Tennessee Insurance Dispute Lawyers Handling Fire Claims
Helping policyholders throughout the Southeast and Midwest who have sustained damage from flames, smoke, soot, and ash
A loose wire, a pot left too long on the stove, a carelessly tossed match or cigarette – fires happen for all sorts of reasons and can completely destroy homes and burn commercial buildings to the ground. Policyholders need all types of help after a fire rips through their structures. They need to salvage what they can. The need to make repairs or rebuild from scratch. They usually need to relocate for months or even a year. Fires alter lives. They crush dreams.
At McWherter Scott & Bobbitt, our Tennessee-based insurance dispute attorneys move quickly when we learn a fire has ravaged your home, your business, your church, your condo, or any property. We work with cause and origin experts to determine the cause of the fire. We work with professionals to assess and value the damage to structures, properties, and contents. We seek advances when proper so life can continue, while the claim is being processed. And, when necessary, we file lawsuits to recover insurance funds. We hold insurance carriers accountable for paying the full amount owed.
How our skilled Tennessee help you steer through the insurance claim process
Our Tennessee-based insurance dispute lawyers anticipate and defend against unwarranted denials and under-payments by insurance companies. We help you document each element of your claim. When necessary, we consult with appraisers, contractors, engineers, architects, and other professional to help determine what you should do to preserve your belongings, so they look and work like they did (property and contents) before the fire.
Some of the issues we focus on are:
- Countering any claims of arson. Sometimes insurance companies will assert that the fire was started intentionally. When major fires occur, cause and origin experts are often called in by the insurance company to investigate the fire. And, depending on the claim, it may be worth the time and money for the policyholder to hire one as well. We have successfully represented policyholders wrongfully accused of arson.
- Whether to repair or rebuild. Depending on the severity of the fire, policyholders need to determine whether to repair the part of a building that was damaged or to rebuild from the ground up. With fire damage, it is especially critical to understand how the entire building fits together, from the foundation up, to properly assess the costs of reconstruction and restoration.
- Smoke and water damage. Generally, policies should also cover related damages such as smoke and water damage.
- The quality of a rebuilt structure. Often insurance companies will argue that the roof was already old, or some part was in a state of disrepair. They’ll argue that you shouldn’t get a brand new house when your house was significantly older. We’ll hold the carriers to the terms of the policy, including the duty to rebuild with like kind and quality materials and to properly blend the rebuilt structures with any old structures.
- The value of damaged possessions. The difference between replacement cost value and actual cash value is often misunderstood by claimants. To make matters worse, insurers often over-depreciate items and take advantage of policyholders. We work closely with trained professionals to make sure damaged items are appropriately valued and depreciated, and then also work hand-in-hand with our clients to guide them the process of recovering depreciation on policies with replacement cost benefits.