Clearwater's known for its easy access to beautiful beaches. However, its proximity to the water increases the likelihood of flood damage. Heavy rainfall and storm surge from hurricanes pose a threat to homes, businesses, and other properties. In these situations, you rely on insurance to pay for your losses. But what if it doesn't?
If you're having problems getting compensation from your insurance company, Dolman Law Group is ready to advocate for you. A Clearwater flood damage lawyer from our firm can manage all insurance-related dealings while you focus on moving forward. Our legal team can file your claim, negotiate with the insurer, and pursue damages. Call today to learn more.
- Who Is Dolman Law Group and How Can They Help With My Flood Damage Claim?
- Why Work With a Flood Damage Attorney at Our Firm?
- We Advocate for Property Owners in Clearwater, FL
- Damage Your Property May Have Endured From the Flood
- Coverage You Can Get from Your Flood Insurance Policy
- Services Our Flood Damage Lawyers in Clearwater Provide
- We Do Not Tolerate Bad Faith Insurance Practices in Clearwater, FL
- We Can Sue Your Insurance Company if It Doesn't Act in Good Faith
- What Should I Do BEFORE Sustaining Flood Damage in Clearwater?
- What Should I Do After Sustaining Flood Damage in Clearwater?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Flood Damage Claims in Clearwater
- Begin Your Free, No-Obligation Case Review with Dolman Law Group
Who Is Dolman Law Group and How Can They Help With My Flood Damage Claim?
Dolman Law Group is a full-service law firm that focuses on personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage cases. We advocate for people who need compensation after suffering various losses. Our founding attorney, Matthew Dolman, takes property damage cases in Clearwater seriously. That's because he resides in the area, too.
He knows that while living on the coast is easy living for many, it comes with various risks, such as flooding, storm surge, and hurricanes. When Attorney Dolman and his team manage a property damage case, they do so with one intention: to recover damages.
They do this by:
- Giving open lines of communication. When you get Attorney Dolman's business card, that's his personal cellphone number listed. This level of communication makes reaching your attorney easy. We aim to make ourselves constantly available to answer your questions and listen to your concerns.
- Offering experienced legal representation. Our team isn't afraid of combating your insurance company. We've gone head-to-head with massive organizations, including Boy Scouts of America and clergy members. We're not afraid of negotiating with your insurer or fighting bad faith insurance practices. It's nothing we haven't handled countless times before.
- Listening to your story. We offer free case evaluations to prospective clients. If you have questions about partnering with our legal team, don't hesitate to ask! We're here to put your mind at ease and explain your legal options.
We implement tailor-made legal strategies for those we represent. We know that your flood damage claim comes with its own circumstances—and our plan of action should reflect that. Our legal team is ready to manage everything your situation entails.
Listen to What Previous Clients Share About Our Quality of Service
Attorney Matthew Dolman founded his law firm with one goal in mind: serving people in need. We believe that our clients' testimonials reflect that sentiment.
For instance, a previous client of ours, Loriann Kristal, shared that she felt Attorney Dolman was one of the most knowledgeable and professional lawyers she had ever met. Another former client, Kelley C., noted that they were treated with respect and empathy from day one. They recommend us to their friends and family without the slightest hesitation.
We know at the conclusion of our partnership, you'll feel confident about working with us. If there's anything we can do to improve your experience, give us a call. We want to make everything about our partnership as positive as possible.
We've Secured Results for Our Clients
The attorneys at Dolman Law Group have secured millions of dollars in damages, from medical bills to property damage costs. What does this mean for you? We hope that our results showcase our commitment to your case's success. We believe they also speak volumes to our skills at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Your flood damage lawyer from our firm in Clearwater aims for the best possible resolution to your claim. We've fought tooth and nail for others in your situation—and now, it's your turn to get financial justice.
Why Work With a Flood Damage Attorney at Our Firm?
There are many reasons why you may consider legal help in the aftermath of a flood. Namely, if the liable insurer denies your claim (or offers less than you need), an attorney at our firm can offer support.
