What can I do if a construction company’s insurance not paying replacement cost for items lost due to its negligence?

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What can I do if a construction company’s insurance not paying replacement cost for items lost due to its negligence?

I had a company come perform waterproofing in my basement. During the process the basement took on 4′ of water throughout. This water was a result of the companies negligence after ripping out my sumps and punching holes in the wall without ensuring sufficient drainage overnighthouse does not reside in flood plane, does not have public sewer or water. The adjuster working the case has already agreed that this is the companies fault, and had servpro over to inventory, dispose and work moisture mitigation. Now, 2 months later, I am being told that I have to rework the entire inventory to include age of all items. I was informed that due to this being a 3rd party claim in OH, they will not cover replacement costs, only depreciated value. Is this in fact the law? At what point can I claim replacement value, as I did not have this issue prior to construction? Why is this considered a 3rd party claim when it was the company that damaged a lot of my belongings? Should I get an attorney before continuing any communication with the insurance adjuster?

Asked on July 6, 2017 under Insurance Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Third party claim: because the "person" who caused the damage and the "person" who suffered the damage are not one and the same--you are not claiming for damage done by yourself or by natural causes, and the contractor is not claiming for damage to its own property. When there is an extra party involved, it's a 3rd party claim.
2) In any state, all you are entitled to is depreciated value, since that was the then-current actual value of the destroyed or damaged items, and you are not allowed to recover more than the items were worth at the time of their loss. (The exception would be if you were claiming under your own policy *and* the policy you had bought was specifically for replacement value, the way certain automobile policies are for car replacement value, not blue book value).
3) If the claim is for $30,000 or more, hire a lawyer; if less than that, the additional increase in value the lawyer might get you would likely be outweighed by the cost of the attorney him/herself.


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