Although the beginning of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season was unusually uneventful, Hurricane Ian more than made up for it when it blew ashore on September 28th as a Category 4 hurricane. If you were in the path of Hurricane Ian, your home and/or business may have suffered significant damage. You may even be temporarily displaced because your home was rendered uninhabitable. Knowing where to turn for help and what steps to take is crucial to recovering financially and emotionally.
The Destructive Force of Hurricane Ian
Florida residents are accustomed to preparing for hurricane season each year; however, as the hurricane season gets longer and the storms it brings get stronger, preparing gets more difficult. Leading up to the 2022 season, the Atlantic hurricane season had six years in a row of above-normal activity, including two years in a row (2020 and 2021) that the list of 21 storm names was exhausted, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
When Hurricane Ian made landfall along the southern Gulf Coast it was a strong Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 150 m.p.h. While Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it moved back out to sea along the Atlantic Coast, the storm left a path of destruction in its wake. The NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center reports that more than 3,500 square miles of Florida (over 5 percent of the entire state) were covered by 10 or more inches of rain on Wednesday alone. Some spots within Orange County received a record-setting 17 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Center.
Along with a tragic number of lives lost, the high winds and heavy rainfall also caused billions of dollars of property damage in the Fort Meyers area where Ian made landfall to north of Daytona Beach, where Ian eventually wandered back into the ocean. Common examples of property damage to homes and businesses include:
Roof damage or destruction
Downed power lines
Damage caused by flying debris
Damage caused by uprooted trees or falling branches
Steps to Take If You Are Recovering from Hurricane Ian
Whether your home suffered relatively minor damage or is completely demolished, recovering from hurricane Ian will be physically, financially, and emotionally stressful. Knowing what you should, and should not, do after a hurricane can make the difference between a speedy and full recovery and weeks of endless anxiety and frustration. The following expert advice comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Weather Service.
Be vigilant about your safety after a hurricane. This means doing things such as staying out of floodwater and following warnings about flooded roads. If you must be near floodwater, wear a life jacket and wash your hands afterward.
Be aware of the risk of electrical injury. Never use a wet electrical device. If water entered your home, turn off the electricity at the main breaker and wait for an electrician or other qualified authority to inspect the premises before turning the electricity back on.
Use flashlights instead of candles if you are without electricity. Candles pose a risk of fire. If you must use candles, be careful where you place them and keep a close eye on them.
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Fuel-burning equipment, such as generators, pressure washers, charcoal grills, and camp stoves create carbon monoxide (CO). High levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.
Do not enter a damaged building until you receive the “all clear” from authorities. The force of Hurricane Ian and/or the record level of rainfall may have structurally compromised your home or business.
Stay away from power lines. Power lines that were de-stabilized or downed by Hurricane Ian may still be “live.” As such, you risk a serious, even fatal, electrocution injury if you get near a power line. Be sure to look up and check for power lines that may be close to failing as well.
Do not drink contaminated water. While it is important to stay hydrated, many areas remain under a boil water order because the drinking water is not believed to be safe yet.
Be aware of your emotional health. It is perfectly normal to feel a wide range of emotions before, during, and after a hurricane. Anxiety, fear, and depression are among the most common. Be sure to seek help for your emotional trauma if you need it.
Document damage. Take plenty of photos of the damage to your home or business. Do not enter, however, unless it is safe to do so. Also, put together receipts and value estimates for destroyed property and arrange for an independent estimate of the cost of repairing damages.
File an insurance claim. Contact your insurance company as soon as you are safe and able to do so to file a claim.
Contact a Hurricane Ian insurance claim lawyer. If your insurance claim is not paid within a reasonable amount of time, is underpaid, or is outright denied, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Hurricane Ian insurance claim lawyer.
Get Help from an Experienced Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim Lawyer
The Orlando Hurricane Ian insurance claim attorneys at Malik Law P.A. have extensive experience and vast resources available to help get your insurance claim paid in full, so you can start the recovery process.
Call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Orlando hurricane insurance claim attorneys will explain your rights to you and discuss your legal options at no cost.
Imran Malik, rated AV® Preeminent, by Martindale-Hubbell, is the founding member of Malik Law P.A. An AV® Rating signifies that a lawyer has reached the heights of professional excellence. He has practiced law for a number of years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity by fellow attorneys in his area of practice. Martindale-Hubbell is the oldest and most trusted lawyer information service in America.