Located on the Manatee River and featuring parks, preserves, and world-class dining and shopping, Bradenton is a place where many people want to live. However, if you live here, you know that many risks in the area can damage property, including vehicles, homes, businesses, and even your belongings.
Many insurance policies cover property damage in Bradenton, depending on the damage that occurred. The common policies that property damage claims are filed against include auto liability policies when a vehicle sustains damage as a result of the negligence of another driver.
Vehicle damage claims can also be filed against the claimant’s own comprehensive or collision policies if they opt to obtain this optional coverage. Damage to the structure of a home or its contents can be filed against a homeowners policy, and compensation for damages to a business or its contents can be recovered by filing a claim against a property insurance policy.
While the claims process was designed so individuals and businesses suffering property damage can deal directly with an insurance provider, insurance providers tend to focus more on finding reasons to deny coverages and claims than on providing the compensation that their insured needs to replace or repair their damaged property.
A seasoned Bradenton property damage lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can provide several services to help as you navigate the claims process.
- Dolman Law Group Can Help You With Your Property Damage Claim
- The Types of Property Damage Claims That Are Common in Bradenton
- The Difficulties Often Encountered When Filing a Property Damage Claims
- Frequently Asked Questions about Bradenton Property Damage Claims
- Bradenton Property Damage Claim? Dolman Can Help
Dolman Law Group Can Help You With Your Property Damage Claim
The legal team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has been assisting individuals and businesses in obtaining the coverage they need after they’ve sustained any property damage.
We regularly work with claims involving:
- Hail and wind damage
- Water damage
- Damage as a result of fires, explosions, and smoke
- Removal of mold damage in the home
- Damage to vehicles as a result of car accidents, weather-related events, or theft
- Damage or theft to items, including artwork, jewelry, electronics, or equipment
- Replacement of faulty appliances
- Damage resulting from cast iron pipes, which are commonly found in older homes
Finding Our Bradenton Office
While the advent of the internet has allowed individuals and businesses to seek the assistance of lawyers who do not live in their region, there are benefits to having a local attorney. With the property damage lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, you can get convenient access to services from someone familiar with the area where the damage occurred. Because of these benefits, we have focused on providing local attorneys at our offices throughout the state and beyond.
Our Bradenton office is located at 6703 14th Street W, Suite 207.
The Types of Property Damage Claims That Are Common in Bradenton
Weather damage, car accidents, and other calamities often occur, even in idyllic places such as Bradenton. Here is a look at some of the most common types of property damage that occur here.
According to property information, analytics, and data provider, CoreLogic, Bradenton is among the areas of the U.S. at most risk of sustaining damage due to a hurricane. This risk results from its location, with Tampa Bay to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the west, which makes it vulnerable to catastrophic storms forming, approaching, and making landfall in either direction.
The 285,000 homes in the area are at moderate risk of damage by winds, hail, storm surges, and power outages that could cost $57.5 billion.
According to the website Risk Factor, nearly half of the properties in Bradenton are at an increased risk of flooding. Overall, the city has a moderate risk of experiencing flood damage that will affect the community’s day-to-day life.
While standard insurance policies do not generally provide flood damage (unless the damage occurred due to hurricane-related events), Bradenton residents can obtain flood insurance through the federal National Flood Insurance Program, maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Anyone can buy flood insurance, including those living in high-risk areas. As little as one inch of water inside a home can cause $25,000 in damages.
Fire and Smoke Damage
The Bradenton Fire Department provides firefighting, fire protection, and emergency services to residents and businesses within the city’s 15 square miles. The fire department operates three stations and maintains a staff of slightly over 60 people divided among three shifts. They respond to around 5,800 calls for service each year, with many of these calls featuring structure fires.
Individuals in Bradenton who have suffered property damage or loss due to a fire will generally need to obtain a copy of the fire report to provide to their insurer when making a claim. Report fires calling the department at 941-932-9600 or sending a request to FireDe[email protected] with the subject line “Record Request.”
According to Bradenton-based Keller’s Pest Control, people aren’t the only ones who love the warm, sunny days and moist coastal air that the city generally experiences. Termites love these qualities too, and termites commonly damage homes in the area.
