Building Collapse: What Evidence Is Necessary to Facilitate a Successful Claim

Most homeowners presume that if they suffer a significant impairment to the structural integrity of their home or business, their claim will be covered as property damage under their insurance policy.  However, collapse claims can be extremely complicated because of the divergent views on what damage must occur to successfully bring a collapse claim.  Depending on the law of your state, you may need to show that the structure actually caved in so that the current state of the structure has become rubble laying on the ground.  A more liberal view taken by other jurisdictions is that any significant compromise to the structural integrity of the building is sufficient to successfully pursue a collapse coverage claim.

This distinction can be very important because many insurance company policies exclude soil movement or settlement as a covered hazard when making a collapse claim.  An insurance carrier might contend that a collapse claim is excluded because it is the product of a settling foundation rather than a sudden collapse.  Insurance companies employing this defense often use experts in soil mechanics who will use evidence obtained through soil borings and other forms of investigation to justify exclusion of the damage as the product of soil mechanics and settling issues.

If you have a collapse claim, there are a number of forms of evidence that can be critical in pursuing your claim.  Florida property damage claim attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo routinely utilizes his own experts, such as structural engineers often with a background in soil mechanics and engineering.  An expert with this background can provide assistance in communicating how the collapse occurred and furnish expert testimony on causation.  Because insurance companies attempting to deny such claims routinely use engineering experts, policyholders need an experienced Florida claims attorney to fight attempts by insurance companies to deny this type of property damage claim.  Mr. Gonzalez-Sirgo is uniquely qualified to deal with the insurance carrier tactic of denying a collapse claim as falling within the exclusion for foundation settlement because he is a former claims adjuster.

Before and after photos can constitute another important type of evidence in a collapse case.  While it may seem like the insurance adjuster is taking lots of photos, this can be misleading if a small area of the structure becomes the focus of the claim.  A policyholder should take lots of pictures to supplement those taken by the insurance adjuster.  Policyholders also can make the going easier by taking plenty of pictures prior to any damage.  The contrast shown by pictures taken prior to and after a collapse occurs can prove fundamental in proving the mechanics of a collapse as well as the cause.

Whether part of your property is actually in rubble on the ground or structurally compromised, our Florida property damage claim law firm may be able to help.  Because J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo is both a Florida property damage claims attorney and a former insurance adjuster, he is uniquely qualified to protect your interests.  Florida insurance claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles property damage claims against insurance companies in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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