Other reasons why you may consider legal representation include:
- You're not sure how to file a claim. Filing a property damage claim can get complicated. You may have to navigate complex legal jargon or deal with claims adjusters. Our team can assess your potential claim and ensure its filed correctly.
- You're unsure of your coverage options. You may know that you have coverage but not how much. Reading through your policy could confuse you further. Our team can interpret your coverage's legalese and explain your financial recovery options.
- The insurer isn't treating your claim in good faith. Even if you've had a longstanding relationship with your insurer, it may not act in good faith. For instance, it may deny your claim, even if you have coverage. It could also throw up other roadblocks to dissuade you from seeking damages. We can hold the insurer accountable for what you need.
- The insurer offers less than you need. You deserve every penny you're entitled to under the liable insurance policy. If offered less, this could mean the insurer isn't acting in your best interest.
There are countless reasons why you may consider partnering with Dolman Law Group. No matter the reason, we're eager to hear your story.
We Offer Free Case Evaluations to Property Owners in Clearwater
Do you have questions about your flood insurance claim? You can ask those questions during your complimentary case review.
During this no-obligation discussion, you can share your situation, including the extent of your property's damage. We can also share the benefits of partnering with Dolman Law Group and what you could expect from the claims process.
We Advocate for Property Owners in Clearwater, FL
Dolman Law Group advocates for property owners from all walks of life.
We're ready to seek a settlement from the insurer if you own or manage a(n):
- Multi-family complex, such as an apartment/condo development
- Agricultural site
- Commercial enterprise, such as a store or restaurant
- Single-family home
- Strip mall or shopping center
- Hotel, motel, or resort
- Recreational facility, such as a mini-golf course
You invested time, money, and energy into your property. A flood shouldn't erase that. Our lawyers can do everything in our power to secure the settlement you need from the liable insurer. We can also explore whether filing a third-party claim or lawsuit could yield the necessary recovery.
Damage Your Property May Have Endured From the Flood
You could have flood insurance as a standalone policy. This insurance covers any damage caused by floods, whether manmade or from natural events. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that this insurance is crucial; even an inch of standing water can cause $25,000 in damage.
We advocate for people whose properties have sustained the direct (and indirect) damage caused by flooding, such as:
- Mold and mildew growth
- Damaged or destroyed appliances, electronic devices, and possessions
- Electrical failure
- Structural damage
- Waterlogged drywall
- Flooring damage, including destroyed carpet, tile, and rugs
- Lighting failures
- Sewage backup
Even if you don't see the specific damage your property sustained above, the sentiment still stands: if your property sustained damage because of a flood, our lawyers can support you.
Coverage You Can Get from Your Flood Insurance Policy
Your covered losses depend on the specifics of your flood insurance policy. How much you can recover depends on your policy's limits.
FEMA notes that you may have coverage for:
- Structural repairs. The deeper the flood's waters, the more damage it inflicts. FEMA notes that 18 inches or more of standing water merits repairs to a structure's electrical system, HVAC unit, and appliances. This could cost more than $30,000 in damage. Yet, your insurance could cover it.
- Belongings damaged by the flood. Most insurance policies cover damage to personal possessions, such as electronics, furniture, and appliances. This applies whether you purchased homeowners or business insurance.
- Business interruption costs. If you run a business, a flood can interrupt how long you can stay open and in what capacity. You could seek reimbursement for any financial losses while you closed the business for repairs.
- Hotel costs. The flood may have made your home uninhabitable. If so, you may have needed temporary living arrangements. You could receive reimbursement for the reasonable cost of staying in a hotel or making other plans.
- Emergency repairs. Many property owners wait until their insurance companies' approval before making repairs. Yet, in some situations, the longer you wait, the more damage could happen. Insurance could cover the cost of repairs needed to prevent further destruction to your property.
You may have coverage for other losses than those listed above.
How Much Could I Recover Via an Insurance Claim?
The specific dollar amount you can recover from a flood damage claim also depends on your policy. There is no one-size-fits-all figure for paying out flood damage claims.
