Attorney’s advice for getting legal help with Moody landfill fire
ST. CLAIR CO., Ala. (WBRC) - It’s been 46 days and the fire at a landfill in St. Clair County is still burning. People say you can see and smell it for miles. It impacts families’ health and homes.
Attorney Joshua Snable with Snable, Stevenson, and Silva says if this is something you’re dealing with you need to be sure you are taking proper documentation.
“We’re telling everybody to keep a daily journal. Document these things,” says Snable. “If you find yourself suffering from migraines or your children, you had to take them to the doctor; if you have health insurance now is the time to use it. But document those things. You might not go to the doctor every time you have a headache. But you can jot down, ‘today: suffered migraine headache’.”
As the fire continues Snable says the most important thing you can do is to take steps to protect yourself and your family. He also shares you can seek legal advice and talk to your homeowner’s insurance provider. But before filing a claim, Snable says you should take a close look at your policy.
“You can only have one claim,” says Snable. “So I’m telling people if you need clean up from the smoke or whatever and you need remediation you can only make that claim once. If you make it today well you can’t make another claim from this event 6 months from now it’s not a continuing thing. Insurance only honors it once with one deductible.”
We asked some questions from residents near the landfill to The Alabama Department of Insurance and here’s what they say:
- What type of documentation should homeowners be taking to make a claim? We suggest that policyholders keep any receipts related to smoke damage to be used when a claim is filed.
- If the air and water quality are deemed unsafe, and depending on the type of water they use in their homes, could this be a claim they could make? We suggest that a policyholder contact their agent and/or Carrier for specific coverages related to this type of loss.
- When they look at their insurance policies what are some keywords or things they should be looking for? Great question – please look at what “perils” are covered and if any “exclusions” apply to this type of loss. We do suggest that the policyholder contact their agent or Carrier if they are unsure of coverage after reviewing their policy.
- If they relocate to a hotel for a while but it’s not covered by their insurance depending on what comes from the fire, is there a way to claim in the future? A policyholder should always be able to file a future claim. However, the coverage decision might not change. One question to ask the claims adjuster upon the determination of the initial claim is whether there is a situation whereby this claim might be covered in the future depending on new information.
- Some have purchased air purifiers, new filters for their HVAC units, and more. Could these purchases be covered under their insurance? We suggest asking the claims adjuster about these purchases as part of the claims process to see if air purifiers would be covered as a part of this loss.
If you’d like to get legal help, contact Joshua Snable at (205) 582-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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