Cleaning Up and Moving On After Property Damage from a Storm
Last week, an EF2 tornado ripped through Carteret County, North Carolina just miles away from our Morehead City office. The tornado ripped through the city with wind speeds up to 125 miles per hour. It’s destruction spanned over 5 miles long and 150-200 yards wide. Thankfully, only minor injuries were reported, but the storm caused significant property damage, some estimates totaling $6.5 million.
Seeing all the property following a storm can be devastating. It’s even harder when the property damaged is yours. When it’s your hard work, your memories, your prized possessions littered all over the yard and the place you called home, or work, or even vacation is badly damaged, it can be one of the lowest points in your life. When you have been the victim of property damage following a storm, it is generally expected that you will make a claim with your insurance company, or with the insurance company of the person responsible if your damage was caused by someone else. Hopefully, the insurance company will quickly evaluate the damage and offer you fair compensation for your property damage so that you can pick up the pieces and move on with your life. All too often, however, that doesn’t happen and people are left with damages that they cannot afford to get repaired or damages their insurance company doesn’t pay for even though it should.
Our attorneys generally handle storm damage cases of two varieties (these are just the most common types of claims. If your scenario doesn’t fit neatly into one of these two categories, we very well may still be able to help):
- The first occurs when a homeowner (or in some cases a business owner) sustains damage to the dwelling (house or business) that an insurance company either denies they are responsible for paying, delays in making payments, or offers less than what it will cost to repair the damage without a valid reason. In these cases, we pursue a claim directly against your insurance company. We negotiate the claim where possible and if negotiations are not productive, we file a lawsuit and attempt to get you the compensation you are entitled to through the litigation process. These claims are tough as often clients are displaced while they wait for their home to be repaired. There is generally a great sense of urgency, and we move as quickly as possible to get compensation in place so repairs can be made.
- The second variety occurs where someone else’s negligence during or before a storm leads to someone else suffering injuries or damages. A recent example: a client hired us after boats that were not properly moored broke loose and crashed into his dock and pier causing significant property damage. The insurance companies for the boat owners all blamed the other boats – i.e., the red boat didn’t cause the damage because the white boat had already broken through the pier and demolished it. Or, boat owner “A” hired a different party to secure his boat before the storm and it broke free because that other party didn’t properly secure it. In these situations, our attorneys pursue claims against any and all potential at fault parties to recover for property damage. We were able to resolve this case after a lawsuit was filed with the various boat owners all contributing to pay our client the full amount of his damages.
Ultimately, if you have suffered significant property damage and you are getting nowhere with your insurance company or questioning whether they are offering you a fair settlement, you should speak to an experience North Carolina storm damage lawyer. Our lawyers will speak with you for free to advise you of your rights and will help you and provide emotional support during such a difficult time in your life. We are all too familiar with devastating weather events and know first hand how difficult being a victim of a storm can be.