A fire can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. In its aftermath, an individual may be left without a home or business, and the fire may have destroyed many prized possessions stored within the property itself. Those who have fire insurance may be able to get help rebuilding their homes and their lives after such an event. However, an insurance company might try to claim that a policyholder committed arson and is not entitled to a payout.
In many cases, an insurance company will have a private fire investigator determine the cause of the blaze. This person likely represents the interests of the provider as opposed to the insured homeowner. He or she may try to claim that a fire was intentionally set based on burn patterns or other subjective evidence. This may be true even if there was no evidence of a flammable liquid or other suspicious activity prior to the fire occurring.
Insurance companies may also try to get individual statements from each person named on the policy. The goal is to get one party to say something that contradicts what the other person has said. An examination under oath, or EUO, may be recorded, and attorneys for the insurance provider will typically ask the questions. Those who are asked to submit to an EUO may benefit from hiring an attorney before it takes place.
If fire and arson insurance claims are not handled in a fair manner, a policyholder may want to contact an attorney for help. This may make it easier to dispute evidence that an insurance company could use to bolster its claim that a fire was intentionally set. In the event that a claim is not handled in good faith, a property owner may be entitled to punitive damages.