CATASTROPHIC CONSTRUCTION FAILURE CONSEQUENCES
When construction projects are in progress, everyone expects proper safety standards to be upheld. However, construction accidents can and do happen, despite the best efforts. While minor work-related accidents are common across various industries, catastrophic construction failures can have far-reaching consequences, including defects in design and poor craftsmanship. If you or your business find yourselves involved in a personal injury or property damage claim related to construction defects, it's crucial to hire an experienced accident attorney immediately.
WHAT ARE CATASTROPHIC CONSTRUCTION FAILURES?
While most construction defects cause moderate damages or cosmetic issues, catastrophic construction failures can lead to severe ramifications. These consequences can range from foundational and structural damages that cause the entire building to collapse, to risks involving nearby structures, drainage vault systems, and community developments. When such events take place, there's a heightened risk of injury, illness, long-lasting mental health issues, and even death for on-site workers and nearby pedestrians.
CAUSES OF CONSTRUCTION FAILURES
Construction failures often result from negligence by one or more parties involved in a project, including architects, plumbers, electricians, and general contractors. Some common causes of catastrophic construction failures include:
Contractors may use cheap, damaged, or defective building materials to save time and money during construction. If these materials don't meet code requirements, they can cause structural weaknesses that eventually lead to catastrophic failure.
Lack of Planning
For new construction projects, contractors and site managers must plan for potential risks and contingencies during the building process. This includes considering natural disasters, common weather patterns, and other damaging events that could occur throughout the building's lifespan.
Before beginning construction, proper research should be conducted to determine if the chosen site is suitable for the planned structure. Unstable ground or loose soil may not adequately support the building, leading to land shifts or collapses that endanger both the structure and nearby properties.
Poor or Incomplete Design
During the design process, it is essential to ensure that all components work together and are structurally sound. If shortcuts are taken to speed up the project, critical design flaws can go unnoticed, resulting in an unsound structure that cannot support the weight or size of the completed project.
Creating Positive Outcomes
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CATASTROPHIC CONSTRUCTION FAILURE
To prepare your catastrophic construction failure insurance claim, make sure you do the following
- Identify the source of the damage.
- Document the damage and take pictures and videos immediately.
- Take steps to protect your property from further damage.
- Report the claim to your insurance company.
- Locate or request a copy of your insurance policy.
- Call a restoration company if the damage is significant.
- Save receipts reflecting any work performed or expenses incurred.
- Keep detailed notes of all conversations.
- Retain an attorney to represent your interests and assist in your insurance claim.
Despite accepting premiums and issuing policies, it is not uncommon for insurance companies in Florida to deny coverage for catastrophic construction failure damage. There are different reasons an insurance company may give for denying your claim, and some may be valid while others are not. An insurance company may be engaging in bad faith insurance practices when denying valid claims—especially if they are denying claims in an effort to increase profits to the detriment of their policyholders.
Below is a list of reasons your insurance company may give you for denying your claim:
- The property is underinsured
- Insufficient evidence to support payments
- Lack of documentation provided
- Arson (intentionally set fire)
- Fraud or Illegal activity
- Unpermitted work to the property
- Damage values have been inflated
- Policy exclusions limit coverage
- Unpaid policy premiums
Catastrophic construction failure claim claims are often undervalued by the insurance company. Insurance companies and adjusters are not interested in paying out settlements timely and properly. The insurance company wants to keep payouts low and premiums high to improve their profit margin.
Signs your claim may have been underpaid:
- Insurance Company’s Estimate Seems Too Low
If you feel that the estimate is too low, trust your gut and intuition. More often than not, if you suspect the estimate is too low, then it probably is.
- Adjuster Rushed the Property Inspection
By law, the adjuster must inspect your damaged property and issue a damage estimate within 60 days of the loss. Many adjusters rush through the inspection and do not do a thorough investigation, thereby creating an estimate of repairs cost that is artificially low. This is called a low-ball estimate. Whether the adjuster is careless or has bad faith intentions, it can leave you with a lower settlement offer than you need.
- Damage Was Overlooked or Not Accounted For
Review the insurance estimate and the adjuster documents carefully to ensure all damage and repair costs are identified. If damage has been overlooked or not accounted for in the estimate or documents, you need to take action. Failure to act could result in the underpayment of your claim.
- Part of Your Claim Was Denied
If any part of your claim was denied, then your claim may be undervalued. Often the insurance company will deny part of your claim to save money. If your property damage claim has been partially denied, it’s not the end of the claim. The claim can be reopened.
- Offered the Actual Cash Value Instead of Replacement Costs
Your insurance company may also offer to pay the actual cash value instead of the full cost required to replace or repair the property. Depending on your claim and your insurance policy, the insurance company may be underpaying your claim intentionally to save money.
- Wear & Tear or Old Damages
If your insurance company states that the damages are old or are from wear and tear, this may be a sign they are trying to underpay the repairs. If the insurance company did not ask you to make repairs to your property prior to issuing or renewing the insurance policy, and after a claim states damages are from wear and tear or are old damages, it’s assigned there intentionally trying to underpay your claim.
- Told You Do Not Need an Attorney or a Public Adjuster
If you are told you don’t need an attorney or a public adjuster on your claim, then you should call one and ask for a free claims review. Most attorneys or public adjusters will perform a free claim review to sure you are being treated properly under your insurance policy.
- Advised their there is a Lack of Coverage or a Gap in Coverage.
Another sign that your insurance company has undervalued your property damage claim is when you have been advised about a lack of coverage or a gap in coverage under your insurance policy. If your insurance company says there is no coverage for certain types of damages or losses, then you should always get a second opinion.
Dealing with an insurance company on your catastrophic construction failure claim can be a stressful and complex process. Insurance companies are large corporations. They have nearly unlimited resources and funds to fight insurance claims. Disputing a claim with your insurance company can be overwhelming. By retaining an experienced insurance claim lawyer, you can obtain significant assistance to make sure you obtain the insurance benefits and compensation you are entitled to under your insurance policy.
Our insurance lawyers can help you by:
- Providing a free claims evaluation
- Explaining your legal rights as a policyholder
- Assessing the coverages available under your policy
- Investigating the cause of the catastrophic construction failure and collecting evidence
- Hiring experts for unbiased assessments of your damages
- Determining the value of your claim
- Handling communications with your insurance company
- Negotiating with your insurance company
- Filing complaints with the Florida Department of Insurance
- Prosecuting your insurance company in a court of law
- Fighting for a fair settlement on your behalf
CONTACT MURRAY LAW GROUP TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
If you have suffered an injury or experienced catastrophic damages at your construction site due to others' negligent behavior, the attorneys at Murray Law Group can help. Our legal team can help you navigate the complexities of construction law to ensure your rights are properly advocated for, and all supporting evidence is gathered correctly. Contact Murray Law Group at1-855-269-4317 today for a free consultation.