Boston Property Damage Lawyer

June 22, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Your Boston property, whether a home or vehicle, suffered serious damage—maybe in a fire, maybe a crash.

Now what?

You may find yourself staring down substantial bills for repairs, worried about where you will stay or how you will manage transportation in the meantime, and concerned about whether you will receive the compensation you deserve for your losses. Unfortunately, your insurance company might not offer the support you need. Whether you have suffered a fire in your home, flood damage, or lasting damage due to an error with your pipes, you may find yourself fighting with the insurance company over the compensation you really deserve.

Dolman Law Group and Dolman Law Group's Boston property damage attorneys can help you. Contact us today at 833-552-7274 to learn more about your right to compensation for damage done to your home.

Why You Need a Lawyer For a Boston Property Damage Claim

Boston Property Damage Lawyers

Homeowner's insurance policies tend to be very complex documents that require a good deal of legal knowledge to completely understand. An experienced property damage lawyer brings the legal knowledge that you need to your case, increasing your chances of obtaining the full amount of compensation available to you.

Some of these services include:

  • A free case evaluation, which provides you time with an attorney to obtain answers to the questions you have specifically about your case, as well as to learn more about how the firm can assist you in getting compensation
  • A careful review of your insurance coverage to determine if the losses you are claiming are compensable through your policy
  • Preparation of a demand package to be given to your insurance company. The demand package details your case and shows proof of your damages. Upon receiving the demand package, your insurance company can either: 1) Accept liability for the loss and pay the claim in full; 2) Deny the claim outright; or 3) Offer a settlement.
  • Settlement negotiations with the at-fault party's insurance provider in an attempt to garner a fair settlement offer on your behalf
  • Guidance as to the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting any offered settlement
  • Assistance with appealing a claim decision or with initiating contact with an insurance company that has not been responsive to your claim
  • Gathering and organization of the documents and witness testimony you will need to prove your case in court
  • In place of a fair settlement, litigation. Your attorney's litigation services include delivering opening and closing arguments, presenting evidence, and examining witnesses
  • Assistance with collecting your property damage settlement or award

Common Types of Property Damage in Boston

Boston homeowners, renters, and vehicle owners alike may suffer severe property damage. What compensation you can claim for that property damage may depend on the insurance coverage you carry, including your deductible and any exceptions to your policy.

Hurricane Damage

Powerful storms and hurricanes can cause severe damage across the Boston area. Your home may suffer damage to the roof, windows, and siding. You may find yourself with serious flood damage, especially if waters rise considerably higher than anticipated during the storm. Even if you do your best to prepare ahead of time for a hurricane, it can still cause serious damage to your home. In some cases, you may need to carry a specific rider for hurricane damage to receive full coverage for the damage it does to your home.

Flood Damage

Homes that sit in flood plains, or areas that see a high degree of flooding, may need special flood coverage to have adequate insurance to protect homeowners during times of flooding. Floods can cause serious water damage throughout your home.

Even minor flooding can cause serious problems in your basement. As floodwaters creep higher, you may have more problems with your carpets, your furniture, and even your walls. Failing to clean up flood damage quickly can result in increasing mold throughout the property, which may mean a significant increase in illness to you and the members of your family. Mold cleanup can quickly increase the cost of recovery following flooding in or around your home.

Cast Iron Pipes

Older homes in the Boston area may have cast iron plumbing. Unfortunately, cast iron pipes can break down with time. You may fail to notice the immediate impact of a pipe breaking down: a small leak behind the walls, for example, may go unnoticed for a long time, leading to significant water damage. You may need to replace the wall and connected fixtures to reduce the associated risks of mold. Other times, the pipe may break abruptly, leading to a gush of water and the need for substantial cleanup.