Yet, these factors could play a key role in how much you can seek:
- Your policy's coverage limits
- Whether your property is a total loss
- How the flood affected your property
- Whether you own residential or commercial property
- The steps you took to mitigate any damage
- Whether the property sustained damage previously
- How much you paid each month to maintain the policy
Our team may conduct an investigation into your property's damage to determine what you need. We can explore all avenues of seeking recovery, whether that means filing a claim with your own insurer or taking another route.
Services Our Flood Damage Lawyers in Clearwater Provide
Whether you're just starting the claims process or in the middle of heated negotiations, we're here to advocate for you. After partnering with us, you can expect your attorney from Dolman Law Group to:
Review Your Insurance Policy
Pinellas County requires flood insurance if:
- You have property with a federally regulated or insured lender.
- You live in a special flood zone.
Our team can review your insurance policy and determine what you're able to seek. We can also answer questions related to any deductibles, policy limits, and other necessary information.
Assess Your Losses
You may have a rough idea of your damages. Yet, flood damage causes much more harm than what initially meets the eye. For instance, you may want to replace the carpeting in your office building. Yet, the floors beneath the carpet could need replacing, too. This could make a one-hundred-dollar fix into a thousand-dollar ordeal.
Our team can consult carpenters, general contractors, and other professionals to glean insight into your property's damage. We may also work with other consultants to learn about business interruption coverage, inventory loss, and diminished property value when evaluating your damages. We do this to better understand your losses and seek what you need.
Send Your Demand Letter
When filing an insurance claim, you kick off the process by sending a demand letter.
This document outlines:
- When your property sustained flood damage
- The amount of compensation you're requesting
- Your name and contact information
- The type of property you own or manage
- The policy number
- A brief explanation of how your property sustained damage
- Any other facts relevant to your situation
It's vital to include this information in your demand letter, as it could set the tone for your claim's progression. Our team can draft, write, and send this letter to your insurance provider. We're ready for its response.
Manage Your Insurance Claim
After sending your demand letter, the insurance company could either:
- Request more information. The insurance company may request proof of purchase statements, receipts, and other information related to your losses. We can supply this information and establish your right to damages.
- Offer a settlement. Your flood damage lawyer in Clearwater knows what you're entitled to receive. So, if the insurance company makes an offer, we can determine whether it meets your needs. If the insurer offers what you're requesting, we can move ahead and resolve your case. If not, we may enter into negotiations.
- Deny your claim. The insurer must give a reason for your claim's denial. That way, your lawyer can address the reason and work toward a fair outcome.
You have rights as a property owner. For instance, if you own residential property, the insurer must respond to your claim within 14 days of its submission, per the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights. The insurer can't just ignore your claim; it must at least acknowledge the submission.
Negotiate for What You Need
After filing an insurance claim, we may enter into negotiations.
This process involves:
- Understanding what your policy covers
- Knowing the cost of your damages
- Presenting additional evidence to support your case
- Managing all claim-related communications
- Recognizing and combating bad faith insurance practices
Our Clearwater flood damage lawyers have one goal: getting the compensation you need to rebuild your property. Our team has 120 years of combined legal experience when it comes to advocating for our clients. We're not kidding when we say we do everything possible to seek what you need.
We Do Not Tolerate Bad Faith Insurance Practices in Clearwater, FL
Having flood damage insurance establishes a relationship between you and the insurer. You agree to pay monthly premiums, and the insurer offers coverage. Still, insurance companies are businesses. After filing a claim, the insurer could discredit or deny your claim to protect its bottom line. It could even resort to unfair tactics to discourage you from proceeding.
As noted, you have rights as a policyholder.
We rely on our commitment, years of experience, and legal knowledge to combat:
- The insurer denies you coverage for no reason.
- The claims adjuster offers less than you're entitled to receive—and says that's the best they can do.
- The insurance company fails to respond to your emails, phone calls, and text messages.
- The claims adjuster tries pressuring you into accepting a lowball offer.
- The insurance company delays your case's progression—perhaps by passing the claim around from adjuster to adjuster.
