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San Diego Smoke Damage Claim Lawyer

Fires can cause devastating damage to homes and businesses in the San Diego area. Dealing with insurance claims and recovering costs from fire or smoke damage can be extremely difficult without proper legal guidance.

The Hamparyan Law Firm has extensive experience helping clients obtain fair compensation for property damage, loss of income, and other costs. Here’s what Hamparyan does for California fire claimants:

  • Investigating and compiling evidence
  • Negotiating for the maximum insurance payout
  • Appealing denied claims
  • Filing a strategic lawsuit if necessary
  • Getting our clients the best possible financial recovery.

If you suffered property damage or other losses in a San Diego area fire, call the Hamparyan Law Firm at (619) 550-1355. We’ll provide a free consultation with our fire damage attorneys.

Types of Losses from Fire & Smoke

Fires can cause damage far beyond just burning down structures. The costs from smoke, water, cleanup, loss of business, and health issues can also be substantial.

Property Damage

  • Burned or partially burned structures
  • Damage to home contents and personal belongings
  • Vehicles, equipment, or machinery damage
  • Landscaping, fencing, or outdoor structure damage

Business Interruptions

  • Income loss while closed for repairs
  • Extra expenses to keep business operating

Health Problems

  • Smoke inhalation injuries
  • Emotional distress
  • Exacerbation of pre-existing conditions

Other Fire-Related Damage

  • Water damage from extinguishing blaze
  • Corrosion damage from smoke, soot, and chemicals
  • Tree or vegetation damage on property.

Recovering all these costs from insurance companies can be extremely difficult without an attorney on your side. It’s common for insurers to dispute fire damage claims, leaving homeowners or business owners with little to no compensation. Protect your rights by enlisting a lawyer who’s experienced in dealing with insurance companies.

Smoke Damage Claim

In a fire insurance claim, most policyholders focus first on the structural repairs, rebuilding costs, and replacement of destroyed personal belongings. But smoke damage is equally devastating and expensive to fix. Smoke permeates deeply into walls, fabrics, metals, and many other materials. The sticky black residue clings everywhere and the smell stubbornly lingers even after extensive cleaning efforts.

Recovering the costs to remediate smoke damage can be challenging without proper legal support. The insurance company may try to deny or limit payouts for critical smoke remediation. Insurers will typically pay common costs for smoke removal and associated repairs, but claims adjusters often push back on the extent of contamination and necessary remediation.

An attorney can help prove the true extent of your smoke elimination needs. We at the Hamparyan firm document visible smoke damage and use science-based testing to prove contamination even where it’s not visible. Our office can also obtain contractor estimates for:

  • Surface cleaning of smoke film and soot throughout the property
  • Sealing exposed surfaces with smoke encapsulation paint
  • Applying odor-blocking primers to walls and ceilings
  • Potentially replacing severely affected drywall or paneling
  • Replacing contaminated insulation within walls
  • Cleaning residue inside air ducts and HVAC systems
  • Deep-cleaning carpets and drapes, or fully replacing if unsalvageable.

Contractor estimates can substantiate the claim for smoke remediation costs. Our team at the Hamparyan Law Firm can also negotiate for your additional hotel stays while the home undergoes cleaning. Through strong evidence and solid case-building, we can put pressure on the insurance company to provide the full repayment you need and deserve.

San Diego Wildfire Property Damage Claim

You can obtain the appropriate compensation from your insurance provider if a wildfire damages your home. Even though a wildfire may be considered an “act of God,” damage brought on by a natural disaster is often covered by insurance. This varies, however, depending on your policy.

It’s crucial to select insurance that includes natural disasters like wildfires. Fortunately, wildfire damage is covered by typical homeowner’s insurance policies in California. The challenge is convincing the insurance carrier to provide a fair payout when your home or business is ravaged by wildfire. Policyholders often encounter the following hurdles when making a wildfire insurance claim:

  • Disputes over causation – Insurers often allege damage was not directly caused by the wildfire. A lawyer can help you prove your losses were from the blaze.
  • Lowball settlement offers – A common insurer tactic is to offer a small amount, knowing that wildfire claimants are in dire need of funds right away. Before accepting a low settlement, consult with us at Hamparyan first. We can negotiate with insurers to demand full compensation owed under your policy.
  • Underinsurance problems – Many homeowners are underinsured. We help claim additional payments if rebuilding costs exceed coverage limits.
  • Denied claims – Never accept an outright claim denial after a wildfire. Retain counsel to dispute wrongful denials.

To strengthen your wildfire claim, start documenting your losses early on. Take extensive photos and videos before cleanup. Get itemized contractor estimates for home repairs. Keep all receipts for lodging, food, and clothing. You’ll also want to consult an attorney as soon as you can to ensure your rights are protected from the get-go.

How to Make a San Diego Fire Damage Claim

Making an insurance claim after a damaging fire in California involves several important steps:

1. Report the Fire Damage Immediately.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the fire. Provide details about the fire, your property damage, and any additional living expenses you may incur. Ask what documents they require for your claim.