Fire Damage

In a fire, seconds count. Flames can destroy your property and leave you with severe structural damage. Rising smoke can also cause severe stains or seep into your furniture and possessions. As firefighters arrive to put out the flames, they may pour water over the building. While this measure proves necessary in putting out the fire itself, it can also leave many of your possessions with severe water damage. You may need to work closely with a restoration expert to restore your home as much as possible following a fire.

Termite Damage Insurance Claims

For such a small bug, termites can be one of the biggest headaches that homeowners have to deal with. Termite damage can end up costing thousands of dollars to repair and signs of an infestation do not usually become apparent until a hive has chewed through a significant portion of wood. Property owners that look to insurance claims to cover the damage inflicted by a termite infestation are often disappointed to discover that their policy has language that excludes coverage in cases such as this. 

Just because a property insurance company has denied your claim or told you that you cannot get money to cover your termite damage does not mean that there are no options available. Consider seeking out the assistance of a termite damage lawyer to determine if there is still a way to seek coverage for termite damage to your property. 

An experienced Boston termite damage lawyer can comb through your policy and determine if there are any loopholes or other options that can be utilized to get you compensation. For example, despite some policies excluding coverage for termite damage, they may still have a collapse provision that can be used if your termite damage causes a collapse. 

Auto Damage

Property damage does not just include your house. Your vehicle, too, represents a substantial investment. Damage can occur to your vehicle in several ways. Many people suffer vehicle damage in auto accidents, both with and without severe injuries to the passengers of those vehicles. Damage to your vehicle generally falls under a different section of the liable driver's auto insurance policy, which means you can claim compensation for damage to your vehicle in addition to any compensation you may need to claim for injuries suffered in an accident.

Damage to your vehicle can also occur due to acts of nature or because of severe storms or high winds. For example, rising floods could cause severe damage to your vehicle along with your home. A fire that damages your home may also cause severe damage to your vehicle.

Recovering funds used to repair your vehicle may look different depending on the type of auto insurance you carry. If someone else damages your vehicle, you will typically seek compensation through the other party's liability insurance. If that party does not carry insurance, you can use your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, depending on the terms of the other party's insurance, to provide vital compensation for your vehicle.

On the other hand, if vehicle damage occurs due to an act of nature, including fire or flood, you may need to seek compensation through your own comprehensive auto insurance policy. If you do not carry comprehensive insurance, especially if you carry liability-only insurance, you may not receive adequate compensation for your vehicle.

Termite Damage Insurance Claims

For such a small bug, termites can be one of the biggest headaches that homeowners have to deal with. Termite damage can end up costing thousands of dollars to repair and signs of an infestation do not usually become apparent until a hive has chewed through a significant portion of wood. Property owners that look to insurance claims to cover the damage inflicted by a termite infestation are often disappointed to discover that their policy has language that excludes coverage in cases such as this. 

Just because a property insurance company has denied your claim or told you that you cannot get money to cover your termite damage does not mean that there are no options available. Consider seeking out the assistance of a termite damage lawyer to determine if there is still a way to seek coverage for termite damage to your property. 

An experienced termite damage lawyer can comb through your policy and determine if there are any loopholes or other options that can be utilized to get you compensation. For example, despite some policies excluding coverage for termite damage, they may still have a collapse provision that can be used if your termite damage causes a collapse. 

Managing a Boston Property Damage Claim in Boston

When you suffer damage to your property, you will typically start by filing a claim with your insurance company. Most of the time, homeowners and other property owners carry insurance designed to provide a high degree of financial protection in the event of an accident.

A Look at Your Property Insurance Policy

Typically, property insurance falls into one of several categories.

  • Renters usually carry renters' insurance to protect their possessions, but not the structure.
  • Landlords typically choose to carry property insurance that covers the structure, but provides little or no coverage for the contents of the building. This insurance may cover things like the appliances in a home, but not the renters' possessions.
  • Homeowners who live in their homes, or business owners who work out of a property they own, typically carry property insurance that protects both their possessions and the structure itself.

