Articles Posted in Hurricane Claims

Hurricane season begins on June 1, and it is best to prepare for the season before this date. You will want to know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Our Citrus County Hurricane Claims Attorneys at Whittel & Melton encourage you to look into the following before a tropical storm or hurricane hits: 

  • Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by contacting your local government/emergency management office or by checking the evacuation site website.
  • Put together a basic emergency kit with flashlights, generators and storm shutters.
  • Before an emergency strikes, plan your evacuation strategy and discuss it with your family. Discuss where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. 
  • Review your insurance policies to make sure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property. Remember flood insurance is separate from your home insurance policy. 
  • Understand NWS forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.

As Hurricane Dorian looms over our Citrus County community, be prepared to evacuate. You will want to allow enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home. We also encourage you to do the following: 

  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit, and ready to install. 
  • Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!

If NOT ordered to evacuate:

  • Ride out the storm in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
  • Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
  • If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but on the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.

After a tropical storm or hurricane, there are a few other safety tips we stand by. 

  • If you evacuated, only return home when officials say it is safe.
  • Once you are home, walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.
  • Get out if you smell gas, or if floodwaters remain around the building. 
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Do not use a portable generator inside your home or garage. 

Call Us For Help After a Tropical Storm or Hurricane

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Thanksgiving is almost here and millions of Americans will sit down for a festive and hearty meal. Americans consume billions of dollars of turkey every holiday season, with 88% of Thanksgiving meals including turkey on the menu. While turkeys are one of the most anticipated aspects of Thanksgiving, they can lead to serious problems in the kitchen!

Fire Hazards

The No. 1 turkey-related tragedy is fires. With so many dishes to prepare, many cooks find themselves easily distracted. If a turkey, or any other dish, is left unattended, it can overheat and catch fire, leading to danger. In order to prevent a meal mishap, the turkey and other dishes should be carefully monitored while they cook.

You should have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to deal with different types of fires. Keep children and pets out of the kitchen while you cook, and stay focused on your tasks and timers.

Don’t Leave Out the Leftovers

Food poisoning can be a huge issue over the holidays. Most people want to relax and watch football after their large turkey dinner, but it is very important to put away the leftover food. If food is left out and uncovered, it can quickly pick up bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant illness after consumption. To prevent foodborne illnesses, all leftovers should be promptly refrigerated, and food that has been sitting out for more than two hours should be tossed.

For a successful Thanksgiving, take kitchen safety precautions, watch out for any recalled products, from contaminated meats to faulty ovens, and of course, remember to be thankful and enjoy your day with loved ones!

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While it is great news to hear that a full 100 percent of Citrus County’s nine nursing homes are in compliance with the state’s emergency power mandate that went into effect June 1, of the county’s 24 assisted living facility (ALF) providers, just 14 have complied, according to the latest data from the state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

These new emergency guidelines mean that if another hurricane rolls through cutting power to those facilities, they will have enough back-up power — such as an on-site generator — to provide staff and residents 96 hours worth of air conditioning.

For the entire state of Florida, AHCA data shows 100 percent compliance among all 684 statewide nursing homes. And 1,722 out of the state’s 3,097 ALFs have met the mandate’s requirements, for a 55.60 percent compliance rate.

Gov. Rick Scott proposed the emergency power plan rule following the deaths last year of a dozen elderly people in a Hollywood Hills nursing home during and in the weeks following Hurricane Irma. The Florida Legislature passed rules mandating that those facilities verify they have installed a working generator or alternate backup power source by June 1, the start of hurricane season.

Florida is one of the first states in the nation to require emergency generators at all nursing homes and ALFs.

Facilities that fail to comply are subject to fines or sanctions of up to $1,000 a day and revocation of their license to operate in Florida.

As of June 15, 524 nursing homes and 1,027 ALFS filed extensions to complete these requirements.

Under the rules, extensions can be granted for reasons including construction or delays in delivery, zoning, or regulatory approvals, provided the facility submits alternative cooling plans that can keep residents at safe temperatures for 96 hours. Obtaining an extension means that the facilities are still in compliance with the law, despite not having the backup power fully in place or not inspected.

Facilities that have filed extensions must have plans that include:

  • Bringing a temporary generator onsite during power outages
  • Contracting for priority fuel replenishment during a power outage
  • Moving residents to common areas that can be cooled with an existing generator
  • Evacuation if needed

AHCA said it will cost Florida nursing homes more than $186 million to comply with the generator requirement. The agency based its estimates on information provided from the nursing home industry, which said the costs for a generator at a 120-bed facility would be $315,200. Using those figures, AHCA estimated the average cost per bed at $2,626.66.

The 2018 hurricane season has begun and continues until November 30. The peak season occurs between mid-August and late October.

As we know all too well in Florida, hurricanes are powerful systems with winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. When hurricanes or tropical storms make landfall, they bring heavy winds and rain as well as massive flooding. Lack of preparation is extremely dangerous for those who live in a hurricane’s path, so it is good thing that the AHCA is strongly enforcing these new requirements for nursing homes and ALFs.

Losing electricity in a storm with the size and strength of a hurricane like Hurricane Irma that swept through in 2017 can be common. However, facilities should have back-up systems and plans so their residents are safe. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or died as the result of a nursing home’s or an ALF’s negligence before or after a hurricane, you may have grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

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Florida is bracing as Hurricane Irma, the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, is slated to hit Florida on Sunday.

The hurricane “remains a dangerous and life-threatening Category 5” storm, Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned Wednesday night at a briefing. Forecast models have put the storm on a track to hit Florida over the weekend.

Irma is bringing 185-mph winds and is located about 50 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the National Hurricane Center said in a 8 p.m. ET advisory. Irma is considered much worse and more devastating on its current path than Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm which hit Florida in 1992.

Battling the hardships brought on by hurricanes and the damage they leave behind takes patience and persistence. Discovering afterward that you also have to go to battle with your insurance company over your legitimate claim only makes things worse.

Our Citrus County Hurricane Claims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton represent homeowners and businesses in hurricane damage claims in Crystal River, Homosassa, Homosassa Springs, Dunnellon and Sugarmill Woods. We can stand up to insurance companies and work towards achieving favorable results on your behalf.

While policyholders rightly expect hurricane insurance that they pay for to cover their losses when a storm does hit, insurance companies use tactics that are meant to protect the company’s interests. We are more than familiar with the unfair strategies insurance companies use, including:

  • Denial of a claim
  • Delayed payment of a claim
  • Underpayment of a claim

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