Articles Posted in Hurricane and Storm Damage Insurance

A Stuart couple was hospitalized this week after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning while running a generator in their home, according to the Martin County Health Department.

The couple was brought to a hospital Tuesday after complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. They remain in the hospital, the health department said.

At least four families in Palm Beach County suffered carbon monoxide poisoning this week after keeping running generators in closed garages, according to health officials.

As of Thursday afternoon, 16,740 customers in Martin County were still without power because of Hurricane Irma, according to the Florida Power & Light website.

In Palm Beach County, 156,150 customers were still without power.

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton strongly urge you to read through the operating manual before you operate a generator so that you fully understand how the machine works. You can avoid injury by always following the manufacturer’s guidelines and keeping the following safety tips in mind:

  • Never use a generator in an enclosed space. Carbon dioxide produced by the engine can build up, causing potentially fatal fumes.
  • When using a generator, keep it outdoors and at least 5 feet away from windows, vents, and doors.
  • Always use a battery-operated carbon-dioxide detector when you are running a generator. Make sure the batteries are new.
  • Before refueling the generator, allow it to cool for a minimum of two minutes, since gasoline vapors are extremely flammable. Use fresh gasoline, or stabilize gas with a fuel stabilizer if you do not use the generator for 30 days.
  • Make sure that you follow the maintenance schedule that is recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is rated for generator use and that it is grounded.
  • Power generators should never be plugged into a home outlet.

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Treasure Coast officials are ordering mandatory evacuations Saturday for Martin County for Hurricane Irma.

Residents living on Hutchinson Island, Jupiter Island and Sewall’s Point should expect to be evacuated. As of now, Martin County remains under a voluntary evacuation order, which is part of the state of emergency

After the devastating effects of a Florida hurricane, you will likely face costly repairs and rebuilding work. You may also need to replace your possessions or automobiles, and you could be without a job if your workplace suffered damage. Worse than that, you may be without a place to live in Florida or basic necessities for the days and weeks to come.

With that said, you may be left questioning what you should do next.

Our Martin County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand the terror you’ve been through, and the loss that goes with hurricanes. We know firsthand how vital it is that you receive the compensation you deserve from your insurance company so that you can start to rebuild your life.

Our goal is to protect you from the insurance company’s habit of protecting their own bottom line. We will aggressively fight for your interests so that you can rebuild after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma.

Whether you are a home or business owner located near the Treasure Coast, you understand the risks, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than your insurance policy guarantees should your property be damaged by Hurricane Irma. We stand ready to help you deal with your insurance company, so that you can focus on your life, your home, and your loved ones.

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It’s looking like residents can expect Hurricane Irma to be a category 3 to category 4 storm by the time it reaches Okeechobee County.

Currently, the Okeechobee County Emergency Management team is telling residents that they recommend a voluntary evacuation to low lying areas and areas prone to flooding.

Claims to insurance companies should be answered promptly and policyholders should be fully compensated under the policy terms. Sounds easy enough, right? Sadly, many home and business owners will not have an easy time getting fair settlements for their claims after Hurricane Irma blows through.

Our Okeechobee County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are prepared to help you go to battle against your insurance company, negotiating for maximum legal compensation for Hurricane Irma claims based on:

  • Property damage or property loss
  • Business interruption
  • Structural foundation claims
  • Water damage and mold claims
  • Underpayment or “lowball” settlements

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Hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until June 1, but President Donald Trump has proclaimed this week ‘National Hurricane Preparedness Week.’

The time to prepare is now, before any storms make it to Florida. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard- this could be a deadly mistake.

Many people facing tropical storms and hurricanes last year in Florida, wish they had been more prepared, and for good reason. This is why President Trump hopes people get prepared right now during Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Your to do list should include:

  • Coming up with an evacuation plan
  • Getting your disaster supplies together
  • Calling your insurance company for a checkup to make sure you have the right coverage
  • Checking your home to make sure it’s in good condition and can withstand a storm
  • Checking in with your neighbors on their storm plans
  • Writing down your hurricane plan so your whole family is in the know

Our Florida Hurricane & Storm Damage Lawyers at Whittel & Melton would like to recap the 2016 hurricane season. We started with a rare January hurricane, Alex, and ended with Hurricane Otto which made landfall in Nicaragua on November 24. This year was an above-average season. There were 15 named storms and 7 hurricanes. There were 3 major hurricanes: Gaston, Matthew and Nicole. Category 5 Matthew was the strongest one.

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Today is the last day of hurricane season, so we thought we would recap this year’s stats.

The 2016 season started with a rare January hurricane, Alex, and ended with Hurricane Otto which made landfall in Nicaragua on November 24.