Review your policy carefully to understand what it covers. If you have questions about your coverage, you may want to consult a lawyer, especially if you have already suffered property damage.

You may want to consider several key elements of your policy.

  • What does your deductible look like, and what does it include? You may have a substantial deductible that you must pay yourself before your property insurance will kick in, regardless of what causes damage to your property. You cannot simply file a claim for every minor damage to your property and expect full coverage. Typically, your insurance company will subtract the amount of your deductible from the amount it pays out in compensation for your losses.
  • What does your policy cover? Do you have renters insurance or property owners' insurance? What possessions does it cover? Many policies, for example, do not include expensive jewelry or collectibles. You may need to carry separate riders for those items, especially if they have significant value.
  • What exceptions exist to your policy? You should carefully review your insurance policy long before a disaster occurs to make sure you fully understand what coverage you have in the event of an emergency. Some insurance policies do not include specific types of damage, most often flood damage. Your policy may also exclude damage from specific types of natural disasters. You may need to have a specific rider on your policy to cover those types of damage. Some people, to reduce their overall costs, may choose to pass on those policies, which can leave them with coverage gaps when they do experience a disaster.

How Do Insurance Companies in Boston Try to Avoid Paying for the Damage to Your Property?

Since you carry insurance, you may expect that, if you suffer a disaster, your insurance will kick in and help pay for those damages. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies will work with you to ensure that you have the coverage and compensation you need.

Insurance companies may use several tactics to help reduce their overall financial liability to you following serious property damage.

  • The insurance company may try to fit the damage to your home into an exception in the policy. For example, your insurance company may try to claim that water damage falls into the same category as flood damage, even if the damage occurred due to a leaky pipe or an unforeseen leak in your roof. The insurance adjuster may also attempt to claim that you deliberately caused the damage to your home, which may absolve the insurance company of paying out for the damages.
  • The insurance company may try to delay paying for as long as possible. The longer you have to wait for your insurance company to pay out following a disaster, the longer it can take before you can repair the damages to your home or get back in your home. In the case of roof damage, mold, or fire damage, you may find yourself with even more damage due to the delays. Your insurance company needs to pay out promptly, without unnecessarily delaying your payments. Delays may last longer following natural disasters, since many customers of the insurance company may have suffered damage at the same time.
  • The insurance company may try to undervalue your property or claim a lower cost for repairs. Repairing your home, especially after serious damage, can cost a great deal. The insurance company may try to claim that your home does not have the value you insured it for or that the damage will not cost as much as you claim to repair. Unfortunately, this can leave you without the funds that you need to repair your home or vehicle.

What Should You Do If You Suffer Property Damage in Boston?

The immediate aftermath of property damage, especially damage that occurs due to a catastrophic event, can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Fast action, however, can help protect your property and get it back to normal sooner. In the case of your home or vehicle, getting repairs taken care of quickly can make a huge difference in your overall comfort level. Make sure you follow the right steps to protect yourself following severe property damage.

  1. Contact your insurance company. Let the insurance company know how the damage occurred and the extent of the damage. You will likely need to make an appointment for an insurance adjuster or investigator to come out and look at your home. After that appointment, you will have a better idea of how much compensation you will receive.
  2. Get estimates of the cost of repairs. You need to know how much it will cost to repair your home or vehicle so that you will know how much money you should expect in compensation for that damage. You may want to get more than one estimate, especially if you feel the insurance company has not offered adequate compensation based on the terms of your policy.
  3. Contact an experienced Boston property damage attorney. You may need a property damage attorney if:
  • The insurance company declines to provide you with the full compensation you deserve for the financial losses you faced as a result of the property damage
  • The insurance company refuses to issue payment within a reasonable time, especially if you must wait on the insurance company to begin work on your property or vehicle
  • Another party caused the damage to your property

An experienced Boston property damage attorney can help fight for the compensation you really deserve when you suffer serious property damage, regardless of whether it occurred due to another party's negligence or because of a disaster.

