- Failing to promptly investigate the fire and the damage it caused
- Offering less compensation than you believe you are entitled under the insurance policy
- Failing to conduct a thorough investigation of what happened
- Denying your claim despite a lack of evidence of the reasons for the denial
How Our Attorneys Can Help
One of the main benefits of hiring an attorney is that he or she will be a committed advocate for your best interests.
This is very important in an insurance dispute because the insurance company may have gone to great lengths to find ways to deny or undervalue your claim. This could include hiring special investigators to find reasons to justify its unfair dealings with you.
If a dispute arises, our fire insurance disputes attorneys in Cincinnati can launch a separate investigation of the fire damage and its causes. We are also prepared to work with experts to determine the following:
- How the fire started
- All the damage it caused, including damage that may have been overlooked by the insurer
- The value of all property damaged in the fire
- The total value of your damages
If the insurer wrongly accuses you of arson, it is important to know that the burden of proof for this claim is on the insurance company, not the policyholder. We will fight back if the insurer lacks proper evidence for its claim of arson.
Our attorneys will carefully review the terms of your policy and coverage amounts to ensure you are being treated fairly. Our goal is to recover maximum compensation to help you repair or replace your damaged property.
Ohio Law On Unfair Insurance Settlement Practices
Ohio Revised (Administrative) Code (ORC) 3901-1-54, also known as the Unfair Claims Practices Act, lists numerous bad faith practices that insurers are prohibited from engaging in, including:
- Willfully concealing benefits, coverages or other provisions when these are relevant to a claim
- Denying a claim based on the failure of the policyholder to give written notice by a deadline, unless the policy lists the deadline or the failure to provide written notice is so unreasonable it constitutes a breach of the policyholder’s duty to cooperate with the insurer
- Denying a claim because of the victim’s failure to make property available for inspection unless there is documentation of a breach of the insurance policy
- Denying a claim because of a specific policy provision, condition or exclusion unless this is referenced in the denial letter
- Requiring the policyholder to have a polygraph examination if this is not authorized in the insurance contract
- Failing to acknowledge receipt of a claim within 15 days of receiving it
- Failing to make a decision about accepting or denying a claim within 21 days of receipt of properly executed proof of loss
- Denying a claim solely because proof of loss was not submitted on the insurer’s required form
Your fire insurance disputes lawyer in Cincinnati can hold the insurance company accountable for these bad faith practices and aggressively pursue the fair compensation you have been denied.
What To Do After A Fire
Your actions in the aftermath of a fire that damaged your house could have a major impact on your chances of obtaining all the insurance compensation you deserve. That is why there are several steps you should take to help preserve your claim, including:
Securing Your Home
Your insurance policy probably has a requirement that you take reasonable action to minimize further damage to your property after the fire has been put out. Reasonable steps could include:
- Boarding up the house or placing a fence around the property to help prevent vandalism
- Regularly checking on the property for any new issues and to be sure it has not been disturbed
- Covering the roof with a plastic tarp if there are leaks
- Contacting the fire department to find out what you can do to prevent a flare-up
Filing A Claim Quickly
In addition to ensuring your safety and the well-being of your family, this is one of the most important things to do after a fire. Most insurance policies have provisions requiring policyholders to report losses as soon as possible.
Waiting to file a claim may cause the insurance company to be suspicious about the cause of the fire, such as whether you caused the fire intentionally to receive compensation. Insurance companies are already looking for ways to deny or devalue valid claims, so it is best not to do anything to make them suspicious. Another reason not to delay is it may take longer for your insurer to investigate and process your claim.
Documenting Communication With The Insurer
Be sure to take notes on your communication with the insurance company and save correspondence, like emails and letters. Keep this information together so you can easily find it when necessary. A folder or binder is a good way to keep this information in one place.
You should also save receipts, bills, invoices, contracts for repairs and any other documentation that could be relevant to your claim. You should always save the original documents and if another party needs them, make copy – do not give away the originals.
Our Cincinnati fire insurance disputes attorneys can review your situation to help determine what else you should do to possibly improve your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Contact A Cincinnati Fire Insurance Disputes Attorney
A fire can cause irreparable damage to your home and personal belongings. These situations are one of the main reasons homeowners purchase insurance.
However, insurance companies often get into disputes with policyholders in these situations and attempt to deny or devalue their claims. That is why victims should strongly consider hiring a Cincinnati fire insurance disputes lawyer.
The lawyers at our firm can represent you on contingency, so there is no fee for your consultation and we will not charge for our services unless you are compensated.