However, be careful when discussing details like fire causes, hazards in your home, or activities prior to the blaze. Such information could be used against your claim. Get a lawyer’s guidance before going into detail with an insurance adjuster.

2. Document the Damage Extensively.

Take photos and video showing all damage before cleanup or repairs. Get written estimates from contractors for home repairs, debris removal, and the like. Keep all receipts for temporary housing, food, clothing, and other fire-related costs.

3. Complete Claim Paperwork Thoroughly.

Provide your insurer copies of fire department or police reports documenting the fire. Carefully fill out any claim forms from your insurance company. Include an extensive home inventory with photos proving what was damaged or destroyed.

4. Work With Contractors and Inventory Specialists.

Have contractors evaluate structural damage and test for smoke residue. Inventory specialists can assess destroyed home contents and possessions to substantiate your claimed losses.

5. Call a Fire Damage Lawyer.

Even if you don’t believe you need legal representation, an attorney’s legal guidance can be indispensable in maximizing your claim. This is especially true in California, where fires are a known risk and insurers are reluctant to pay fully. You’ll want strong legal skills on your side to assert what you’re entitled to.

Why Hire a Fire Damage Lawyer from the Hamparyan Law Firm

For over 20 years, the Hamparyan Law Firm has helped California victims recover over $100 million in compensation. Our fire damage attorneys offer in-depth experience with property claims. We know property policies inside and out, where insurance companies will look to deny or limit claims, and how to effectively negotiate and appeal.

When you work with us, you can focus on recovery rather than fighting with insurers. We handle the claims process while seeking maximum compensation for all types of fire related property damage and economic loss.

No Fees Unless We Win Your Claim

We take fire cases on a contingency fee basis – we only get paid if we obtain a settlement for you. You pay no upfront costs or fees for our legal services.

Personalized Service For Every Client

At the Hamparyan Law Firm, every client gets personal attention from our staff and case oversight from lead attorney Robert Hamparyan. We seek to build strong relationships with clients as we work to maximize their financial recovery.

Common Questions About Fire & Smoke Damage Claims

Call (619) 550-1355 to speak with a Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers attorney if you have additional questions about the fire insurance claims process.

What types of damage does home insurance cover from fires?

Most home insurance policies cover damage from fires, including structural damage to the home, destruction of personal belongings, smoke damage, water damage from extinguishing the fire, damage during debris removal, and living expenses while the home is repaired or rebuilt. Damage to vehicles, landscaping, fences, or sheds may be covered under optional policy endorsements. It depends on your specific insurance policy.

Does condo insurance cover wildfire damage?

California condo insurance typically covers fire damage to a condo’s internal walls. The master policy of the homeowner association covers exterior areas like the roof and outside walls. The type of master policy that the homeowners’ organization owns determines your coverage. 

Should I make repairs before settling my insurance claim?

Do not begin repairs or rebuild until your claim is settled. If you fix issues right away, the insurance company could argue that the damage was less extensive than you claimed. Thoroughly document conditions but wait for claim resolution before repairing.

What can I claim for smoke damage?

You can claim losses for smoke damage to the structure, cleaning smoke residue, and replacement of unsalvageable personal property.

Does insurance pay market value or replacement cost?

For the dwelling itself, insurance will typically pay the cost to rebuild at today’s construction prices. For personal belongings, you will usually receive the depreciated market value at time of loss.

How much is a fire damage claim lawyer?

At the Hamparyan Law Firm, we take fire cases on a contingency fee basis. This means we only collect legal fees if we successfully recover compensation for you. There are no upfront costs or retainers required for our services. Our fee is a percentage of the settlement obtained.

How long does it take to settle a fire insurance claim?

Most straightforward fire claims settle within one to two months, but large complex claims can take six months to a year. An experienced attorney can often accelerate the process through effective documentation and negotiations.

What if the insurance company denies my claim?

Do NOT accept a denial without consulting a lawyer. Coverage denials are common after fires. An attorney can review the policy terms and argue for your legal rights to coverage for fire-related damage.

Who determines if a house is a total loss after a fire?

The insurance adjuster makes the initial total loss determination based on repair estimates versus dwelling coverage limits. But policyholders can dispute it if they disagree through a detailed contractor estimate.

Should I hire a public adjuster?

Public adjusters take a significant fee from any insurance settlement but they handle documenting claims. An attorney offers legal advocacy without the high fee. Many fire victims are best off hiring an attorney rather than a public adjuster.

How much proof do I need to provide for smoke damage?

Take extensive photographic evidence showing smoke residue and soot throughout the property before cleaning. You need to prove smoke permeation that requires cleaning, priming, and paint to remove smoke smell and stains.

Need a California Fire and Smoke Attorney?

For professional legal help with your San Diego area property damage claim, call Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at (619) 550-1355 to set up your free consultation. Our fire damage lawyers can fully advise you on maximizing insurance compensation and recovering what you rightfully deserve.


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