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What To Do After a Smoke and Ash Insurance Claim

Fire season is quickly approaching in Southern California, and already we are witnessing the beginning of what could be the most ferocious fire season we have seen in decades. The La Tuna Canyon fire has already claimed 7,000 acres of woodlands in its weekend-long blaze, and the Santa Ana winds will make other fires even more likely occur. Also, the rains that occasionally come down increase other winds, which further the chances of fires breaking out. While fire season typically peaks around June or July when the heat is strongest, California is witnessing much of this activity now. The fires that have blazed in California include:

  • Springs Fire in Ventura County
  • Summit Fire in Riverside County
  • Yellow Fire in Sonoma County
  • 306 Fire in Glenn County
  • Cedar Fire in Butte County
  • Panther Fire in Tehama County
  • La Tuna Canyon Fire in Los Angeles County

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Smoke and Ash Insurance Attorney Claim Tips

In light of the recent fires, especially the La Tuna Canyon fire, a smoke and ash insurance attorney outlines some basic steps to follow in order to protect your rights following smoke and ash damage.

  • Stay safe – Nothing is more important than your health.  Smoke and ash pose not only cause property damage but more significantly, health and respiratory risks.  Specifically, young children and the elderly are at greater health risks.  You may have to temporarily vacate high smog areas in order to keep you and your loved ones safe.  In these situations, it is imperative that you record all costs associated with your departure, as you may be entitled to compensation.
  • Make sure your property is safe – To the highest extent possible, you should do your best to make sure your belongings are safe.  Especially in high-risk areas that may be subject to fire damage, you might want to pack as many belongings as you can to keep them safe. What you cannot take, you should leave behind. Do not place property on the same level of importance as your life.
  • Keep a record of and review your insurance policy.
  • Take pictures and videos of the damage
  • Make sure your house is safe – Once the dust has settled, many residents may feel that the health hazards associated with these fires are long gone.  The reality, however, is that mold and soot that accumulated as a result of these fires may have entered your home, posing safety risks long after the fires have burned out. This includes mold, soot, dust, ash or smoke sticking to the walls, clogging HVAC systems, filling heating and air conditioning ducts, entering pipes, and resting inside the insulation. Most concerning, however, is that insurance companies have become adept at denying or rejecting these claims.  Clean up work can be quite expensive, and an adjuster will attempt to avoid paying these expenses at all costs.
  •  Inspect your home – It is essential that you conduct a thorough inspection of your home for damages.  Smoke and ash can enter parts of the home that are not immediately apparent to the naked eye.  Areas you should look out for include:
    • Roof damage, which may require a roofing expert to look for molded or stained roofs
    • Plumbing systems
    • Structural damage that may have been brought on by heat and fire
    • Heating and air condition systems
    • Inside the walls and insulation
    • Windows
    • Stucco
    • Pools

    7. Hire a smoke and ash attorney to handle your property damage insurance claim:  Insurance companies are notorious for denying and rejecting insurance claims.  Attempting to negotiate and handle a claim without a lawyer or on your own may result in you receiving little or no compensation for your smoke and ash insurance claim. Many people live in Burbank and the surrounding areas, and the ash and smoke from the La Tuna fire can damage many homes. Don’t wait to find help. If you are affected by the recent fires in your area, make sure you call one of our attorneys at (855) 339-8879 for a free case evaluation before it’s too late.

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By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 am PST – 9:00 pm PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case.