One tell-tale sign that you have a termite infestation is mud tubes on foundation walls that termites use as shelter from the air as they travel from the soil to the wood of the home. Termites eat the wood frames of households, causing doors and windows to fit poorly and even causing a risk of the structure collapsing.
Cast Iron Pipe Damage
Several years ago, the City of Bradenton initiated a long-term capital improvement plan that calls for replacing around 25 miles of cast iron pipes throughout the city that break and require large amounts of maintenance to keep in service. Unfortunately, cast iron water lines aren’t only found in municipal water systems throughout Florida but in homes built before the mid-1970s. These lines frequently result in leaks and plumbing backups that can cause water damage and result in the need for a property damage claim.
Damage from Car Accidents
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLSHMV) reports that around 2,800 motor vehicle accidents occur in the Bradenton area, resulting in only property damage. When a driver suffers damage to their car due to an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, they can generally file a claim for property damage against the at-fault party’s auto liability policy. If the damage was caused by the driver’s negligence or involved an uninsured at-fault party, the driver can seek compensation for their property damage by filing a claim against optional insurance policies they have purchased, such as a collision policy.
However, car accidents aren’t the only type of vehicle damage that can result in a property damage claim. Many drivers purchase optional comprehensive coverage for their motor vehicle, which can provide compensation for property damage or loss resulting from theft, hail or wind, or other types of unplanned disasters.
Other Damage Claims
Claims can also be made for damages or loss resulting from theft, criminal activity, and many other calamities. If you have sustained property damage and are unsure whether your insurance covers the damage, an experienced property damage lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can help. These attorneys can help you interpret the confusing language of your policy and explain the options available to you.
The Difficulties Often Encountered When Filing a Property Damage Claims
Any claim against an insurance policy is prone to becoming difficult due to the attempts by insurance claims adjusters to reduce or even eliminate the value of a claim. Those unfamiliar with the state’s laws about the obligations of insurance providers and bad faith insurance practices stand a high chance of having their claims reduced simply due to this lack of knowledge and the tactics used by the insurance company to avoid paying the value of the claim.
Other difficulties encountered in the process include understanding and meeting the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in court if the insurance company fails to pay and understanding the documentation and evidence needed to prove the loss and the claim’s value.
Why Insurance Companies Deny Claims
Insurance companies can and do frequently deny these claims and often have legitimate reasons for doing so.
Insurance companies deny Bradenton property damage claims because:
- The policyholder failed to pay their premiums, resulting in a lapse in coverage.
- The policy excludes the damage.
- The insurance provider believes you made a fraudulent claim.
- The policyholder failed to respond to the claims adjuster’s request for information.
- Of data errors contained in the claim.
How Dolman Law Group Can Help You Hold Insurers Accountable
The skilled property damage lawyers from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, have a deep understanding of contract law and can understand the language of an insurance policy that creates confusion and frustration for many policyholders.
We know the deadlines that insurance providers have for responding to your claim and issuing payment on an approved claim, as well as what they’re required to do when they decide to deny a claim or reduce a settlement.
We have experience valuing property damage and the types of financial losses associated with the damage covered by standard policies. For example, we know there is money that can be provided upfront by your insurer so that you can address immediate needs, such as temporary housing if your home becomes uninhabitable as a result of a fire or vehicle rental if your car was damaged as a result of a car accident.
Clients often come to us after they’ve filed a claim with their insurance provider and that claim has been denied. In many cases, we can help people who have had their property damage claims denied to appeal the denial and gather the information necessary to show that the denial was made in error.
When an insurance company employs bad faith insurance practices to devalue your claim, an experienced legal professional who works on property damage claims knows how to handle the situation and protect your right to compensation by filing a lawsuit against the provider.
We know the types of evidence needed to prove that property damage occurred to items or properties you own and to justify the cost of your claim. While most property damage claims settle without the need for litigation, the Dolman Law Group attorneys are skilled trial lawyers. We are not afraid to fight on your behalf to hold the insurance company accountable for their obligations to their insured.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bradenton Property Damage Claims
Bradenton is one of Florida’s friendliest and most cultural and art-friendly towns. It’s also the location of more than 22,000 households and nearly 1,500 businesses. When those households or businesses suffer property damage resulting from another party’s negligence, a structure fire, water leaks, or even several types of natural disasters, the property owner can claim their homeowners or property insurance policy to receive compensation for the costs of repairing or replacing the property, or the actual cash value of the property.
