyed because of the fires but many others suffered partial damage. Some insurance companies wrongfully deny claims because they say that the damage was not significant enough. If you are a policyholder and you have made your payments, your insurance company is obligated to compensate you for damages.
Fire Damage Claim FAQ
I filed my claim for fire damage, and now the insurance company is asking for all sorts of information. Do I have to comply?
If the insurance company is asking for information that’s relevant to your claim, you should provide as much as you can. If you feel like you’re being given the runaround or are being asked for personal or financial information that should have no bearing on your claim, however, it’s possible that they’re trying to delay or undervalue your claim. Talk to your attorney about what you’re experiencing, and you can find out if you should continue to comply with their requests.
Nothing is happening with my fire damage claim because the cause of the fire is under investigation. What can I do?
If the cause of the fire that damaged your property is under investigation, you may feel more like a suspect than a victim who has experienced a devastating loss. What’s more, the claims process will be at a standstill until the cause is determined. This can be a difficult time. Instead of losing hope, work with a firm that knows how to deal with fire damage investigations and insurance claims. At Arnold & Itkin, we can step forward and protect your interests during the investigation, in filing your claim, and even in disputing a denial or low settlement offer. We have the tools and experience to maximize your coverage.
My insurance company paid to have my property restored after a fire, but I’m not satisfied with the results. Can I do something about this?
Fire, smoke, and firefighting efforts can cause considerable damage to a structure and all of the property inside. If your insurance company paid to have your belongings and home restored after a fire, but you still smell smoke or feel that repairs and remediation were inadequate in any way, you may be entitled to additional compensation. The insurance company is obligated to restore your property to the condition it was in prior to the fire, in a consistent and uniform fashion. They can’t replace damaged flooring with mismatched materials. You can’t be expected to live with shoddy repairs. Talk to your lawyer about reopening your claim and getting your home restored properly.
Learn more about fire, smoke, and explosion damage from the Texas Department of Insurance.
WHAT ARE SPECIFIC FIRE DAMAGE INSURANCES FOR HOMEOWNERS?
- Fire: If your home is destroyed in a fire or hit by lighting, the claim should be filed under fire loss.
- Explosion: If your home is blown apart by a fire, the claim should be filed under explosion loss.
- Smoke: If your home receives smoke damage, the claim should be filed under smoke loss.
WHAT ARE SPECIFIC INSURANCE CLAIMS FOR COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS?
- Damage Received to the Property - If the property receives damage by a fire-related incident, this should result in a property damage claim.
- Cessation of Operations Claim - If the business cannot run properly, the owner may file for suspended operations. This should cover the anticipated missed income.
- Suspension of Business Activity - If the business has typical operating expenses no longer accomplishable due to fire, this operating expense may be covered in a claim.
- Extra Expenses - If a business faces extra expenses, the owner may be entitled to receive a claim amount. Some of these extra expenses may be moving operations to a new location, ordering products from a different location, and paying extra workers to keep operations open.
WHEN SHOULD I FILE MY CLAIM?
There are a number of factors that change the provided insurance claim date.
Some of these factors include:
- The date the fire affected the property
- The time that it will take to rebuild the property
- An insurance companies policy on claim dates
- Your specific policy’s claim date
Your Insurance Claim Checklist: Ensure You Are Prepared
Hire Professional Legal Help
To complete your claim, it is imperative that you hire proper legal counsel. Insurance claim lawyers will help you create your claim with accurate information that demands correct compensation. Contact Arnold & Itkin to talk to the lawyers that you need!
Gather or Recreate Important Documents
Legal documents that are required for your claim may have been lost to the fires. If this is the case, you must track down duplicates of these files so that you can make your claim. If you cannot find these documents, you may not be able to file on your own.
Document Cause of Property Damage
If your insurance claim is going to be paid out, you must document how your property received the damage. This can be done through photo or video, but must show evidence of the cause of damage. If your house exploded after catching on fire, document the source of the explosion. If your house suffered smoke damage, document that damage so your claim can be substantiated. Whatever you are recording, make sure it shows the damage clearly and can be used as evidence for your claim.
Identify Areas of Recovery
If you're a homeowner, you must show the damage to your property and in-home items if you want to claim both. Proving property damage is only part of the battle. If you are a commercial business owner, it is your responsibility to prove your areas of recovery to your insurer. This means you must show evidence of the potential losses caused by stopping operations, as well as extra expenses incurred due to the fire. If you must hire a clean-up crew, document it. If you must move your operation to another building, document that. If you have any extra expenses due to the fire that stopped your initial operation, you must document it!
Acknowledge Your Coverage Deadline
Every insurance claim has a coverage period. This coverage period is the timeframe in which a property owner must file their claim to receive compensation. Look at it this way: the initial incident of your property receiving damage is “Day 0.” Every day after is one step closer to your coverage period deadline. If you do not file before this deadline, or if you do not request a deadline extension, you will forfeit your right to claim the damage. Therefore, you should know your deadline so you can plan your claim accordingly!
Call Our Texas Fire Insurance Lawyers at (888) 493-1629
At Arnold & Itkin, we are passionate about fighting for your rights. We understand the amount of frustration and anguish you are likely facing after a fire has damaged your property.
The recent Texas wildfires are an excellent example of what insurance companies should not do. Many companies stalled their payment to their policyholders after wildfire insurance claims, forcing them to pay for some of the fire and smoke damages out of pocket.
If this happened to you, then you can get help. If you are facing property damage because of a fire, you want to get it fixed so you can get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Our Texas insurance claim law firm can help you fight for the financial support that you need and deserve. Call today!
Call (888) 493-1629 to schedule a free case review with a Houston fire insurance attorney from our Texas law firm.