California Mudslide Attorneys
If you have lost your home to a mudslide, or a mudslide has damaged your property, or worse yet, caused the death of someone you care about, it is vital that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. Even the best memories can fade, evidence can get lost, and witnesses can become unavailable.
Consultations with our attorneys are FREE, and you don’t pay anything unless we recover on your behalf. Our firm works closely with industry leading experts including (but not limited to), engineering, architectural and contractor experts all of whom are respected in their fields and have years of experience as testifying experts if necessary.
With over 35 years of experience, we understand the challenges you are likely currently facing, and will face in the near future. We can not only answer the questions you’ve thought of, but we can likely give you answers to those questions you haven’t thought of yet.
How to pay for a place to stay after you are forced out of your home.
If you were a home-owner with a homeowner’s insurance policy, your policy may have included an allowance for alternative living, usually referred to as an Alternative Living Expense Allowance. Although that allowance can be extremely helpful, it does not last forever and you may soon find out that that allowance will expire, if it hasn’t already.
Additionally, here are just a few issues you may have to deal with, if you haven’t already:
- If you did not consistently increase the coverage of your homeowner’s insurance over the years, your policy likely will not cover the cost to replace your house, replace any ancillary structures, etc. at today’s prices which are likely drastically more than they were when you obtained your policy.
- Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy likely does not cover your cherished possessions – such as family photos or things your children or grand-children may have given or made for you which are priceless.
- Your insurance policy may not reimburse you for the wages you (and/or your significant other) have lost as a result of the event.
- You may have had (either naturally or by you planting them) valuable foliage near or around your house which you should be reimbursed for losing. You may find it difficult to prove the existence of these to the insurance company.
Your insurance company may try to short-change you and pay you less than you deserve, or worse yet, deny your claim all together.
If your insurance policy does not fully cover the replacement value of your home, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Gregory Montegna can help you. As an example, you may have had valuable foliage near or around your house that the insurance company may fight reimbursing you for, unless you can show proof. You may have made improvements to your home or have lost personal property or priceless family heirlooms, and the insurance company may claim that they cannot reimburse you for those without a detailed report and proof.
As an example, when it comes to valuable foliage or home additions, such proof may be accounted for by using an overhead image taken from Google Maps to identify and help give value to the trees and foliage around your house which existed at the time of the mudslide. Because of our experience, there are other approaches our firm knows how to use to help negotiate your case and get you what you deserve.
What To Do After a Wildfire
- Take notes and document everything - Save all the communication with the insurance company, all receipts for expenses you incur such as hotels and alternate transportation, make copies of all medical records and medical bills if applicable.
- Create a record of your losses – all the items destroyed by the fire should be covered by your insurance policy and should be replaced with their actual cash value. Account for and keep an inventory of all your possessions and damaged items. Next to each item you purchased, make a note (as best you can remember) of when and from where, you purchased each item.
- Get a copy of the fire report – In the event of a wildfire, if possible, get a copy of the report if it is available. It can be helpful when dealing with the insurance company regarding your claim.
- Do not make any determinative statements to any insurance representative (including your own) – Likely when you are on the phone with an insurance representative the call is being recorded and what you say can be used against you/your claim.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Our California courts have determined that there is a big difference between good-faith negotiating, and an insurance company (a more informed entity likely in a more powerful position) taking undue advantage of someone in a less informed, materially less powerful position, that has no other option than to take the insurance company’s offer. An insurance company’s failure to pay out a claim in good-faith, or pay within a designated time frame may constitute insurance bad-faith. A few examples of bad-faith actions can include:
- Unreasonably low-balling a submitted claim
- Manipulating the findings or evidence of an event’s investigation
- Unreasonably denying a claim
- Misrepresenting the language in a policy
- Unreasonably delaying a claim payout without a reasonable explanation
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Greg Montegna have the knowledge and experience to identify insurance bad-faith conduct and know how to handle it.
The Right Experts If / When Necessary
When necessary we engage experts to re-engineer the incident and pinpoint the ‘source’ of the mudslide that took your home, and work to identify the entity or party that ‘caused’ the mudslide, or, within the real of foreseeability, caused a condition(s) that allowed it to occur and caused the damage to your house and property.
At the Law Offices of Gregory Montegna we have the knowledge, access to experts, and are experienced in constructing cases to prove the liability of the party that caused the mudslide, and we can file the claim(s) for the damages you (and your family) have suffered. To go up against the well-funded insurance companies takes knowledge, experience and the willingness to take the case(s) to trial if need be.
Call the Law Offices of Gregory A. Montegna at your earliest convenience. We can answer your questions and give you an idea of the value of your case. We can talk with you over the phone, you are welcome to come into our offices, or we can meet you and your family at a location convenient to you.