Insurance companies must treat policyholders with respect and fairness. When they don't, you have legal options. You can partner with the flood damage team from Dolman Law Group. We aim to hold the liable insurer for the coverage you paid for.
We Can Sue Your Insurance Company if It Doesn't Act in Good Faith
Still, even with our legal help, if the insurance company refuses to cooperate, you have options. We may file a lawsuit against the insurer to recoup what you need. Per Florida law, you generally have five years to sue a non-compliant insurance company. Here, you would sue based on “breach of contract,” meaning the insurer did not fulfill its obligations when processing your claim.
Suing the insurance company may be the last thing on your mind. However, we've done this for many claimants—sometimes resolving their cases with seven-figure outcomes.
If we take on the insurer via a lawsuit, we may:
- File your case with the court system
- Take depositions and interview witnesses
- Manage your case's relevant filing deadlines
- Present your case and the cost of your covered losses
- Advocate for what you need
- Navigate litigation on your behalf
While your lawsuit unfolds, we may continue dealing with the liable insurance company. Once it sees that we've filed a lawsuit, it may offer a fair settlement. If not, we can guide your lawsuit to a verdict.
What Should I Do BEFORE Sustaining Flood Damage in Clearwater?
We understand that the flood has already happened. However, you may have taken a few steps beforehand to document your property and protect the premises from damage.
This may have included:
- Taking pictures of your property's interior and exterior
- Remedying certain issues, such as broken windows or appliances
- Moving items indoors before the flood happened
- Boarding up windows, using shutters, and implementing other measures to mitigate damage
- Sealing any gaps or holes
- Using a sump pump to remove excess water
- Clearing floor drains from obstructions
These measures go a long way when pursuing a flood damage claim. They show the insurer that you did everything possible to prevent flood damage and deserve compensation.
What Should I Do After Sustaining Flood Damage in Clearwater?
Our attorneys want to pursue and resolve your insurance claim. Yet, we need your help in doing so. There are a few post-flood recommendations that could bolster your claim and support your right to damages.
Some of these considerations include:
Documenting the Damage
Documenting your property's damage is more than making a list of damaged items; it also involves:
- Taking photos from different angles. Imagine that you own a home with flood-damaged floors. You should take photos of waterlogged tiles, soggy carpets, and soaked baseboards. A good photo tells the insurer a thousand words when assessing your damages.
- Keeping any receipts and bills. You may have hired contractors to fix immediate damage. You should keep all estimates, billing statements, and invoices related to these services, so you can seek compensation. If you need to reside in a hotel after your home suffered damage, you should keep records of those stays, too.
- Taking videos. Videos can accomplish things that photos can't. For instance, if you have a damaged appliance, a picture may not share much. However, a video of it failing to turn on or work properly could convince the insurer to consider this a loss.
Preventing Further Damage
Your flood insurance only covers damage the flood caused. It does not cover any damage that happens afterward.
Consider this scenario:
- A flood created a hole in the side of your house.
- You did not patch the hole or attempt to cover it with anything.
- Rats made their way inside your home, chewing and severing your home's wiring.
In this instance, the insurer may not cover the damage to your appliances since the flood did not directly cause the damage. It could argue that because you failed to protect your property in the aftermath of the flood, you don't deserve compensation for certain expenses.
You can prevent further damage to your property by boarding up broken windows, using dehumidifiers to reduce mold growth, and removing items from the premises altogether.
Notifying Your Insurance Company
Filing a claim and notifying your insurance company of flood damage are two different things. Filing a claim means requesting compensation for your covered losses. Notifying the insurance company means sharing that you intend to file a claim but are still assessing your losses.
You want to make a firm connection between your property's damage and the flood itself. So, you should notify your insurance provider in writing. That way, the claims adjuster can't deny the cause of your property's damage.
These are just a few considerations that could ease the claims process after a flood. When you connect with Dolman Law Group, we can explain other post-flood considerations that could bolster your insurance claim.