Boston Property Damage FAQs

In late June 2021, severe thunderstorms rolled through Western Massachusetts, uprooting trees, downing power lines, and causing property damage with 70 mile-per-hour winds. While Boston's weather is usually reasonably calm, we face hazards here such as nor'easters, blizzards, and hurricanes, with associated flooding. Each of these weather phenomena can cause serious damage to your home and leave you having to file a property insurance claim.

A home is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make. Every homeowner is required to have insurance—but do you know how to access it? If your home was damaged, do you know how to file a claim with your insurance company? Do you know if your insurance policy covers the sort of damage you've experienced? Does the policy cover your personal property inside the house? What happens if the insurance company refuses to pay your claim?

Boston insurance claims are complex, and many turn to property damage attorneys to help them with their claims. An experienced property damage attorney can help ensure your right to obtain coverage from your homeowner's policy or the insurance policy of an at-fault party. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Boston property damage claims.

What types of property damage do homeowner's and casualty insurance policies generally cover for Boston homes?

According to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance Commissioner, Gary Anderson, “Homeowners who have reviewed their insurance policies and know what coverage they have are better prepared to handle both the financial and emotional impacts of damage occurring to their homes.”

The division recommends that homeowners review their policies each year to ensure that they have the appropriate coverage for their needs.

Most standard policies provide coverage against losses related to:

  • Fire and smoke
  • Lightning
  • Windstorms and hail
  • Explosions
  • Vandalism and other crimes, such as burglary
  • Damage caused by a motor vehicle or aircraft
  • Falling object
  • The weight of snow, ice, or sleet on the structure's roof
  • Water damage

The coverage provided in most homeowners' policies includes repair or replacement of the structure, personal contents inside the structure, and liability coverage to pay for injuries or property damage caused to visitors while they are in your home. Additionally, most standard policies will cover additional living expenses that you incur while your home is repaired, such as the cost of staying in a hotel.

What property damage will my policy probably not cover?

Standard policies rarely cover many types of damage. However, you can cover many of them through policy add-ons.

Talk to your insurance provider if you need to purchase additional coverage for:

  • Earthquakes, which are a relatively rare and generally minor event in Massachusetts
  • Water damage caused by overflows from the sump pump, sewer system, or drain
  • Damage caused by failure to maintain the premises, such as damage resulting from an insect or rodent infestation
  • Damage caused by war or nuclear disaster

What are the reasons why an insurance company can deny my Boston property damage claim?

Your insurance company may deny a claim for:

  • Failure to pay insurance premiums, resulting in a lapse in coverage
  • Failing to file your claim by the insurance company's deadline to do so
  • Providing false statements on the insurance claim
  • Failing to provide sufficient documentation to verify claimed expenses
  • Excluded property damage

If you were denied your claim for coverage of property damage, speak with an experienced property damage attorney right away so that they might help address your denied claim.

What is an independent adjuster, and should I hire one?

An independent adjuster—also known as a public adjuster—does essentially the same work as an adjuster who works for an insurance company, but without company affiliation. Some of the adjuster's tasks include talking to the claimant or witnesses about the damage, inspecting the claim to address any inconsistencies, and examining the submitted expenses along with inspecting the damage to determine if the cost of the claim is reasonable.

Massachusetts property damage claimants have the option to hire a public adjuster to ensure a fair look at the details of their claim. However, these adjusters can take up to 10 percent of your final recovery from the insurer.

While a Boston property damage attorney cannot tell you whether to hire a public adjuster, we urge you to take care when hiring one, verifying that the adjuster you use is licensed through the state's Division of Insurance and that they have a good reputation with clients who have used his or her services in the past. Additionally, you should obtain a signed and dated contract that outlines the adjuster's services and fee.

If you hire a public adjuster to handle your claim and then change your mind, you generally have just three days to cancel the contract, minus any emergency expenses you paid to the adjuster during that time.

