Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Update to Hurricane Ike FAQ

We have addressed the following question as of late.  You can still find the complete Hurricane Ike FAQ in the upper right hand corner of this page.

14.  Should I take video of my home, if I have the means, so that the damage to my property can be seen by those that do not make out it out to my home right away?  Yes.  If you have the means to take video of your property please do so.  If you do not have the means you should strongly consider calling someone that can do so for you (a lawyer, a friend, a relative, a contractor, etc.).  Adjusters may not show up to your home for weeks after the storm has hit and debris has been removed during the clean up efforts you have organized.  Through that delay the impact of the storm on your family can be lost.  It is in your best interest to preserve the destruction for your adjuster so that they can see the impact firsthand.  Keep a copy safe and offer to share it with your adjuster or insurance company if they have any questions about the condition of the property after the storm.

15.  My insurance company has asked me to sign a proof of loss.  Should I sign it and by signing it do I give up any right to disagree with their adjustment?  Be very careful if you are asked to sign a proof of loss.  A proof of loss is your sworn statement as to what your actual losses were as a result of the storm.  The reason you have to be so cautious in signing this document is that it can be used against you if you were to later have a contractor come in and disagree with the loss amount the insurance company inserted in their proof of loss.  You should only sign a proof of loss if you are absolutely certain the loss amount on the proof of loss is the actual amount of your sustained loss.  This can get tricky because you may not know about damages until work is started and tear out begins.  While most policies require you to submit a proof of loss at some point, you do not have to agree to sign the insurance company's completed proof of loss.  You have the option of filling out your own proof of loss based on your actual loss and submitting that to the insurance company.  Even if you submit your own proof of loss this should not result in any delay in receiving payment, even though your insurance company may hint that to you.  Pay special attention to this document and have someone review it if you have any questions.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Update to Hurricane Ike FAQ

I have included a link to the entire Hurricane Ike FAQ at the upper right hand corner of the main page.  Please check back as we update this FAQ. There are additional entries made on a day to day basis.  Today we addressed some additional concerns:

13.  What if I came home and my carpet was wet or had been wet but I could not tell how the water got in to my house? You will likely want to call out a contractor or engineer or public adjuster to see if they can use their trained eye to make a determination as to where the water came in.  With experience, these individuals have developed the ability to determine where water has entered the home and may even be able to offer opinions as to what caused the water to enter the home.  Armed with this information your insurance company and adjuster should be easier to deal with.  At the very least, even if they are not, you have the information you will need to pursue your claim further.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hurricane Ike Claims Process - What can I expect?

From the mouth of a claims adjuster and taken directly from a Beaumont Enterprise article:

"Here's how the claims process should work at most insurance companies in order to best serve policy holders:

1. When the claim is reported, whether by phone or online, it's immediately assessed. "We do prioritize losses according to severity," Chandler said of USAA.

2. The company then assigns an adjuster to work with the member. Some minor losses are handled immediately over the phone, while complex structural damages are inspected by appraisers.

3. Victims are encouraged to photograph any debris or destroyed items, before they remove them and prior to any repairs. Chandler also recommended saving any receipts for expenses incurred during the evacuation, as your policy might cover those costs.

4. The company will offer a settlement it feels matches the terms of the policy, minus any deductible."

Pay particular attention to the settlement offer.  If this amount does not take into account the expense of actually performing the work that must be performed to restore your property to pre-loss condition you may want to consult with an attorney and/or contractor to find out why that is and to make a determination as to whether your adjuster made an error.  Adjusters readily admit that they make mistakes.  There is a process for making sure those mistakes are corrected.  Just be patient and do not hesitate to reach out to someone to ask a question.

Hurricane Ike Frequently Asked Questions

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike there are numerous questions that have come up and will come.  Our office has fielded numerous phone calls on a broad range of topics.  To assist those affected by Hurricane Ike we have compiled some answers to those common questions and we will add to this list as we field additional calls.  This information is not a substitute for giving us a phone call, however, so please contact us at 409-724-6665 or ikeinfo@themonklawfirm.com and we will do our best to address your specific questions with a free initial consultation.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hurricane Ike Related Consumer Alert from the Attorney General of Texas

Please take special care when making decisions in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.  If you have any questions about how to deal with your insurance company or about how to avoid becoming the victim of a contractor with evil intent please call our office at 409-724-6665 or email us at ikeinfo@themonklawfirm.com. Please pay particular attention to the Consumer Alert from the Attorney General which you can read by clicking on the link that follows.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What does "Dram Shop" mean?

Dram shop is a legal term that refers to regulation of commercial providers of alcoholic beverages.  If an obviously intoxicated patron or minor is served alcohol this often leads to accidents.  The results can be horrifying.  In order to encourage responsible service, states, such as Texas, have enacted laws to protect the public.

To learn more about the impact of irresponsible service please visit MADD

Please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your legal rights if you or your loved ones' lives have been affected by a drunk driver.

If are interested simply in learning more about Dram Shop actions feel free to call or schedule a free consultation.