Frequently Asked Questions About Flood Damage Claims in Clearwater
You may have many unanswered questions in the aftermath of a severe flood in Clearwater. If you have questions, we have answers. Some inquiries we've received from other clients in your situation include:
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Flood Damage Claim?
We hope to resolve your claim as soon as possible. However, many factors play a role in your claim's progression. Those factors include the insurer's willingness to settle, the extent of your property's damage, and the availability of evidence.
The Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights offers some insight into how many claims progress:When filing your claim, the insurer has 14 days to acknowledge its submission.
- After sending a Proof of Loss Statement (if asked), the insurer has 30 days to notify you about whether your claim will be paid in full, partially paid, denied, or investigated.
- Within 90 days of submitting your claim, the insurer must give full payment, compensation for your claim's undisputed aspects, or a written denial.
If the insurer does not act within this prescribed time frame, it could be acting in bad faith. In that situation, your lawyer can hold the insurer accountable for your losses and advocate for a fair resolution.
Why Would the Insurance Company Deny My Claim?
If the insurance company denies your claim, it must give a written reason for the denial.
It may say:
- You don't have enough information to support your claim.
- You're requesting damages for non-covered losses.
- You're not up to date on your premiums, and the liable policy has lapsed.
- The flood did not cause certain damages.
- The insurer isn't liable for your losses.
- The insurer suspects that the damage was intentional.
- You waited too long to notify the insurer of your property's damage.
There are limitless reasons why an insurer may deny a valid claim. First, our team can determine the reason for your claim's denial. Then, we can address that reason based on its details. We may collect more evidence, prove the connection between your losses and the flood, and challenge any unjust assertions.
How Long Does It Take for My Policy to Kick In?
The Insurance Information Institute (III) notes that it takes 30 days from the date of purchase for your flood insurance policy to remain active. You cannot purchase coverage the day before a natural disaster and expect to get coverage.
The insurance company may argue that your policy hasn't been active long enough to yield damages. In that instance, we can use payment methods, your filing history, and other information to assert otherwise.
What Causes Floods in Clearwater?
FEMA reports that wherever it rains, there's a chance that it could flood.
Your flood damage insurance could cover losses arising from:
- Tropical storms
- Severe thunderstorms
- Storm surges
- Broken dams or levees
- Backed-up sewer or water mains
- Burst pipes
Weather.gov notes that Florida floods can happen from May to October. Yet, these events can happen any time of the year, given Clearwater's proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.
Can I File a Lawsuit After a Flood in Clearwater?
Whether you can file a lawsuit depends on two things: the cause of your property's damage and the insurer's willingness to settle.
Here's what you need to know:
- As noted, if the insurer refuses to settle your case in good faith, you can file a lawsuit for breach of contract. Sometimes, filing a lawsuit compels the insurer to offer a fair settlement.
- If another party caused your property's damage, you could sue them. For instance, suppose you hired a contractor to repair a water heater. Then, the water heater burst and flooded your home. In that instance, you could sue the contractor for the subpar repairs. You could also file a claim with their liability insurance provider to recoup your losses.
The team at Dolman Law Group can manage everything your potential lawsuit entails. While we navigate litigation, you can focus on getting your property back on track.
Do I Have to Give Back Extra Money the Insurer Gives Me?
Suppose that the insurer pays you $100,000 to repair the damage to your home or business. However, your losses only totaled $80,000. That leaves you with an extra $20,000. Your insurance policy should explain what to do with the extra funds. It may ask that you report the instance to the insurer. The policy may not shed any insight into this situation.
Our lawyers can assess your situation and explain what to do in this situation. It's crucial that we take appropriate steps if you get extra money; we don't want the insurer to accuse you of insurance fraud or making a false claim.
Begin Your Free, No-Obligation Case Review with Dolman Law Group
Did your home or business suffer damage in a flood? Are you having problems receiving compensation from the liable insurer? Look no further for legal help than Dolman Law Group. Our team of Clearwater flood damage lawyers is ready to seek what you need.
To begin your free case review, contact us today at (727) 451-6900.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900