Rooftop Lawyering

While we spend plenty of time in courtrooms, we also make house calls.  Yesterday I was up on a client’s roof to see for myself how the roof was damaged, and why it was allowing water to enter the house.  On many cases, we work with engineers and other experts.  But sometimes I need to climb up a ladder and put my own eyes on a building to understand the full situation.

Walking a property helps me ask the right questions during depositions and trials.  And it helps me answer the central question in every insurance case: did the insurance company get it right?

When it comes to insurance claims for roof damage, denial letters almost all read the same.  Insurance companies rely on exclusions for wear and tear, deterioration, latent defect, decay, and wet or dry rot.  Even older roofs can be damaged by wind or hail, and are sometimes even more easily damaged than a new roof.  Some policies also provide insurance coverage for roofs that collapse, even if that collapse is caused by hidden decay. 

We see insurance companies deny hail claims in neighborhoods where every house is damaged, and next door neighbors on both sides have had their roofs replaced by other insurers.  Multiple roofers will identify wind damage, and then insurance companies deny that any wind damage occurred.  We see claims denied without the adjuster even considering whether a covered collapse occurred.

Some of the denials are obviously wrong.  Other claim decisions have to be examined closely to see if they were right or wrong.  Either way, we’ve seen enough bad denials that a second opinion is always a good move.

             - Jason