This year was an above-average season. There were 15 named storms and 7 hurricanes. There were 3 major hurricanes: Gaston, Matthew and Nicole. Category 5 Matthew was the strongest one.

Tampa Bay was impacted by Tropical Storm Colin in the first week of June. While it stayed out in the Gulf of Mexico, the area saw rough surf, some coastal flooding and strong winds. Clearwater Beach reported a wind gust to 49 mph.

Hurricane Hermine made landfall just east of St. Marks, Florida in the early morning hours of September 2nd with winds of 80 mph. Hurricane Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

It brought a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet to parts of the coast from Manatee County to Citrus County. The storm surge was 7.5 feet at Cedar Key. There was heavy rainfall (6 inches to more than 20 inches of rain in some spots) and strong wind gusts in Tampa Bay. Indian Shores had a wind gust of 78 mph. St. Petersburg reported a wind gust of 63 mph and Tampa had a wind gust of 46 mph.

Tropical Storm Julia formed near Jacksonville on September 13, and was an unusual storm since it formed over land, not over water.  

Then there was Hurricane Matthew. As it moved toward the east coast of Florida, close to 2 million people in were ordered to evacuate. Although the center of Matthew stayed just offshore, there was a wind gust of 107 mph on the tip of Cape Canaveral on the morning of October 7. Fernandina Beach in Nassau County reported a peak water level of 6.91 feet. This ranks as the third highest water level recorded there, above Hurricanes Dora and Jeanne. There was also more than 8 inches of rain in some areas.

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Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for all of Florida as Hurricane Matthew threatened to wreak havoc on the East Coast later in the week.

Hurricane Matthew was southeast of Jamaica on Monday but was predicted to head north and likely produce “devastating impacts from storm surge, extreme winds, heavy rains, flash floods, and/or mudslides in portions of the watch and warning areas in Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas,” the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

While the path remains unclear as the storm goes further north, the Hurricane Center said direct hurricane impacts are possible in Florida later in the week.

Our Florida Hurricane & Storm Damage Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to be prepared for Hurricane Matthew. We urge you to read through the following and make sure you and your family are properly outfitted with supplies in case of an emergency.

Have a 3-7 day supply of each item for every person in your home:

Water

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day stored in clean plastic containers

Food

Purchase foods that require no refrigeration and little preparation, such as:

  • Ready-to-eat canned food
  • Canned juices, milk, soup
  • Snacks like cookies, cereals, etc.
  • Soft drinks, instant coffee, tea
  • Lots of ice – so you can freeze your water supply!

For Baby

  • Formula, bottles, powdered milk, jarred baby foods
  • Diapers, moist towelettes and special medications

Pets

  • Newspapers or cat litter
  • Canned or Dry Food
  • Plastic sheets to cover floor of pet’s room

Medicine

  • First aid kit
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Aspirin, non-aspirin pain reliever, antacid
  • Extra prescription medication  – ask your physician how to store prescription medication
  • Personal Items
  • Toilet paper, towels, soap, shampoo
  • Personal and feminine hygiene products
  • Denture needs, contact lenses and an extra pair of eyeglasses

Other Supplies

  • Battery-operated radio, flashlights, non-electric can opener, extra batteries
  • ABC-rated fire extinguisher in a small canister
  • Portable cooler
  • Plenty of absorbent towels, plastic trash bags
  • Wind-up or battery-operated clock
  • Tarp or sheet plastic, duct tape, hammer and nails for temporary roof repairs
  • Cleaning supplies such as chlorine bleach
  • Aluminum foil, paper napkins and plates, plastic cups
  • Can of spray paint – this can be used to identify your home by insurance adjusters in case it’s damaged
  • At least one change of clothing per person, sturdy shoes, hat and work gloves
  • Pillows and blankets or sleeping bags

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The final report on Hurricane Hermine is in. Heavy rainfall caused more flooding and strong winds brought down trees and powerlines.

Here are the final numbers:

