If someone intentionally or negligently set a fire that damaged your property or caused injuries to you or a loved one, you can hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Billings fire damage attorneys James M. Ragain and Joseph P. Cook can help you understand the law in Montana and explain what you are entitled to.
Insurance for Fire Damage in Billings, Montana
Most home insurance policies cover fire damage, but policyholders should know exactly what kind of fire damage the policy covers. For example, the language of an insurance policy may state they only cover fire damage if caused by specific sources. If an insurance claim adjuster investigates your fire damage claim and believes the policy doesn’t cover the cause, they may deny or reduce your claim.
Insurance companies need to only pay what they rightfully owe, but they have a legal obligation to handle policyholders’ claims in good faith. This means they must act honestly and provide sufficient evidence for reducing a claim amount or denying a claim. When adjusters lie, hide evidence, or otherwise tamper with the claims process, they are acting in bad faith. Bad faith insurance is a serious issue, so if you believe an insurer acted in bad faith, connect with a reputable bad faith insurance attorney right away.
Keep records of all your expenses related to the fire damage. For example, if you are forced to vacate your home due to the damage, keep records of your hotel receipts, storage unit costs, and any other expenses you incur. In most cases, your insurance policy covers these expenses. Should an insurer attempt to low-ball your claim, records of all your correspondence will be vital to a subsequent lawsuit’s success.
Proving Negligence | Fire Damage Lawyer
It is estimated that $7.3 Billion worth of property loss is due to home fires annually. In the majority of cases involving fire damage, someone is responsible for the damage. If someone caused fire damage to your home through negligence, it’s important to hold them accountable for the resulting injuries and damages. For example, if you hire an electrician to perform utility work on your home and he or she uses unsafe methods, the work can lead to a fire and serious damage. You would then be able to file a lawsuit against the electrician due to his or her negligence. Proving negligence in a lawsuit hinges on three factors:
- The plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) must prove the defendant (the party being sued) had a duty to act with reasonable care, meaning they had a duty to act reasonably and safely for the situation. Following the previous example, this would mean establishing the electrician had a duty to perform his or her work safely and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
- The defendant breached or violated this duty of care in some way. If an electrician used substandard materials or tools during his or her work or did not take appropriate safety precautions and caused a fire, the electrician has violated the duty of care.
- The defendant’s breach resulted in injury or damage to the plaintiff. You do not have a claim if you suffered no losses. Typically, the damage from fire is obvious.
Depending on the details of your fire damage case, you could receive compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income from time spent out of work, and the costs of repairing or replacing your damaged property. If you need to file an insurance bad faith claim, your attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement. At Ragain & Cook, P.C. we want to help our Billings clients handle their fire damage legal issues.
Reach out to us to schedule a consultation about your case, and we’ll let you know exactly how we can help.