Fire and Smoke Damage Lawyer in Tampa

No matter the size, fires are devastating not only for property, but for the victim’s wellbeing. In the aftermath of any fire, there are many things that need to be considered and dealt with in a timely manner. In the case of a smaller fire, you will most likely have some type of smoke damage in other parts of  your home that weren’t directly involved in the fire.

a house with fire and smoke damage

What is Smoke Damage?

Once the fire is doused, the smoke particles linger and manifest themselves in every part of your house. These particles are very harmful to your health, as well as your property. These fine specks could get in your eyes, your lungs, your mouth, or on your skin. It could go as far as to create new or exacerbate current health conditions. 

Is Smoke Damage Covered by my Insurance?

Typically, fire and smoke damages are covered under your insurance. Although this is heavily dependent on your insurance company and specific policy, as well. Even when coverage falls under your insurance, the severity of damages to your home and your health may be disputed by your insurance company. This could lead to a diminished payout for your case.

Coverage of smoke damage insurance claims may include the following items:

  • Fire damage restoration — Your insurance may hire a professional fire damage restoration service to restore the area of your home to its former state.
  • Smoke damage cleanup — This includes cleaning up smoke damage to areas that do not need to be restored beyond cleaning.
  • Smoke damage restoration — Restoring the areas of your home that were damaged beyond cleaning.

Could my Insurance Dispute my Fire and Smoke Damage Claim?

Yes, there are various reasons for a claim to be disputed by your insurance company. For example, smoke particles affect porous materials the most. Wallpaper, rugs, carpets, and materials like that. The discrepancies arise when you and your insurance provider disagree on whether something merely needs to be cleaned, or if it needs to be replaced altogether. A discolored sofa, while functional, is not nearly as pleasant to use, for example. If your insurance company is giving you the run-around, it is wise to reach out to an experienced fire and smoke damage lawyer. 

What is the Difference Between Partial and Total Loss?

Total loss is what happens when property or items are completely destroyed due to a fire. Your insurance provider has the power to deem something totally destroyed. When a necessary core component of the property is damaged or otherwise unusable, it is deemed a “total loss”. If you disagree with your insurance provider, you could always hire a third-party adjuster to assess the damages before submitting your claim.

Partial loss is used when the property in question isn’t completely destroyed. They usually have “hidden damages”. These can include smoke or ash remnants, a noticeable reduction in air quality, damages to your air ducts or air conditioning units, and any unsuccessful cleaning or repair procedures. The catch with partial loss claims is that the insurance company often delays them because they are deemed a lower priority.

What Areas are Most Often Ruined by Fire and Smoke Damage?

This is based on your inspection of the home after the incident occurs. After any fire or smoke damages, it is imperative that you do a thorough inspection of your home. If you miss anything that was damaged and don’t write it down, the insurance company can’t provide you with any compensation. While your insurance company will most likely conduct an inspection, you should go over every inch of your home yourself. Alternately, you could have a third-party inspect your home and make sure nothing was missed.

Some often missed areas include your roof, the siding of your home, door frames and window frames, your pipes, your AC unit, and your plumbing. Hiring an experienced public adjuster will be able to notice things you might not have, that’s why it’s highly recommended that you speak with a reputable third-party.

Where Will I Live While a Fire and Smoke Damage Insurance Claim is Being Processed?

If your home suffered extensive damages, then you will likely have to live somewhere else in the meantime while repairs are in progress. Most insurance companies will cover your additional living expenses (Often abbreviated to “ALE”). These provide coverage for the costs that exceed regular spending on food, housing, transportation, and most other expenses.

What Steps Should I Take After a Fire in my Home?

While you should worry about your safety first and foremost, it is always smart to reach out to a reputable public adjuster. They can help you assess damages and move forward. It will also help to take pictures, or even videos, of the damages. And if you can provide your insurance company with proof of ownership of items, you’re more likely to get reimbursed for those.

Make sure you document everything you come across, damage or health-wise. Inspect every aspect of your home and then hire a trusted public adjuster to inspect it as well. Make sure you communicate thoroughly with your insurance company so your claim is compensated to the fullest extent. 

Do not attempt to make fire restoration repairs or smoke damage cleanup on your own. Wait until an inspector has come and you have further information from the insurance company. If you make repairs before the insurance company can properly assess them, they may deny some or all of your claim.

Fire and Smoke Damage Lawyer in Tampa

If you’re having difficulty getting your fire and smoke damage insurance claim compensation approved, you should immediately reach out to an attorney to help. Insurance companies are notoriously trying to dispute viable claims for frivolous reasons. You are entitled to all of the benefits covered in your insurance policy.

At Darrigo & Diaz, we are not afraid to stand up to your insurance company and fight for fair and just compensation for your claim. We proudly serve the Tampa area and we are one of the most successful fire and smoke damage lawyer firms in Florida. Contact us at (813) 774-3341 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation right over the phone. 

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