Articles Posted in Hurricane Claims

Last year 14 elderly people died due to overheated conditions in a Hollywood, Florida nursing home after the air conditioning failed during hurricane Irma.

Acting quickly to avoid a similar tragedy, Governor Rick Scott signed an Emergency Rule, that mandated that nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs) have generators installed for the purpose of running climate control systems that will maintain temperatures below 80 degrees during a power outage by June 1 – the official start of hurricane season.

Many Hernando County ALFs have not had enough time to implement these new requirements.

Failure to comply with the emergency rules will result in penalties including fines up to $1,000 per day and the possible revocation of a facility’s license.

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

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

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.

Nursing home and ALF residents are at high risk during natural disasters, so it is important that our laws protect them rather than hurt them. Nursing home and ALF regulations are enacted for very good reasons, but the sad truth is that they are often neglected. A disregard for residents and neglect of the rules and regulations can often times lead to a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

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One dog was killed and another dog was critically injured on Wednesday from the improper use of a generator inside a Hernando County home.

Hernando County Fire Rescue was called out to the home around 10:56 a.m. Wednesday due to a portable generator possibly being run inside a home.

Fire crews forced entry into the home and found a generator running inside the garage with the garage door closed.

They found two dogs inside the home, but no one else. The dogs were evacuated from the garage, officials said, and one was killed, more than likely from carbon monoxide fumes, fire rescue said.

The other dog was still alive but required aggressive treatment by fire/rescue personnel.

This tragedy reminds us that generator usage is deadly if not used appropriately.

Hernando County Fire Rescue has had two significant emergencies related to improper generator use during Hurricane Irma. A home was destroyed by a generator catching fire on Monday, Sept. 11.

HCFR urges residents to follow manufacturer recommendations in the proper usage and placement of portable generators.

When there are power outages, many people turn to portable generators without fully knowing the risks. As generators have become more popular to have on hand, the number of  carbon monoxide (CO) deaths have spiked. The following generator safety tips can keep you and your loved ones safe during an emergency situation:

  • Generators should be used in well ventilated locations outside at least 5 feet away from all doors, windows, and vent openings.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generators in a place where exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building. The exhaust must be directed away from the building.
  • Make sure to install CO alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is hot.
  • Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas.

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With Hurricane Irma looming over Florida, now is the time to review your insurance policies and be prepared for what to do if your home or business suffers devastation this week.

You purchase insurance coverage to protect against hurricane damage, flood damage or other kinds of damage to your home, and you expect your insurance company to honor your claim in the event that your home or business is damaged. Sadly, insurers will use many strategies to avoid paying out policyholders for their legitimate insurance claims.

Our Hernando County Hurricane Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help homeowners and businesses understand the hurricane claims process in Spring Hill, Hernando Beach and other areas located on the Gulf Coast. We have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies operating in bad faith, so we fully understand the law governing insurance policies and practices. Our goal is to obtain favorable results on behalf of our clients.

We have seen the damage, devastation and disruptions that hurricanes and storms can cause. We are prepared to take your case all the way to trial should that be what it takes to recover just compensation on your behalf.

We have assisted homeowners and businesses with all of the following hurricane claims disputes:

  • Structural foundation claims
  • Water damage and mold claims
  • Hurricane insurance disputes
  • Tropical storm claims
  • Underpayment or “lowball” settlements by insurance companies

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