Here is a look at some of the questions our clients often ask about property damage claims in Bradenton.
What type of property damage can I seek compensation for in Bradenton?
The property damages can result in a property damage claim include:
- Damage to a vehicle in a car accident. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), the Bradenton area roadways experience around 2,800 property damage-only accidents yearly. This property damage claim can be filed against an at-fault party’s liability insurance policy or the insured’s own comprehensive or collision policy if they have one.
- Damage to a home or business caused by wind or hail. According to the Insurance Information Institute, wind and hail damage is the most common type of claim against a homeowners or renters insurance policy, accounting for 45 percent of all property damage claims.
- Water damage from leaking appliances, plumbing backups, or leaking roofs.
- Damage resulting from smoke or fire. The Bradenton Fire Department responds to about 5,800 incidents yearly, including structure fires, medical emergencies, technical rescues, and hazardous materials.
- Theft of property, such as jewelry, vehicles, or electronics.
What circumstances can result in my property damage claim being denied?
There are several (mostly) legitimate reasons why an insurance provider can reject a property damage claim, such as:
- The failure of the insured to make their monthly premiums resulting in a lapse in coverage.
- The type of property damage claimed is excluded from coverage per the policy’s written language.
- The claim lacks the supporting evidence to show ownership of the property or actual damage.
- The claim has minor data errors.
- The insurance provider has reason to believe that the claim is fraudulent or that the damage occurred intentionally to obtain money through the claim.
- The insurance provider determines that the damage resulted from the claimant’s negligence in maintaining the property.
Can I seek temporary housing or vehicle rental compensation in my property damage claim?
Most homeowners’ policies do include coverage for additional expenses, such as temporary housing while their home is being rebuilt or repaired. Temporary living expense coverage, commonly referred to as loss of use coverage or Coverage D, can reimburse the claimant for temporary living accommodations if their home is uninhabitable after a covered disaster. Consult with an attorney to determine if your policy has this coverage and whether your situation qualifies for making a claim for loss of use.
How long does it take to receive a settlement on a property damage claim?
In Florida, several deadlines are imposed on insurance companies when investigating and compensating a property damage claim.
These deadlines include:
- Fourteen days to acknowledge a claim and send the policyholder paperwork, including proof-of-loss forms that are legal documents listing the damaged items and showing ownership of those items
- Thirty days to decide on the claim after receiving the claimant’s proof-of-loss forms
- Twenty days to issue payment for the claim once it has been approved
Insurance companies are prohibited from deliberately delaying the investigation into a claim or withholding payment on an approved claim.
Can I trust the claims adjuster who is evaluating my claim?
While claims adjusters often come off as friendly, personable people—and undoubtedly many of them are—insurance companies aren’t in business to pay claims. They are in the business of selling insurance policies and collecting premiums.
To protect their bottom line, insurance companies hire claims adjusters to investigate the claim and determine the least amount of money the company can get away with paying to resolve the claim. To do this, insurance companies often resort to tactics that can amount to bad-faith insurance practices.
What is bad faith, and how can it affect my claim?
Insurance companies use bad-faith practices to avoid paying claims, including:
- Misrepresenting the policy’s language leads the policyholder to believe that certain types of claims are excluded from coverage when they’re not. If an insurance company tells a claimant that they are not eligible to file the claim and the claimant doesn’t have an attorney assisting them in the process, they will often simply believe the insurance company and walk away from the process.
- Deliberately delaying the investigation of the claim. A decision can only be made on the claim once a claims adjuster has investigated the circumstances resulting in property damage and the claimant’s stated losses. By delaying that investigation, they also delay the ability of the claimant to get the compensation they need to move forward from the incident that caused their property to become damaged.
- Denying a claim without providing a reason. Insurance companies have an appeals process that claimants can undergo to provide additional information supporting a claim that the insurance provider has denied. If the insurance company fails to provide a reason why the claim was denied, the claimant can determine if it was a legitimate reason for the denial. They will also need help to adequately prepare for the appeals process or prove why the insurance company should not have denied the claim.
