Fire Subrogation

Representation for Insurance Defense Matters in Traverse City and Grand Rapids

Subrogation when faced with a fire claim on the West Side of Michigan is often an effective way for an insurer to recover loss expenses. Subrogation substitutes one party for another with regard to a legal right or claim. Generally, the same steps go into a subrogation claim as an initial claim regarding whether the fire was caused by product design, poor workmanship, premises liability, or negligence. To make sure that your subrogation efforts are successful, you should follow certain steps and work with a knowledgeable insurance defense attorney from the start. The Neumann Law Group may be able to guide you through the legal process. Our principal, Kelly Neumann, is a Grand Rapids and Traverse City fire subrogation lawyer with substantial trial experience.

Fire Subrogation Claims

If you pay your insured for damages sustained in a fire, you may get subrogation rights to go after the party responsible, or you may be able to recover any excess received from a wrongdoer under the made whole doctrine. Subrogation rights related to fire claims may arise in many different contexts and become quite complex, depending on the situation. For example, if you pay claims related to a fire arising out of construction negligence and breach of warranty, you may bring an action against the contractors and subcontractors as a subrogee.

Another possible context is that of a landlord-tenant relationship, in which an insurer insures a building owner whose tenants' negligence results in a fire. In such cases, the rental agreement may affect your subrogation rights. For example, a rental agreement may specify that the tenant keep the premises in good repair and return the premises to the same condition as they were when they arrived, other than reasonable wear and tear by elements. The rental agreement may state that the tenant will observe all fire and other regulations at issue, as well as the regulations and requirements of any underwriters about how the premises are used in order to reduce fire hazards.

However, a rental agreement is likely to also place an obligation on your insured as the landlord to make necessary repairs and to maintain the premises. In one case, the court found that a tenant could reasonably expect that his rental payments would be used to cover the property owner's ordinary expenses, including fire insurance premiums.

The sooner that you retain a knowledgeable fire subrogation attorney in Traverse City or Grand Rapids, the better an outcome you are likely to get. If we are involved at the inception of the investigation, we can make sure that the issues are resolved in such a way that they do not compromise the subrogation process. Among other things, we can retain a knowledgeable fire expert who abides by accepted practices and can get to the scene right away, and we can enlist competent professionals, such as an electrical engineer, to provide expertise as needed. It is crucial that the fire expert initiate the investigation with an unbiased perspective and without presumptions so that their conclusions can stand up to a scientific challenge.

Criteria used by the expert to determine the fire's origin may include witness information, fire patterns, fire dynamics, and arc mapping. The information obtained by the expert must be reliable. We understand the criteria that the expert uses and how to present that information to a jury to show the origin of the fire. When a fire's origin is not identified with certainty, the potential liability may be greater. Similarly, we will need to make sure that the expert identifies all of the potential ignition sources and that physical evidence is appropriately protected. We can also supervise the collection of evidence, which will likely be deteriorated and fragile.

Retain a Fire Subrogation Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City

If you are concerned about fire subrogation issues, our attorneys may be able to assist you. Our West Side of Michigan firm represents clients in Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Muskegon, Midland, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, and Saginaw, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact the Neumann Law Group at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up an appointment with a Traverse City or Grand Rapids fire subrogation attorney. We can use our experience as injury lawyers to protect your interests.

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