Should you hire us to pursue your Boston property damage claim, we'll not only investigate your claim to determine what your insurer owes you, we'll negotiate a settlement, or, failing that, we can take your claim to court.

Do the attorney and the public adjuster do the same thing in a Boston property damage case? Which one should I hire?

While there is some overlap in determining the cost of your losses, the job of the public adjuster and the job of the attorney are different, and some clients find that they need the assistance of both professionals. A public adjuster's assistance is most necessary early in the claim to obtain an uninvolved third-party assessment of the damage, as well as documenting and quantifying those damages as evidence to file with the insurance or legal claim.

A property damage attorney can also determine the value of your claim, and also provide a wide array of legal services, including disputing a claim denial, negotiating a settlement, filing a legal claim in court, and litigating the case. The different skill-sets of a public adjuster and a property damage attorney are often complementary. However, if you're only going to choose one, a property damage attorney is the only one who can resolve insurance company disputes.

What happens if my insurance company is refusing to communicate with me about my Boston property damage claim?

Unlike other states, in which the time limit is generally 30 days, Boston insurance companies do not have a set time in which they have to respond to a claim, but are required to address the claim “promptly.” If you feel that the claim was not addressed promptly, talk to a Boston property damage attorney about filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit.

A bad faith insurance lawsuit is a legal claim filed in civil court that seeks to prove that the dishonest business practices of the insurance company harmed you.

In addition to refusing to communicate with an insured regarding the claim, other examples of bad faith insurance practices include:

  • Failing to disclose policy limitations or exclusions
  • Misrepresenting the contract's language to the policyholder to avoid paying a claim
  • Making unreasonable demands of the policyholder to prove a loss

How long do I have to file a property damage lawsuit in Boston?

If an insurance company refuses to pay the value of the claim or make a reasonable settlement offer, property damage claimants can file a property damage lawsuit to prove that the property damage occurred, that it caused specific expenses that the applicable insurance policy covered, and that the claimant followed policy requirements, including the deadline for filing the insurance claim. To file a property damage lawsuit in Boston, you generally are required to do so within three years of the date when the property damage took place.

What is a supplemental claim in a Boston property damage case?

In some cases, a property owner will discover additional damage to the property that the initial insurance claim did not include. You may file a supplemental claim, which claims additional expenses to repair the newly discovered damage. If it has been less than three years since the damage occurred, you can file a supplemental claim. An experienced property damage attorney can assist you with making this additional claim and ensuring that the losses you are seeking compensation for are covered under your policy.

What is the best way to resolve a dispute over a Boston property damage claim?

The best way to resolve a dispute over a property damage claim is to avoid a dispute in the first place. With the legal knowledge of an experienced property damage attorney on your side, you can submit a solid claim with the documentation necessary to prove the expenses you have incurred.

Because your attorney understands the legal writing of your policy, they can determine whether the damages you're seeking are covered under your policy before you submit your claim. Finally, because the insurance company knows that you have the benefit of legal counsel, it will be less likely to engage in bad faith practices, such as misrepresenting the language of your policy, to avoid paying your claim.

My insurance provider denied my Boston property damage claim, stating they don't cover wear and tear. What should I do?

Matthew A Dolman Esq
Property Damage Attorney, Matt Dolman

If the insurance company denies your Boston property damage claim because it says the policy does not cover your losses, have an experienced attorney look at the policy and your decision letter to determine if there is any truth to what they said. If they refuse to believe that the damage occurred how you said it did, you may need to bring in an expert in a particular field who can survey the damage and write an opinion or testify in court about their findings.

Get in Touch With a Boston Property Damage Attorney Today

If you suffered serious damage to your property, a Boston property damage attorney can help you determine what to do next and how to seek the compensation you deserve. Contact Dolman Law Group today at (857) 407-4182 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
76 Canal Street, Suite 302
Boston, MA 02114
(857) 407-4182


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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