- Offering a meager settlement. When a claimant doesn’t have an attorney available to guide the value of their claim and how much is fair, they will often fall for the insurance company line: “This amount of compensation is all that is available for the claim.” An experienced property damage lawyer from Dolman Law Group can help you determine how much compensation you need to reimburse you for your losses and how much coverage is available from the policy.
- Intimidating the claimant. A common bad faith insurance practice that many claims adjusters use to devalue claims is attaching an arbitrary deadline to a settlement offer that is not related to the statute of limitations on property damage claims in the state where they live and telling the claimant they will lose their right to compensation if they don’t accept the offer by that date. This places the claimant in a situation where they have to make a split-second decision without having the opportunity to consult with an attorney about their claim’s value.
How long do I have to file a property damage claim in Bradenton?
States create their statute of limitations on different types of claims. The statute of limitations is a deadline by which the claim must be filed as a lawsuit in court.
While the vast majority of civil claims—including those involving property damage—are resolved through a settlement between the insurer and the claimant, missing the statute of limitations will do two things that cripple the claimant’s ability to receive reimbursement of the costs incurred as a result of property damage.
Missing the statute of limitations will:
- Almost always result in losing the right to obtain compensation on the claim by filing a lawsuit, as the claimant will be barred from using the court process.
- Free the insurance company from having to settle the claim because they are not required to pay on claims once the statute of limitations has passed.
Florida has a four-year statute of limitations on property damage claims.
If I was in a car accident, do I file the property damage claim against my insurance or someone else’s?
It depends on the circumstances of the accident and the type of available insurance resources. If you incurred damage to your car as a result of someone else’s negligence, you could seek compensation for repairing or replacing your vehicle through the at-fault party’s auto liability insurance policy. Florida drivers only need a $10,000 property damage policy.
If the cost of your claim exceeds the limits of the at-fault driver’s property damage liability coverage or the driver who caused the accident was not insured, vehicle damage claimants can seek compensation through some of the optional coverages provided by their own insurance policy.
Many drivers obtain collision coverage, which can cover expenses related to damage to a vehicle due to a car accident. Comprehensive coverage is also an optional policy that provides coverage of the costs related to damages to the vehicle that are not associated with a collision, such as theft, wind, or hail.
A skilled property damage lawyer from Dolman Law Group can evaluate your policies and those held by an at-fault party to help you determine the best ones against which to file your claim.
Does my PIP coverage compensate me for property damage to my car?
In addition to purchasing $10,000 in property damage liability, drivers in Florida are also required to maintain a personal injury protection (PIP) policy of at least $10,000. PIP can partially reimburse the costs associated with medical treatment for injuries sustained in an auto accident and a portion of the wage loss resulting from missed work due to the injury. However, this policy does not provide compensation for property damage to your vehicle.
Why do I need an attorney to assist me with my property damage claim?
Insurance claims can be complicated, requiring you to determine the value of lost or damaged items and attach a value to those items. Insurance companies will use tactics to reduce the claim’s value, leaving you at risk of losses that can’t be fully compensated. The legal process of suing an insurance provider is also extraordinarily difficult for those with experience or education in the law. You can bet that the insurer will have legal counsel to assist them throughout the litigation.
The experienced property damage lawyers from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, have extensive experience assisting claimants throughout Florida with property damage claims. We understand contract law and your insurance provider’s obligations to pay your claim.
We can help you understand your policy, communicate with the insurance provider about your claim, negotiate a settlement that provides fair compensation for your damages, and represent you before a judge or jury if the insurance provider fails to settle the claim. Meanwhile, you can expect quality services from us and personalized attention.
From this, we hope you will come away with the maximum compensation available for your claim and a deeper understanding of how the claims process works.
Let one of our experienced Bradenton property damage lawyers evaluate your case during a free case evaluation to get started on your property claim.
Bradenton Property Damage Claim? Dolman Can Help
Whether your property damage claim features the loss of a home due to a fire or hurricane or a vehicle due to theft or a collision, the experienced property damage lawyers at Dolman Law Group can evaluate your case for free. We can help you understand the available coverages and tell you more about the process of receiving money for the repair or replacement of your damaged or stolen property. With offices throughout Florida, accessing our services is easy.