Henley Fire Attorneys
California has been the scene of some of the most devastating fires in history. The recent Klamathon fire in Henley burned over 38,000 acres, destroying dozens of structures and causing many more injuries. If your family suffered property damage or other losses in the Klamathon fire, you may still be in the process of getting your life back together. Unfortunately, insurance companies can be slow to pay out claims following a disaster. Understanding your legal options is the first step to getting fair compensation for your insurance claim. Contact the attorneys at Bentley & More LLP today to schedule a free case review.
Take Action After the Klamathon Fire
The Klamathon fire led to extensive property damage, and many residents may be in the process of negotiating with their insurance companies. If you feel you are getting the runaround, take steps to protect and strengthen your insurance claim:
- Create an inventory of all your losses. It can be difficult to recall all your possessions, but assigning a value and date of purchase to your big-ticket items can help you determine what your claim is worth. Going room by room, create a running checklist of what you lost, its date of purchase, and approximate value at purchase.
- Save all evidence. Keep copies of receipts for hotels or alternate transportation such as car rentals or Uber rides. If you or your loved ones received medical treatment, save copies of all your bills.
- Don’t take conversations with an insurer at face value. Verbal promises don’t hold up in court. Get everything in writing, but don’t sign any statements or claim agreements without consulting an attorney.
- Contact a lawyer. An attorney is the only party at the table committed to your best interests and can maximize your chances of getting a fair evaluation of your losses.
Insurance Headaches After a Wildfire
Events that lead to large-scale destruction, like the Klamathon fire, can lead to several issues, particularly with regard to insurance companies. When you purchase a homeowners insurance policy, you pay your premiums each month with the expectation that your insurer will pay out your claim when you need it the most. Your insurance policy is likely based on actual cash replacement value, which means you should receive a claim payout for your home’s cost to rebuild and replace its contents. Failure to do so could constitute insurance bad faith.
Unfortunately, not all insurance companies pay out claims in full or on time. It’s important to remember that these are for-profit companies, and each claim they pay out is a loss. On the other hand, your insurance company has a responsibility to you, and understanding this relationship is one of the best ways to protect your claim
Insurance Bad Faith
California insurance law stipulates that all insurance companies must exercise good faith and fair dealing when investigating and evaluating claims. In other words, they must use honesty and fairness in their decision-making process, even when it leads to a poor outcome for them. When an insurance company commits insurance bad faith, you as a policyholder have the option of filing a claim against them to collect additional damages.
Insurance bad faith can occur in several ways, but some of the most common complaints include:
- Outright claim denial without basis
- Delaying an investigation
- Lying about investigation results or manipulating the course of an evaluation
- Improper correspondence with the insured
Claims adjusters and insurance companies can use a policyholder’s lack of knowledge or moment of desperation to act in bad faith, such as by offering a claim amount far below replacement value. If you suspect your insurer is taking advantage of you, contact the Orange County personal injury lawyers at our Southern California law firm as soon as possible. Involving legal representation can lead your insurance company to take your claim more seriously.
If you suffered property damage in the Klamathon fire in Henley, contact the attorneys at Bentley and More, LLP today and schedule a free case evaluation.