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Why Fire Claims are More Complicated than Most Insurance Claims

Hi, I’m Ted Corless. I’m a lawyer with the Corless Barfield Trial Group. We’ve prepared a series of online content in the form of podcasts, video casts, and blogs to assist individuals who are going through insurance claims. Today’s video is about an examination under oath in a fire claim. One of the things that makes fire claims a little more complicated than most insurance claims is that the claim is really about two separate things. One of them is the structure itself, the home or the business that caught fire. And the other one are the personal possessions that may have been within the building or business equipment that may have been damaged in the middle of a fire. Now, the thing you should know about insurance companies is that insurance adjusters somehow believe that anytime they’re involved with a fire that they are somehow provided open access to the background and information associated with the individual even more so than the claim itself. What I mean by that is that you can expect that in most fire claims, you’re going to be asked to perform what is called an examination under oath. Now what that is is it’s essentially a deposition where you come in and you sit down, you’re sworn, and then you’re asked a series of questions. Reasonable insurance companies get to the point. They focus on the cause and origin of the fire and anything the individual may have known about it if they were present when the fire occurred. Or if it’s about the contents, then they’re going to get specifically to getting a better understanding as to what was damaged and what the value of those individual items may have been. But see, not all insurance companies are reasonable. That may be a surprise to you, that some insurance companies want to go into the deep end of the pool on every individual who is unfortunate enough to have a fire at their home or business. What I’d like to express to you today is that there are limits on what they can ask for. For example, many times insurance companies will ask for copies of your tax returns. Well, there might be a case where a tax return would be relevant. But not all of them. They don’t automatically get a copy of your tax return. Additionally, they don’t automatically get to go out and interview your ex-girlfriends or your ex-husband or your boss. And additionally, they have to make the decision within a reasonable period of time. And they can’t ask for documents as a mechanism to delay the final resolution of the claim. It’s probably the reason why as many as ninety percent of all fire claims end up in litigation. If you’re involved in a fire claim and need a fire damage lawyer in Tampa FL, I’d invite you to come to our website to learn more about how we may be able to help you. I look forward to hearing from you.