ANSBACHER LAW is open NOW to assist victims of Hurricane Matthew. Please call our 24 Hour hotline at 904.737.4700 to be connected immediately to one of our attorneys. All four of our offices will be open at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, October 10, 2016 to assist clients.
We can assist with any insurance claims, or in dealing with construction defects that were observed during Hurricane Matthew. For our condominium and homeowner association clients we can also assist with the exercise of emergency powers to help get your communities up and running as soon as possible.
Here are some tips to dealing with hurricane damage at your property:
- Do not enter any property that appears to be compromised or has been marked by authorities as unsafe. Never cross under any wires that are down or damaged. Your personal safety is more important than anything else!
- Take photographs and video of the conditions you find before you clean up. Your smart phone works great. To document conditions, we suggest the following:
- Shoot an area shot from the outside to identify the location such as the street view and address.
- If using a smart phone or video camera, narrate what you are shooting such as “this is the master bedroom north wall” and take photographs or video in a logical pattern through the entire property.
- Touch wall surfaces and if they appear wet or soggy note this while recording or on a paper log.
- Don’t forget to record the conditions of the ceilings where there is any damage or water staining.
- Call your insurance company and open a claim. Be sure to write down the claim number and adjuster’s name. Ask if they have any vendor’s on stand by to expedite temporary repairs. Note that most insurance policies will (1) not cover flood damage, (2) be subject to special higher deductibles for hurricane damage, and (3) exclude or limit “mold” damage. Be sure to review the policy itself and not rely solely upon the insurance company in determining coverage issues. We can also help. You will need to file separate claims if you have a flood insurance policy, builder’s risk, or business interruption insurance policy. In the case of damage to your car, truck or RV you should file a claim with your automobile insurer too.
- If you are in a condominium, contact your manager.
- Clean up all water and damp surfaces as soon as possible to avoid mold. Use a shop vacuum to remove water from carpeted surfaces. Remove wet fabric from the interior. If you have a large affected area call a restoration company or carpet cleaning company that can assist with water extraction. Make sure to get a written price quote before they start work!
- Wipe down any surfaces which have mold or mildew before starting up your air conditioner. Then set your air conditioner to the lowest temperature or if you have a humidity controller set it to 30%. Place fans around your home to maximize air flow. If you have a Nest or other automated thermostat make sure to set the thermostat to override so that the fan runs continuously and to keep the temperature at lowest setting until all excess humidity is removed.
If you have any questions regarding the damage at your property, please call us.
Note that often a severe storm reveals the existence of defects in the construction of your home or commercial property. Ansbacher Law specializes in claims against builders, architect and engineers who fail to build in accordance with applicable building codes and standards. We have a proven record of success for our clients. Even if your insurance does not cover your claim, the builder may be responsible for your damages.
The Environmental Protection Agency – EPA has the following tips to deal with mold concerns which apply to properties damaged by flood:
- Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
- There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Increasing ventilation
- Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
- Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Additional information regarding mold cleanup is available on the EPA website.