Fire & Smoke Damage Claims

At Merlin Law Group, our claim lawyers understand the tumultuous aftershock that a fire can cause. Everything from clothing to appliances to irreplaceable memories all can be lost to fire damage. Having a valid insurance claim denied after the fact only deepens the wound left behind. We here at Merlin Law Group exclusively represent policyholders pursuing valid insurance claims, including claims for fire and smoke damage.

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Why Might
My Fire & Smoke Damage
Be Denied?

  • Allegation of arson
  • Valuation differences
  • A violation in terms of the insurance policy conditions
  • Fraudulent accusations/charges

Fire & Smoke Damage FAQs
Our Fire Damage Attorneys Here to Answer Your Questions

Smoke damage is a strong cause for concern for damage to both your property and personal health. The fine particles that make up smoke can lodge themselves into your skin, eyes, or respiratory system and create several health issues. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, particularly related to your heart or lungs, you may be more susceptible.

Most often, smoke damage is considered covered peril under a typical insurance policy. However, disputes may arise as to the severity and applicability of that smoke damage regarding your claim.

Smoke damage is particularly tricky because it can affect porous materials like fabrics, rugs, curtains, etc. It can also cause discoloration in marble, tile, and other foundational materials. Insurers will often pay for cleaning services, but there can be discrepancies over whether you your items need cleaning versus replacing.

A partial loss situation arises when the property is not completely destroyed. Partial loss situations tend to carry hidden damages, which can include a variety of things including any inadequate or improper repair or cleaning methods, smoke and/or ash remnants, diminished air quality, or air duct destruction. Another issue with partial loss claims is insurer delay, as most insurers consider these low priority cases.

A total loss is when the property is destroyed. The insurer deems the case a total loss, not the insured. Bear in mind you have the right to hire a public adjuster to assess the damage and determine whether it meets the criteria for a total loss prior to submitting your fire and smoke damage claim. A strong sign of a total loss is considerable structural damage. If any core components of the property are damaged, thus rendering the foundation as hazardous or otherwise, the property may be considered a total loss.

It is important to perform a thorough inspection of your property after sustaining fire and smoke damage. You do not want to leave any stone unturned regarding identifying damaged areas. Therefore, it is important to have an independent damage assessment in addition to your insurer’s inspection. Some areas to specifically look out for are your roof, any structural steel or iron, stucco, siding or concrete, windows, plumbing and heating systems, and any interior walls/framing.

Our experienced team of attorneys practice insurance claim law nationwide. Submit your case review and view our many office locations here. 

What to do
if your
Fire damage:

  • Document any damages to your property by taking clear photographs. Be sure to document any smoke damage, as this type can often be overlooked.
  • Consult with an independent adjuster or damage assessment expert to get a second opinion regarding whether you are dealing with a partial or total loss. Partial losses are often delayed, so it is important to determine what your case is in order to properly measure expectations.
  • Keep track of any receipts or expenses regarding home repairs.

Where There is Smoke, There Is... A Denial​

Many claim representatives have never heard of the Standard Fire Policy, though it has been in existence in the majority of states since 1943. Read our blog for more details on smoke claim denials.

Fire Damaged Home or Business? Proceed with Caution!​

When a home or a business is damaged by fire, the devastation that remains after the blaze and water suppression efforts is sometimes only ash. Policyholders around the country who have experienced a fire loss know this is a devastating experience that can change your life in a just a few short minutes.

The Danger of Soot and Debris in Fire Damaged Buildings​

Most people do not understand the danger of soot and smoke. They also do not understand how particulates can spread from one area of a building to areas far removed from the original area of fire.
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Chip Merlin, Merlin Law Group
Chip Merlin
Founder & President

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