Buildings in Fort Lauderdale can develop water intrusion damage, in part due to our wet, humid climate and tropical weather, including storms. Water leaks can damage residential and commercial buildings, causing rot, mold, structural problems, and severe health issues for people who live or work in “sick” buildings.
Finding and correcting the source of the water intrusion, then restoring the building to a stable and healthy status, can be costly. Insurance companies often deny claims for water intrusion and blame the property owner for the problem. You might need to work with a water intrusion damage property claim lawyer in Fort Lauderdale to get the compensation that you deserve.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 for a free consultation.
An Overview of Water Intrusion
Water intrusion refers to a situation in which water is where it should not be in a building. Water frequently hits the exterior of buildings when it rains or storms, but the water is supposed to stay outside of the building. Also, pipes carry water throughout buildings for use in bathrooms, kitchens, water heaters, and other purposes. The building components on the outside of the water pipes are not supposed to absorb moisture.
When there are interior or exterior leaks, a building can develop structural damage. Construction materials can rot and decay. The building can grow dangerous mold that can lead to disease and death of the occupants. In our climate, a structure with water intrusion problems can rapidly deteriorate in the event of a major storm like a hurricane.
Reasons Insurance Companies Give for Denial of Water Intrusion Property Damage Claims
Homeowner and commercial building insurance carriers often deny claims for expensive water mitigation and structural repair. The insurers blame the property owner for the problem and accuse them of poor building maintenance.
Another excuse that insurance companies give for refusing to pay water intrusion losses is that the policy excludes coverage for this type of damage. All insurance policies contain exclusions, which are things that the insurer does not cover. However, a skilled property damage claim adjuster can trick the policyholder into thinking that the policy excludes a covered repair. A water intrusion damage property claim lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can interpret the policy and advocate for you with the insurer.
What Can Cause Water Intrusion Damage
Many “sick” buildings have more than one source or location of water intrusion. Think of the outer layer of a building as the structure’s “envelope.” The envelope includes things like the roof, doors, windows, exterior walls, sealants, decks, waterproofing, and conditions at grade or below-grade.
Thousands of components go into the construction of a building. These parts all have to connect with each other. The points at which the pieces come together have the greatest likelihood of developing leaks. Most leaks happen in the building envelope. Any place where the envelope does not combine seamlessly into one cohesive, watertight unit can be a source of water intrusion.
Common causes of water intrusion damage include:
- Building design
- Mistakes made during construction, like not installing windows correctly
- Use of wet construction materials
- Grading of the property that slopes toward the building rather than away from it.
- Failure to replace building components that wore out over time, like rotted windows or door framing
- Leaking plumbing
- Roof leaks
- Groundwater that seeps into the structure
Avoid These Traps When Working with Your Insurance Company on Water Intrusion Damage
Be aware of these situations that could harm the resolution of your damage claim:
- If your insurer sends a company to your building to locate the source of the leak, do not let them stop their work when they find the first leak. Often, water intrusion damage develops from multiple locations. Make sure that the professional knows all of the details about when the water appears, where, and under what conditions. It can take years to find all the sources of water intrusion if the inspector only addresses one problem location at a time.
- If your insurer asks you to give a recorded statement, you should get a lawyer. A recorded statement allows the insurance company to take your words out of context and twist them into something you did not intend. These statements only benefit the insurer, so do not provide one. Tell the insurer to talk to your lawyer.
- Make sure that the company the insurance carrier sends to find the source of the problem and extent of the damage has the appropriate training and certifications and specializes in this field. Merely sending a building contractor is not sufficient.
- If the worker does not find and correct all of the water intrusion sources, the problems will continue, creating additional damage to the building and toxic mold. The insurer might refuse to pay for future damages on the grounds that they already covered the problem one time.
As with many things, it is easier to avoid these problems than to deal with the fall-out afterward.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Claim
It can be frustrating to work with an insurance company that only seems to know how to say “no.” A water intrusion property claim lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can cut through the red tape and advocate on your behalf with the insurer. The adjuster is less likely to play games with a lawyer than with a policyholder who is trying to handle the dispute without legal representation. If the insurance company refuses to pay a valid claim or violates your rights under the Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, an attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Getting Legal Help for Your Fort Lauderdale Water Intrusion Property Damage Claim
Getting an insurance company to pay a fair amount for a water intrusion damage claim can be a challenge. Many insurers want to pass the buck to others or merely “put a Band-Aid” on the problem.
A water intrusion damage property claim lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today at 1 (800) 747-3733 to get started.