What Is the Fire Injury Claims Process?

Fire accidents that cause injuries can leave physical and psychological scars that last for years, even decades. Not only do the injuries remain for years on end, so can the bills that pile up because of medical expenses. 

At Morgan & Morgan, we understand the physical and emotional pain that our clients go through after a fire accident that caused multiple injuries. We cannot help you travel back in time to prevent the fire, but we offer a highly valuable legal service that makes us the go-to law firm for handling fire accident claims.

Morgan & Morgan can help you navigate the difficult process called fire injury claim steps.

After a fire accident that generated several injuries, you can expect to deal with one or more of the following professionals:

  • Landlord
  • Insurance adjuster
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Fire restoration company
  • Bank
  • Property owner

What transpires after a fire accident can leave you reeling, but you can move forward with confidence when you work with the team of personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan. We have the experience and the expertise to get you the compensation you deserve.

What Are the Fire Injury Claim Steps?

Your homeowners' insurance policy should cover all damages that were caused by a fire, whether the fire started in the basement of your home or came in like a raging inferno from one of the forests located nearby. The first step in the process called fire injury claim steps is to contact your insurance company to initiate the claim process.

The amount of your compensation depends on the type of policy that you took out to cover losses. Replacement cost coverage recovers the costs of repairing or replacing your home, as well as any lost or damaged personal items. Actual cash value pays you the value of your home before the fire minus any depreciation

Your insurer designates an adjuster to handle your claim, and the adjuster should remain the primary contact of the insurance company throughout the claims process. Make sure to confirm the identity of the insurance adjuster before the adjuster arrives at your home. Scammers make it a career to rip off vulnerable homeowners after a disaster of any kind.

Let’s review the fire injury claim steps.

Document Every Loss

The heart of any homeowners claim is evidence of the losses a homeowner incurred because of fire damage. Take photographs and videos of the damage done to your home, as well as create a list of personal items that either require repairs or need to be replaced. For each item listed, associate it with the price you paid for the item. Gathering and organizing receipts can boost the credibility of your claim.

Michael Barry, who represents the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute (III) says, “The more you can document your property losses before the insurance adjuster arrives, the faster the claims-filing process will go. A standard homeowners insurance policy not only covers damage to the home’s structure but also the homeowner’s personal property.”

Document Every Injury

Taking images of personal injuries is just one part of documenting injuries after a fire accident. You also want to gather and organize copies of medical records, including the results of diagnostic tests and the extent of any rehabilitation program. Medical expenses by far consume the most of your personal finances after a fire. You also should organize the timekeeping records that demonstrate how much time the fire accident has caused you to miss work.

Take a Tour With the Insurance Adjuster

Photographs and videos of the damage done to your home represent persuasive evidence that can expedite the processing of your insurance claim. However, a first-hand account of what the fire left behind might be the most important step in the homeowners insurance claim process. Take the insurance adjuster on a tour of your home, which gives the adjuster the opportunity to shoot images of the scene that verify the images you have already taken.

Document All Communications

You can expect plenty of back and forth between you and the insurance adjuster. Email, text messages, and phone conversations keep your claim moving along the process towards compensation. Make sure to save the emails and text messages that you exchange with the insurance adjuster. Take notes every time you meet with the insurance adjuster, as well as document every missed appointment and unreturned phone call. You might not need to document communications to resolve your insurance claim, but the information can come in handy if your claim reaches the litigation stage of the claims process.

Make a Copy of Every Document

The last thing you want to happen when advancing through the fire injury claim steps is to lose one or more valuable documents. Make a copy of every document that you give the insurance adjuster, such as the cost of each personal item lost or damaged because of the fire. If the adjuster suggests that you should start with repairs, get the suggestion in writing and then make a copy of it for safekeeping. For digital documents, make a copy of each one and then back up the files in case you need access to the documents later in the claims process.

Resolve the Claim

We have reached the last of the fire injury claim steps: The resolution of your claim. One of the most compelling reasons to hire an attorney from Morgan & Morgan is we can help you calculate an accurate value for what your insurance company should provide in compensation. If the insurance company sends you an offer that falls below your expectations, then the time has come to negotiate a settlement. After going back and forth a few times, your insurance company should want to find common ground to settle your claim.

What Are Fire Damage Lawsuits?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments across the United States respond to a fire every 24 seconds. Fires can cause property damage and produce serious injuries, as well as emotional issues that can linger for years. Although you want to settle a fire damage claim, some cases require litigation because either the insurance company refuses to settle or one or more parties are guilty of negligence.

Here are the most common types of fires that lead to litigation:

  • Gas explosion
  • Furnace
  • Electrical
  • Chemical
  • Defective product
  • Failure to follow safety guidelines

What Is a House Fire Lawsuit?

If following the fire injury claim steps does not lead to a resolution of your claim, you should consider working with a lawyer from Morgan & Morgan to determine whether filing a civil lawsuit is the best legal approach to ending your case. Since insurance companies do not have the reputation of having the best interests of policyholders in mind, you might find your insurance claim turns into litigation.

However, an uncooperative insurance company is not the only reason why you might file a civil lawsuit. Several factors can come into play that prove negligence caused a house fire.

  • Defective product
  • Poor maintenance
  • Missing or broken down fire alarms
  • Explosion
  • Wildfire
  • Inferior construction

What Is an Apartment Fire Lawsuit?

The more is not the merrier when it comes to fires and apartments. Dozens of inhabitants dramatically increase the chances of a fire breaking out. From leaving lit cigarettes unextinguished to allowing a stove to overheat, an apartment fire can leave you without a place to call home.

A wide variety of reasons cause apartment fires, some of which can be labeled negligence by your attorney.

  • Building code violations
  • No smoke detectors
  • Dangerous wiring
  • Smoking
  • No fire extinguishers
  • Blocked fire exits
  • Heating system overheats
  • Flammable materials not properly stored

What Is a Workplace Fire Lawsuit?

Some workplace settings place workers in highly vulnerable positions where they are more likely to suffer injuries that were caused by a fire. For example, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states fires caused by explosions produce more than 5,000 burn injuries every year in the workplace.

If you suffered burn injuries at work because of one or more of the following reasons, your lawyer has to decide whether to litigate your case under workers’ compensation or personal injury law.

  • Unsafe wiring
  • Scalding materials
  • Failure to store toxic chemicals properly
  • Boiling liquids
  • Radiation exposure
  • Improper use of an accelerant

What Are the Damages I Could Receive?

Compensatory damages cover the damages caused by negligence. For a case involving negligence, your lawyer must demonstrate the defendant breached a legal duty to protect you from fire injuries. Negligence can be either willful or accidental. Damages for willful negligence cases typically are worth much more than they are for accidental negligence cases.

Here are the types of compensatory damages available to a plaintiff who files a lawsuit because of fire injuries:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future healthcare bills
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability or disfigurement

Should I Hire an Attorney to Handle the Fire Injury Claim Steps?

The answer is yes, even if you seem to have a straightforward insurance claim. Insurance companies are notorious for haggling over every dollar, which means you need legal advice on how to proceed with a claim if it is denied by your insurance company.

There is also the possibility that your claim can turn into a civil lawsuit. An experienced personal injury lawyer helps you decide whether you have a strong enough case. If your case is strong enough to litigate, your attorney helps you file the proper paperwork to initiate the lawsuit, as well as organize the evidence you need to gain a verdict in your favor.

Schedule a free case evaluation with Morgan & Morgan to determine the best course of legal action.

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