Condominiums and planned community developments are not immune from disaster. When it strikes, the scale can be overwhelming. Suddenly all the “fine print” in the insurance contracts becomes relevant and decisions need to be made. Fire, flood or insect infestation can pit homeowners associations against the property developer and insurance company lawyers. Who is at fault? Who will pay? How do things proceed?
Developers and insurance companies will use in-house or outside counsel who are seasoned civil litigators to assure their interests are protected. So should you. We have extensive trial experience, including contract cases, bad-faith claims and construction defect cases. When disaster strikes hire experienced counsel to make sure your claim is dealt with in good faith and efficiently. Gregory M. Garrison, APC, is here to offer advice and assistance to resolve your legal challenges cost-effectively after a disaster.
1. Immediately document the damages. Whether it’s photographs, video or witnesses, you must start by documenting damage. One benefit of counsel is they will direct documentation with an eye toward preserving and documenting any liability, causes or unique damage suffered. Our office regularly goes to trial and knows what works best for court. If you are in a position where you have to do this yourself it is highly recommended you document everything. Unfortunately, when such situations happen, the instinctual urge is to clean, rebuild and sort the mess. This needs to take back seat to documenting the damage in photos and video.
2. Immediately contact your insurance company. Make sure you get an email address and immediately send an email confirming what you spoke about as well as request a complete copy of your insurance policy. It is amazing how many people forget to do this. If a conversation is not documented in writing, people forget what happened or what was promised. When a major disaster strikes it is easy to become flustered and fail to follow steps that might seem obvious if you were not under the pressure of the situation. Confirm by email what was said so there is no argument about it later. You will be glad you did.
3. Designate one person as a contact point. When disaster strikes, it is easy to get in a situation where communication becomes disorganized. There needs to be one contact point who is aware of what is happening and can coordinate steps being taken. Make sure that person is cc’ed with all emails, advised of phone discussions and any meetings or actions taken by insurance agencies, local officials, state officials and the homeowners or condominium association. Whether a lawyer or a board member serves this purpose, make sure they have the time and organizational skills to stay on top of things.
In disaster situations, the number of things that must be dealt with can be overwhelming. Litigation attorneys are used to organizing under pressure and have a keen eye for assessing a situation, organizing data, assessing liability and the contractual responsibilities of all the parties involved. We have a history of organizing information under pressure and providing solid advice and direction regarding how to proceed. We have a reputation for no-nonsense and getting results.