Here on the Gulf Coast, Lehigh Acres properties frequently have problems with water that gets into undesired locations within buildings. Our groundwater level is high, just like our humidity. We get plenty of rain, sometimes from tropical storms and hurricanes. Homes and commercial structures can develop significant damage from water intrusion.
Water intrusion is a unique type of property damage in that it can be difficult to find the source of the problem. You might have to pay experts thousands of dollars to locate where the water is coming into your structure. Once you find what caused the intrusion, you have to pay to correct that problem before repairing the damage and taking steps to prevent future water intrusion.
These property damage claims can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. You might need to work with an attorney to get a fair settlement of your claim. Call a water intrusion damage property claim lawyer in Lehigh Acres from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 to get started.
An Overview of Water Intrusion
Whenever water enters the building envelope—a building in a place where you do not want the water, you have water intrusion. Here are some examples of water intrusion:
- Leaking roof
- Broken seal on windows
- Busted plumbing pipes inside the building
- Groundwater seeping into the structure through cracks or lack of a water barrier in the foundation of the structure
These are but a few examples of water intrusion.
What Causes Water Intrusion in Older Buildings
Everything deteriorates and wears out over time. You do not expect a roof to last forever. The caulk around windows will eventually dry and shrink. A house can shift because of nearby sinkholes or other environmental factors, causing windows and doors to no longer line up correctly to keep out water in the event of a storm.
Depending on your circumstances, you might have additional types of intrusion. If a previous owner had substandard repair work or renovations done to the building, you might suffer the consequences of those decisions.
Insurance companies often try to get out of paying for water intrusion damage by alleging that the damage happened before you owned the property and bought your current property insurance policy. There might have been hidden leaks for years that you could not notice with a reasonable inspection. By the time the problem became visible, there was extensive structural damage to your walls and attic.
Newer Construction and Water Intrusion
You might think that only older structures experience water intrusion, but new construction and buildings less than five years old can experience this costly problem. You can buy building plans online. Let’s say that you selected plans that the architect designed for a dry climate like the desert. There might be less focus on waterproofing the structure in these drawings. If your local builder follows the architect’s rendering, you might have water problems right away in our climate.
- Low-quality materials can cause water intrusion. Even with building plans designed for our climate, you could have leakage problems if your builder used substandard materials to construct the building.
- Contractors should not use damp or wet materials. In Florida, we can have daily rain for months in a row. It is challenging to keep things dry during these times. If the lumber at the building site got wet and did not have the opportunity to dry properly, you might end up with mold or other moisture problems in a new structure.
- If the builder or subcontractors did not apply sealants correctly or were careless when they installed doors, windows, or other exterior components, the building might develop water intrusion problems soon after construction.
If the careless actions of a third party caused the water issue, your insurance company might deny your property damage claim and tell you to sue the guilty party. We can evaluate your property insurance policy to determine what coverage you have in this situation. Sometimes claims adjusters mislead policyholders about their coverage.
Avoid These Pitfalls After Water Intrusion Damage
Many things can hurt the value of your claim. The items you need to avoid will depend on the circumstances of your case. Here are some of the common mistakes that can decrease the amount of compensation that the insurance company will be willing to pay on your claim:
- Do not agree to a lowball offer to resolve your claim, thinking that you can go back for more money from the insurer later. Once you accept the money and sign the settlement papers, you waive your right to get any more money for your claim. Make sure that you have a professional investigate all possible damage to your structure before settling your case.
- Posting aspects of everyday life on social media has become second nature for many people, but you should not post any photographs or comments about the water intrusion problem. The insurer can take your words and pictures out of context to devalue your claim.
- Recorded statements do not help your case, and often, these things can cost you money. You should not give a recorded statement without a water intrusion damage property claim lawyer in Lehigh Acres advising you. Better yet, decline the recorded statement and tell the adjuster to talk to your lawyer.
Your attorney can counsel you about other metaphorical landmines to avoid in the process of your water intrusion claim.
How a Water Intrusion Property Damage Attorney Can Help
If you do not reach an amicable resolution of your property damage claim, you can usually file a lawsuit to go after compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, people who try to handle their insurance matters without the guidance of a water intrusion damage property claim lawyer in Lehigh Acres can fall into the trap of missing the deadline for filing the lawsuit. You might have thought that the claims adjuster was trying to work with you to settle the claim, when, in reality, he was stringing you along until after the time limit for filing a lawsuit. Once the deadline passes, Florida law will bar you from ever pursuing compensation, even for massive losses.
If you work with us, we will fight to protect your rights under the Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights and help you navigate through the tricky process of property damage insurance claims. When the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine takes care of your legal matters, you can focus on rebuilding your life. Call us today at 1-800-747-3733.
We Can Help.