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12 . 16 | Real Estate Law

Do I Need an Attorney for a California Wildfire Insurance Claim?

To say it has been a rough year in the Golden State would be an understatement. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating wildfires, Californians are reeling financially and emotionally. Unfortunately, when it comes to wildfires there is still cause for concern.

According to the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), “offshore wind events will continue to be a concern across southern California” this month. This is largely due to an abundance of “dry fuels and lack of forecast precipitation through early December.” The agency also predicts that, “wind events may also drive short duration large fire activity in portions of the Great Basin, Southwest, and northern California, especially at lower elevations.”

Of course this begs a question. What if your home was damaged in a past wildfire, or what if – God forbid – a wildfire damages your home in the future? Assuming you have homeowners or renters insurance, do you need an attorney to help with your claim? Keep reading to find out.

Reasons to retain a greater Los Angeles wildfire lawyer

Theoretically, you could try to deal with the insurance company on your own. However, there are some situations where having a lawyer may be helpful. For example, an experienced California wildfire claims lawyer will fight for you if:

  • You do not have enough insurance coverage
  • Your insurance does not cover wildfire
  • Your coverage is limited to depreciated value rather than replacement value of your belongings
  • You have incurred non-economic as well as economic losses

In any or all of these circumstances, a lawyer can work to ensure you are “made whole.” In other words, he or she can file suit against the person(s), entity or entities responsible for starting the wildfire that destroyed your property. The purpose of the suit is to force the responsible party to compensate you for any losses not covered by your insurance.

Losses not typically covered under your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance

Even if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance cover all of your property damage and related expenses, it may not cover the following after a wildfire:

  • Loss of past/future income due to the inability to work if you were injured in the fire.
  • Loss of vacation and/or sick days taken to handle insurance claims, find temporary or permanent housing and so on.
  • Business income if the wildfire affected your business.

In most cases, you will not have insurance coverage for non-economic losses incurred during and after a Los Angeles bushfire such as:

  • Emotional distress (anxiety, PTSD, trouble sleeping and so on)
  • Trauma
  • The disruption of your daily routine

A California wildfire attorney ensures you are treated fairly

A qualified attorney can also ensure the insurance company treats you fairly.

Technically, insurance companies are supposed to process claims honestly and fairly, even if it results in financial losses for them. This basically means that claims adjusters can try to settle claims for lower amounts, or even deny claims – as long as they are acting in good faith.

Unfortunately, they do not always do so. Activity classified as “bad faith” practices happens when deny claims without proper cause or unduly delay claims. It also happens when insurers mislead the policyholder about any part of the policy, lie, influence investigations or misrepresent the findings thereof.

If you suspect this has happened to you, our wildfire insurance claims attorneys can quickly and easily assess your situation. If we find evidence of wrongdoing, we can help you draft a letter to the insurance company that should halt the misconduct and potentially yield an acceptable settlement. Depending on your specific situation we will also share additional legal options going forward.

Don’t leave anything to chance. If your family has been affected by hesitate to contact the Law Office of Parag L. Amin P.C., to learn how we can help.

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PLEASE NOTE: This is not a representation, warranty, or guarantee of a future result or outcome. Every case is different just like every one of our clients.

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