How to Hire the Best Hurricane Damage Lawyer in New Jersey
With about nine million people living in New Jersey, there have to be good reasons to call it home. Besides living in New Jersey because of nearby family and jobs, New Jersey attracts residents because it’s simply a great place to live. You have 141 miles of oceanfront bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Pine Barrens, amazing countryside views, scenic drives, and many charming small towns.
One of the most significant assets New Jersey has is, of course, the shore! Even if it gets overrun by locals and tourists every year, the beaches, parks, and boardwalks beckon. You can enjoy fantastic dining, wineries, craft breweries, old-school amusement parks, and more.
However, living near the ocean doesn’t come without hazards. Even though few hurricanes have hit New Jersey directly, there have been 115 hurricanes or tropical storms that have passed near or through in the state’s history. If your property has been damaged by one of these storms, you’re likely looking at hiring the best hurricane damage lawyers, NJ.
How can hurricanes cause damage to New Jersey properties?
On average, about every ten years, hurricanes approach the New Jersey coastline close enough to cause waves to breach barrier island dunes and send water into the back bays. In the 2020s, seven hurricanes or tropical storms were powerful enough to cause serious damage, primarily because of high winds and heavy rainfall.
Because of the tremendous power of hurricanes, the sea levels can rise as much as 20 or 30 feet when the storm moves towards the coast. This is called a storm surge, and coastal properties can sustain a lot of damage due to this. You may be looking at demolished docks, houses, roads, and eroded beaches from the surge and the accompanying crashing waves. If a storm surge occurs at high tide, it’s even more devastating. Once a hurricane has hit the coast, it can continue to travel inland for hundreds of miles, causing damage from torrential downpours that cause rivers to breach their banks, and then mudslides follow.
Hurricane winds can cause trees to topple onto your house, flying debris can damage windows and doors, tear off roofs, and downed power lines can even crash into your home. The differential pressure caused by hurricane winds can even cause buildings to be blown completely down or cause catastrophic damage to the home’s foundation, similar to a tornado.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, causing up to 30 billion in losses for local businesses, and two million people were left without power. Sadly, 37 people lost their lives, and 346,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the state during that hurricane. Although a storm like Sandy was unprecedented for New Jersey, it can happen again.
When to hire a lawyer for hurricane damage in New Jersey
You’re here reading this article because you’ve been affected by a storm and are wondering what your rights are as the holder of an insurance policy. Perhaps you’re feeling that the insurance company is lowballing their offer, or maybe they outright denied your claim. You owe it to yourself and those that depend on you to get what’s rightly yours.
Unfortunately, the insurance companies are not always looking out for your best interest. Often they offer inadequate sums for the damage or don’t want to pay for everything that is covered under your policy. Right now is why hiring the best hurricane damage lawyers, NJ, is in your favor.
Insurance companies can use tactics you may not be familiar with, but a hurricane damage lawyer is savvy in their ways.
How do insurance companies underpay or deny claims?
Claiming that damages were preexisting is a favorite. For instance, say you made a previous claim for damage to your property, and the insurance company paid out on that claim. Maybe you didn’t have time to get the area fixed, and a hurricane hit in the meantime. Even though there is additional damage from the hurricane, the insurance company will try to claim the damage was preexisting to wriggle out of paying for the newer damages by denying your claim.
If denial of your claim falls through, they may try to say the price to fix your home is inflated. They send their adjusters and contractors to dictate how much the damage is worth, leaving you with potentially subpar repairs using cheap materials. That’s not really making you whole again.
If you check your policy, you may notice that your insurance company is only required to pay the actual cash value of your property. This is calculated by taking the cash value of the property and subtracting the depreciation. However, an insurance adjuster is working for the insurance company and may not take the time to appreciate the actual value of your property, particularly after a hurricane when the company is flooded with claims.
One other tactic insurance companies use to not pay claims is to say your damages don’t meet the deductible amount. For example, your deductible might be $20,000, so they claim the damages don’t exceed $18,000; therefore, it is not covered.
A final common tactic is to delay paying out on your claim so you’ll get frustrated and sick of dealing with them, so you accept a lowball offer in exasperation. If you feel like your insurance company is using any of these tricks to abuse you, a hurricane damage lawyer in New Jersey is your ticket to recovering what is owed to you.
What can a hurricane damage lawyer do for me?
New Jersey homeowners don’t often have to deal with extreme weather conditions that cause damages, but they might find themselves dealing with reluctant insurance companies when they do. When your insurance claim is denied or only partially paid after a hurricane, hiring the best hurricane damage lawyers, NJ, can be the right move. Here’s why.
Lawyers hold insurance companies responsible. You’ve faithfully paid your premiums, and we all know they aren’t cheap, so you should reap the benefits of the bargain that was made through the contract. And, an insurance policy is just that, a contract between you and the insurance company.
A hurricane damage lawyer can review every detail of your insurance company’s contract to determine what is covered and what is not. Like all legal contracts, they can sometimes be tricky to understand and use lots of legal jargon the average person will find confusing. After this review, a lawyer can advise you on the best strategy for presenting your claim.
They will be able to document down to every last detail the value of your damages and may bring in an expert to help with this.
Perhaps most importantly, your lawyer will become the main conduit for all communications with your insurance company, leaving you with the peace of mind that a professional is in charge of your interests. And that’s what a lawyer is to you, someone whose only goal is to make sure you are represented in the best way possible.
How can I protect my family and property during a hurricane?
There are a few steps you can take to protect your property and your family during hurricane season. Read on for tips.
- Get shutters for your windows: Having shutters installed on all of your windows will allow you to batten down the hatches quickly should a hurricane or tropical storm suddenly hit.
- Make a survival plan: Have a plan of action in place for your whole family detailing what to do during a hurricane. That plan should include designating a safe room where you can ride out the storm if you cannot evacuate. The safest part of your house during a hurricane is a room with no windows or doors that lead outside. You should also be prepared to shut off gas, water, and electricity, so make sure you know how to do this.
- Move outdoor items inside: If you have room, bring in any potted plants, outdoor barbecues, patio furniture, etc. If an item is too big or heavy to bring indoors, secure it however you can.
- Buy a generator: A generator can be a godsend during times of natural disasters. However, make sure the generator has a stock of fuel at all times.
- Make a storm kit: Being prepared for the people inside your home should be a top priority. Your storm kit should be well-stocked enough to provide for everyone for at least three days without the benefit of power and water. It should include:
- First aid kit
- Plenty of water for drinking and sanitation
- Paper plates and utensils
- Non-perishable food items
- Blankets and pillows
- Hand sanitizer
- Batteries and flashlights
- Power banks for cell phones
- A can opener
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags
- Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
Additionally, you should consider comforts such as aspirin, games or books, and changes of clothing for every member of your family.
Why should I hire Morgan & Morgan for my hurricane damages claim?
We understand hiring the best hurricane damage lawyers, NJ is one of your top priorities at this point. We want you to know that we’re on your side and have been battling big insurance companies for over 30 years and winning.
Out of all the law firms you may have researched, you need to consider their available resources. We are one of the largest law firms in the US, with over 700 trial-ready lawyers ready to fight, and we never settle a case for less than the full value of your claim. Smaller firms may not have the resources and time to devote 100% to your lawsuit.
The insurance companies know us to be fighters by reputation, and we’ve recovered over 10 billion for our clients throughout our existence. In fact, we’ve had over 70,000 successfully resolved cases just this last year alone. Don’t settle for an okay law firm when you can have a great one representing your interest. As always, we don’t make a dime unless you win your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and let us help you put things back to the right.