Home fires can be traumatizing events to a family. Often, entire homes and possessions are destroyed, leaving families without their cherished belongings and somewhere safe to live. Sadly, in many instances, home insurance carriers fail to live up to their promise and deny rightful insurance claims. If an insurance adjuster has denied your rightful claim or has provided for a less then agreed upon compensation for your loss, contact our home insurance dispute lawyers at the Downtown LA Law Group. We will do everything in our power to win you fair coverage from the insurance company.
Fighting Your Insurance Fire Loss Claim
Under United States law, any home insurance companies owe claimants an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” Under this law, an insurance company can be sued for both a contract claim and a tort claim. Under a contract claim, plaintiff will receive only those damages suffered, while under the tort claim, most U.S. jurisdictions allow for the issuance of punitive damages. If your home fire insurance claim has been wrongfully denied, contact our attorneys today. We will fight for your rights and seek all legal avenues possible, including punitive damage claims, to make sure you receive the compensation you are owed.
What Standards do Insurance Companies have to comply with?
The acts of the employees of insurance companies are impugned to the insurance company itself. California Insurance Code Section 790.03 places standards that must be followed by insurance companies in dealing with insurance claims. Some common insurance company bad faith claim can include:
- Misrepresenting the facts of the case so that the plaintiff appears to be lying
- Failing to acknowledge the disaster
- Failing to act reasonably promptly
- Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards of care and investigation of the claim
- Failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time
- Not attempting in good faith to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement
- Attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount covered
- Failing to settle claims promptly
- Directly advising a claimant not to obtain the services of an attorney
- Misleading a claimant as to the applicable statute of limitations
There are many techniques and strategies which home fire insurance companies use to deny coverage of fire damage. If you have been denied a claim, contact our home insurance lawyers today for a free evaluation of your case. We will fight for your rights and make sure you receive the compensation you are owed.
Causes of Property Damage and Loss of Homes in California
There are many ways for homes to catch fire in California. It is possible for the home to catch fire due to the negligence of the homeowner or rent, but there can also be latent troubles that nobody noticed. Acts of nature are also possible, as are issues with defective products. In some scenarios, a fire can spread from one structure to another. Cooking is involved in most home fires. In 2010, close to 160,000 structures were burned due to cooking accidents and subsequent fires. Such fires cause more than 400 deaths per year, injure thousands more, and lead to close to $1 billion in damages.
Other causes of fires include the following:
- Wildfires and brushfires spreading to the home
- Faulty wiring in the home, air conditioning, lighting, and more
- Electrical short circuiting
- Gas leaks, stoves left on, and other leaks that can cause ignition
- Improper maintenance of the home, such as a build-up of dust in a vent or storing flammable items near heaters
- Water damage, which may cause electric sparks
- Arson, or when a person intentionally sets fire to a structure
- Barbecues and outdoor cooking accidents, such as pouring lighter fluid on a grill, discarding hot coals, and more
- Home indoor cooking and fires resulting from stovetop accidents, or grease fires
- Unattended cooking
- Heating lamps for animals or plants left on
- Pets chewing wires
Your specific insurance policy may include some exceptions to what is covered. It is important that you adequately review your policy and always contact a lawyer to determine if your accident can be covered. Often, the insurance company will do everything in their power to not pay out a settlement. They are purely concerned with holding on to their profits and do not want to make good on their promises if they can help it.
Learn more about your legal options by chatting with a representative now.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Here are some helpful tips in dealing with insurance adjusters regarding your home fire insurance claim.
First, always beware who you talk to. If an insurance company contacts you, your best response is to not talk to them regarding your incident. Any statement may be used against you to deny coverage. If you slip up or say something that could even point to the accident being your fault or avoidable, coverage may be denied.
Never automatically accept the first estimate or offer you get. Jumping the gun on the settlement can be a costly mistake. One of the tactics that insurance agents use is to hold out on making any contact or offers for months, and you end up feeling desperate for some form of payment. They hope that you’ll simply accept the first offer they give. To combat this, you can contact an attorney who is skilled and adept in negotiating with insurance companies. If insurance companies play hardball, a skilled aggressive legal team will take the defendant to litigation and trial if needed and maximize any potential compensation you are entitled to.
Learn more about how insurance companies can act in bad faith. You will be able to determine if you have reason to contact a lawyer. You can hire an attorney who will speak with your insurance agents. Skilled attorneys will be able to communicate with insurance carriers in a fashion which will not divulge any information that could be harmful to your future compensation.
Deadline to File a Claim for Fire Insurance Coverage
The statute of limitations to file a claim for first-party coverage is 4 years from the date of the incident. If you do not file a claim in this period, you will not be able to receive any coverage. It is important that you act quickly – your evidence may get lost or corrupted over time, and it will be harder to prove the extent and source of the damages.
It is possible for the provider to write a shorter statute of limitations into the contract; this cannot be lower than 1 year, though. However, if there was misconduct on behalf of the insurance agency, then the statute of limitations could simply adhere to the State law.
Many individuals fail to get the coverage they need because they do not act in time. They try to file a claim after the statute has expired or they do not realize that a lowered statute is in their contracts. If you come to our firm, we’ll ensure that your case is filed according to deadline and there will be no chance of you missing your opportunity for compensation.
Free Second Opinion
If you already have an attorney handling your claim, you may also believe that he is not acting in your best interest. This is not uncommon, as many attorneys take on numerous cases in an attempt to run through them and get quick settlements. He will not pay careful attention and will only act in his own best interests. If you come to our firm, we’ll tell you if we believe your current lawyer is acting in good faith or if he is misrepresenting you.
Switching representation is free of charge, and we will gladly take on your claim to help you fight the insurance agency.
The Best Firm for Victims of Fires
The Downtown LA Law Group is dedicated to representing families who have been victimized by bad faith insurance adjusters. For more information on how to fight fire with fire and take on insurance companies, contact our dedicated legal team today. We will aggressively negotiate a fair deal from the insurance company and will not stop until you are fully covered. If we have to go to court to defend your rights, we are more than willing to do so. Our history of success speaks for itself.
You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a free consultation. We invite you to ask us any questions you want. All of your personal details and case information will remain totally confidential when you come to our firm. You’ll also receive our zero fee guarantee, which says that you won’t pay a dime out of pocket for our services. Our fees will be covered from the settlement we bring you from the insurance agency.
Don’t let an insurance agency mishandle your fire insurance claim. Get in touch with the Downtown LA Law Group today.