Storm Surge

Cedar Key 7.5 feet

Clearwater Beach 4.41 feet

McKay Bay (Tampa Bay) 4.09 feet

St. Petersburg 3.58 feet

Port Manatee 3.21 feet

Peak Wind Gusts

Indian Shores 78 mph

Treasure Island 71 mph

St. Petersburg 63 mph

Clearwater Beach 62 mph

Cedar Key 60 mph

MacDill 55 mph

Cedar Key 54 mph

Sarasota/Bradenton 54 mph

Crystal River 53 mph

Brooksville 53 mph

Anna Maria 52 mph

Tampa 46 mph

St. Pete/Clearwater 47 mph

Lakeland 42 mph

Winter Haven 41 mph

Plant City 40 mph

Inverness 35 mph

Rainfall

Baskin (Pinellas) 22.36

Largo (Pinellas) 16.11

Gulfport (Pinellas) 14.30

Dunedin (Pinellas) 12.93

Lake Worrell (Pasco) 11.04

Seminole (Pinellas) 10.87

Belleaire (Pinellas) 10.58

Holiday (Pasco) 10.22

Clearwater (Pinellas) 10.03

Palmetto (Manatee) 9.82

Longboat Key (Manatee) 9.61

Ellenton (Manatee) 9.46

Sarasota/Bradenton (Manatee) 9.38

Port Richey (Pasco) 9.24

Tampa (Hillsborough) 6.83

Valrico (Hillsborough) 6.77

Sun City Center (Hillsborough) 6.55

Wesley Chapel (Pasco) 6.55

If your home was damaged by Hermine:

  • Get in touch with your insurance provider ASAP
  • Take any possible steps you can to protect your home from further storm damage
  • Document all damage with photos or video
  • Compose an inventory list of all damages
  • Take down notes on any information your insurance company gives you
  • Save all receipts for expenses related to the damage and/or repairs
  • Make copies of all documents sent to you by your insurance company

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Florida residents know the risks of property damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricanes and storms can leave behind devastating damages, and the reality is that filing insurance claims to cover repairs and destruction can be a long battle. Fortunately, our Alachua County Hurricane & Storm Damage Claims Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are experienced at handling these types of claims and know how to deal with denied or underpaid claims.

Insurance companies make money by denying, delaying or underpaying claims. Going head to head with your insurance company can be stressful and unnecessary, which is where we come in. With us on your side, we can level the playing field and work to secure the coverage due under the terms of your policy. We believe that you should be properly compensated for your losses.

Even though your insurance company was happy to talk to you when you purchased your insurance policy, that might not be the case when it comes to paying on that policy in the wake of a severe storm or hurricane. The insurance companies are out to secure their bottom line, and they have no genuine interest in treating you fairly. If you have tried reasoning with your insurance company to no avail, please let us help you. They could change their tune once they know you have legal representation.  

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In most cases, it won’t make a difference whether your home or business was damaged in a tropical storm or a hurricane. The damage can be the same regardless of if it was caused by a hurricane or tropical storm.

Even though a hurricane can produce heavier rains and more intense wind and flooding, a property can still be damaged in a tropical storm, including wind, rain, mud, mold and debris. In fact, many insurance policies categorize windstorm coverage and flooding under the same cause of damage. However, every insurance policy is different, so it is imperative to review your policy and make sure you have appropriate coverage.

A hurricane and a tropical storm are both types of  tropical cyclones that spur thunderstorms and high winds. The only difference is in the intensity. A hurricane is the most powerful type of tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. What is important to highlight is that some damages caused by hurricanes is not always covered by a traditional homeowners’ insurance policy. Living in Florida, it is essential to understand how important insurance is when a hurricane or tropical storm barges through. While you should be covered by your insurance in the event of a tropical storm or a hurricane, sometimes insurance companies withhold payments or severely underpay for what is owed.

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When you purchase property insurance, you expect your insurance company to pay fairly on any claims dealing with storms and hurricanes, right? Sadly, this is not always the case.

At Whittel & Melton, our New Port Richey Hurricane & Storm Damage Claims Attorneys work to protect you after a devastating storm. We can help you hold your insurance company to its obligations to pay damages according to the terms of your insurance policy after violent winds and rain wreak havoc on your home or business.

You may have already had your claim denied and don’t know why. You may have tried to contact your insurance company and your adjuster won’t talk to you. The truth is, this is not uncommon. While your insurer may not talk to you now, with us fighting in your corner, you may find that they are now willing to discuss your claim.

If your insurance company has denied your claim or is significantly undervaluing your claim, we can help. Specifically, we can help with the following:

  • Bad faith insurance claims. When insurance companies refuse to pay on claims or will not pay the full amount regardless of policy provisions that obligate them to do so, the insurer is acting in bad faith. We will not hesitate to take insurance companies to court so that they live up to their contractual commitments.
  • Homeowner & business insurance claims. People buy property insurance for a reason. When floods, winds, fires, and other disasters damage a property that is covered under a valid insurance policy, you have the right to be compensated.
  • Hurricane & storm damage claims. Florida is prone to hurricanes, so we happily assist those who have experienced property damage from a hurricane or tropical storm recover what they are owed according to their insurance policies.

When insurers illegally take advantage of their policyholders by denying or undervaluing claims, we step in and make sure your rights are protected.

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