If you have ever wondered how someone gets caught in the middle of a hurricane, it might well be worth your time to read the blog entry from a Cedar Key resident who did just that with Hurricane Hermine.
Pat Bonish relates the story of how he and his wife Cindy became those “couple of idiots” you read about in the newspaper, and it is easy to relate to him. Don’t forget that not every hurricane comes aimed straight at your town in full, destructive force. Hurricane Hermine started out as a Tropical Depression, gained strength before turning into a Tropical Storm and finally made its way to land in Florida as a Category 1 Hurricane. Not to mention the boomerang path in which the storm turned from heading west-northwest to east north-east.
Bonish tells of the storms and squalls that are a fact of coastal life over his previous 15 years living in Florida. So when Hermine was categorized as a tropical storm that could bring some high tides, he and his family simply stocked up on supplies, moved valuables to higher ground and got ready to ride things out. Needless to say, in hindsight that was not a decision he would have made again. The flooding and wind were much worse than he anticipated—not to mention the sewers backing into his home as the water pressure from the flood and the sewage system hit equilibrium.
Imagine a storm like Hermine was headed your way. Don’t make the mistake of thinking, “It’s ‘only’ a Category 1 hurricane,” as did Pat Bonish. And your property doesn’t even need to be near the center of the storm to sustain extensive damage—Hermine made landfall near St. Marks, Florida—some 140 miles away.
Here are some important steps you can and should take in anticipation of a storm:
Before the Storm
Make a Photographic Record
Photo records are an irreplaceable way to document your possessions. Shoot extensively, both inside your home and out—and don’t forget your roof! Landscaping, too!
Work wide to document everything, then each item you want to document.
Protect Yourself First—Then Your Property
If you need to leave to escape a storm, do so and don’t hesitate. Material possessions can be replaced, but you and your family cannot. If you have time, however, there are some great steps that can help minimize damage in a windstorm or flood:
- Put down hurricane shutters if you have them. If not, board up windows.
- Make sure to protect any glass in your garage door. You may also find that bracing garage doors with brackets can help them stand up to hurricane force winds.
- Document with pictures your efforts to protect your home—this can help document your claim, indicating that you took care to protect your home.
- Patio Furniture—remove it from the outside. In gale force winds, it can become a missile.
If You Do Sustain Damage
If your home is damaged, you’ll need to document everything again. There’s nothing like ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to detail actual damages incurred
Prepare Carefully, Then Submit Insurance Claims Promptly
Read your policy to ensure you obey any provisions about timeliness of submitted claims. Then be prepared—remember, the insurance company operates in their own best interest—not always your best interest. You may find your insurance company undertaking actions to delay or limit your claim such as:
- Denying that coverage for the event suffered was held
- Denying part of your claim
- Unreasonably delaying your claim processing
- Lowball estimates
- Asks you to sign written agreement that limits damages
- Provides partial payments marked ‘paid in full.’
All of the above can be done by insurance companies—now imagine an injury or death at a home or business after hurricane damage. As said before, materials possessions can be replaced—but a life or good health is truly precious.
If you or a loved one was injured at a home or business after hurricane damage, the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you. Thomas and Pearl have the staff to investigate the damage, the actions of the insurance company, and help determine the cause of the accident. Expert medical opinions regarding the extent of injuries and treatment necessary can help justify proper compensation.
After a hurricane, there will be a lot on your mind—even more so if an injury has occurred due to the storm. But before speaking with an insurance company, realize that they will attempt to settle your case in their best interest. Instead, call Thomas and Pearl. Your Thomas and Pearl attorney will be there to help you represent your best interests.
$150 MILLION in verdicts and settlements
Thomas & Pearl attorneys have the skills and training, plus the financial resources necessary to conduct a thorough accident and injury investigation. Ask about our experience as attorneys helping victims of home or workplace accidents in Florida.
Ask about the more than $150M (MILLION) dollars in recent and past jury verdicts and settlements we have gained for our clients.
We’ll evaluate your case situation with you, develop a strategy to win or successfully negotiate the highest amount of compensation for you.
Experienced legal help can make the difference between a successful resolution and losing. And you pay nothing unless we get that successful resolution for you.
Contact Thomas & Pearl at any time.