Water Damage Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Water is one of the most destructive forces on earth and has the ability to decimate a property. Running water, in particular, can erode land, weaken foundations, and inundate roads, cars, and basements. When water enters a home, it can cause mold and mildew, destroy drywall, flooring, and require significant remediation.
When a home is damaged, seeking compensation through a homeowner’s insurance policy is often the best way to make repairs. Not surprisingly, insurance claims related to water damage are on the rise. With Florida’s large storms and hurricanes, insurance claims have cost the industry over $13 billion, with average claims costing more than $10,000.
If your home was harmed, a water damage lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help. With years of experience helping Floridians deal with the destruction left behind after serious storms, the lawyers at Schlacter Law can help negotiate with insurance companies and make sure that you get the best compensation available to you.
Causes of Water Damage in Fort Lauderdale
There are several ways a home can be destroyed by water. Some of these include:
- Storms and heavy rain
- Storm surges
- Leaking appliances
- Leaking pipes
- Sump pump failures
- Failing gutters
- Leaking roof
- Clogged sewer drains
- Damp conditions
Flooding is one of the leading causes of water damage in Florida. With numerous tropical storms and hurricanes, storms and storm surges can often overwhelm floodgates and protective barriers and destroy entire neighborhoods. And with rising sea levels, some of Florida’s lowest points are extremely prone to flooding. When seawater floods a property the high concentration of salt can destroy wood, drywall, and even metal pipes.
Additionally, swift-moving water caused by flooding can erode a property, including concrete slabs and walls, and destroy the integrity of the property’s foundation. Floods can also enter a property, damaging flooring, drywall, and insulation, requiring the removal of damaged material and necessitating costly repairs.
Heavy rains can cause extensive destruction as well. When gutters are unable to keep up with the amount of rain they can overflow, clog, and even separate. With Florida’s warm weather and southern sun, roofs can deteriorate quickly, allowing storms and heavy rain to overwhelm a roof and allow moisture to seep into a home, causing damage to attics, ceilings, and walls.
Appliances can cause serious harm as well. Washing machines that aren’t connected to water pipes correctly can cause slow leaks, and if left unattended, washing machines can overflow and empty its contents in a matter of minutes. Refrigerators with built-in ice makers can fail, causing damage to kitchens, walls, drywall, and even basements.
Hidden damage from leaking pipes are one of the hardest to detect, and one of the most destructive. Over time, a small leak can discharge gallons and gallons of liquid that has nowhere to go but into insulation, drywall, and basements. Because these types of leaks are hidden behind walls it could take years to uncover, leaving a trail of mold, mildew, and destruction.
Damp conditions can cause basements, attics and other areas in a home to collect moisture that can cause damage. Basements, in particular, are prone to damp conditions, making it easy for mold and mildew to develop. Failing to use dehumidifiers can allow moisture to condense on walls and ceilings, requiring expensive repairs and replacements.
Many homes are connected directly to sewer lines to ensure that waste materials leave the property. Oftentimes when a sewer pipe is clogged, raw sewage will back up in the pipe and overflow at the lowest point in the home, leaving sewage in bathrooms, floors, and basements. This sewage can be extremely toxic, requiring a professional cleaning crew to disinfect and remediate the mess. When flooding overwhelms a town’s sewer system, it is unable to handle additional sewage from a home, creating backflow issues and potentially destroying a home.
Sump pumps are an essential tool to help remove water from a home by pumping out any excess fluid that pools at the lowest point in the building. When storms wipe out a home’s electricity many sump pumps will no longer operate, causing basements to flood. Even when a storm doesn’t wipe out the power, flooding can put too much of a burden on a sump pump and it might not be able to remove the liquid faster than it comes in.
With so many causes of water damage, one can understand why water damage is a leading cause of property claims. When a home requires repairs, a Fort Lauderdale flood damage attorney can help. We understand how important your home is, and will work hard to make sure you get the compensation you need to remove any damage and make your house a home again.
Fort Lauderdale Insurance Claims
With repair costs on the rise, it’s no wonder homeowners are finding it harder and harder to make repairs. Lack of maintenance is a leading cause of harm to a home, and with rising costs, it’s become more difficult for homeowners to take precautionary measures before water does its damage.
Fortunately, most homeowner’s insurance policies cover some damage caused by water. Unfortunately, flooding is generally not covered under these policies, and require purchasing a separate flood insurance policy, typically through the government. This type of insurance would cover losses from flooding and erosion from waves that surpass normally anticipated levels. Generally, this insurance protects the property, and a separate policy would be required to cover the contents within the property.
For other types of water damage, a policy will typically define what types of damage are covered under the policy. In general, any destruction by water not caused by flooding would be covered unless specifically excluded under the policy. However, this might not include the underlying issue that caused the destruction in the first place. For example, if a backed-up pipe caused a toilet to overflow and damaged a bathroom floor, the floor may be covered, but the backed-up pipe might not.
After contacting the insurance company, an adjuster will come out to evaluate the harm and provide an estimate for the costs associated with a repair. These estimates are not always accurate and reflect the insurance company’s best interests. This is where a Fort Lauderdale water damage lawyer can help. It is always recommended to get a separate estimate from a local contractor to ensure that the insurance company estimate is accurate.
Additionally, a Fort Lauderdale water damage attorney has experience negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of homeowners. A water damage lawyer understands the hidden costs associated with the damage and will make sure that these issues are presented to the insurance company before they make a settlement. If your property was damaged by water, call a water damage lawyer today for a consultation.