Maybe, just not now. Look, I am a lawyer who for the last 15 years has handled property damage claims for homeowners. My firm has 3 lawyers with years of experience evaluating insurance claims for property damage. Since we charge a percentage for the recovery we make for our clients, the more clients and recovery, the more money for us. BUT – and this is a loud BUT – I do not need to be involved in the claim until there is a dispute. Otherwise, I would be charging my clients for money that they would have recovered EVEN IF I DID NOT REPRESENT THEM. So….to answer the question, you may, at some point, need a lawyer. I can see insurance companies and TPC limiting payouts on some of the structural damage because an engineer they hired claimed the damage was caused by “prior foundation movement, etc., etc. We do some pretty neat things on property claims and have a firm that is tops in the State. We have verdicts and awards from Orange to Beaumont to Fort Bend to Bryan to Amarillo – and have NEVER lost in trial to the insurance companies. I am not aware of ANY other law firm in the State that can claim that. We have a team of experts, like structural forensic engineers and cost estimators, that we retain who help us fight toe-to-toe with the insurance company.
But, all that being said, you don’t need us right now. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. I just returned from visiting a dear friend in Port Neches, in Zone 1, on Gloria St. and told them the same thing. So, here is what you do need to do regarding your insurance claim:
- FILE your claim – call your agent or insurance company and open a claim – it is their responsibility to investigate your claim for damages.
- DOCUMENT your damages
- Take photos of your damage – every crack, blown door, loose trim, flashing, siding, etc.;
- Video your damages as you walk through;
- Keep looking – It is not uncommon to find new damage days later;
- Make a list – in a good old spiral bound notebook or your Notes app if you are a techie;
- If you have surveillance cameras, save the videos from the time of the explosions (first and second explosions); and
- Talk to your immediate neighbors to see what damage they suffered – they may see something you don’t and you may find the same damage – compare notes.
- COOPERATE with your insurance company –
- Make your home available for inspection;
- Be there for the inspection;
- Identify all the areas you have documented; and
- Ask the adjuster to get in the attic to check the structural components of the roof.
- PAYMENT OF CLAIM. Your insurance company has the following timelines:
- 15 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim, commence an investigation, and request from you all items they need to complete the investigation.
- After that, they have 15 business days to accept or reject your claim.
- If they accept, from the time of acceptance, they have 5 business days to pay your claim. Delays in payment can result in statutory penalties. The insurance company can request an extension of time for up to 45 days.
- DISPUTE with insurance company
- If you feel like the amount is not enough to repair your damages, contact your insurance company and let them know
- Secure your own bid for the damages
- Request another adjustment
If after step 5 you still have been underpaid for your claim, call us! We are happy to help. In fact, you can call us (for FREE) at any point along the way – like, if you want us to look at the estimate from the insurance company. We have looked at thousands of these estimates and can sort through them quickly. At no charge, we are happy to review the estimate you get from either TPC or your insurance company.
We have a proven track record of success. Take a look at some of our representative verdicts and settlements for policyholders:
- Insurance company paid $5k, we won $1.88 million for the First Baptist Church, Vidor, TX
- Insurance company denied a claim for a homeowner, we fought for 20+ days in trial for a homeowner who had policy limits of $52,500 and won an $850k verdict and fought it all the way to the Supreme Court of Texas (and won!).
- Insurance company denied claim for a duplex in College Station whose damages were $79K; we won a verdict after an 8-day trial for $370k.
- Insurance company said “loss under deductible” we worked case up and settled for policy limits of $143,000.
- Insurance company denied claim for a homeowner in Amarillo whose house was destroyed in a hailstorm. Damages were $55,000. We won a verdict the week after Thanksgiving for the family in the amount of $325K.
And, for TPC, I see no harm in turning in the evacuation expense sheet or even letting them inspect the property – see what they will do. But, DO NOT SIGN A RELEASE or give a recorded statement. We will review it for free. I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry for the stress it is causing you. But, we are here for you when you need us. We will even review your insurance company’s estimates and correspondence for free. Call us at (409) 832-3737. You can check out some helpful resources on our website that will assist you on all aspects of your property damage claim: http://brasherattorney.com/bad-faith-insurance/
Informational only – not intended to be create an attorney-client relationship.