ACTS law hour – Episode 5

Episode 5 – 11.11.17

 

Episode Highlights:

      • #GoSeeAlex
      • Pitfalls that homeowners should be aware
      • Broken Pipes
      • Problems with Sewage

ACTS law hour today with:

Danny Abir

Partner

E-mail Attorney

Download vCard

Alexander Cohen

Partner

E-mail Attorney

Download vCard

Listen to the show

Read the Transcript

Announcer: You are listening to the ACTS Law Hour on 790 KABC. The attorneys from ACTS Law are here to help you restore your property, your pocket book, and your sanity. Don’t delay, Act now at 800-222-5222.

Lorraine Ladd: Good afternoon, Los Angeles, this is Talk Radio 790 KABC. Welcome to the ACTS Law hour held every Saturday at noon, providing you with solid information from our good friends At Abir, Cohen, Treyzon, and Salo the ACTS Law firm. That’s A-C-T-S Law. Find them at actslaw.com. Knowledge is power and power is knowledge. The ACTS Law Hour wants to empower you today. Now, here is our host and managing partner of the ACTS Law firm, Danny Abir, along with me, Lorraine Ladd. Really quick, I just want to say, Happy Veterans Day to all of the veterans out there. Thank you so much for your service. They really are our true heroes.

Danny Abir: Good morning. Happy Veterans Day –

Lorraine: Good morning.

Danny: – to all our active service men and veterans. Thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for your service and we truly do appreciate it. Also, welcome to my good friend and business partner, Alex Cohen. Welcome.

Lorraine: Welcome.

Alexander Cohen: Thank you, Danny. Thank you, Lorraine.

Lorraine: Glad to have you back again.

Alexander: Thank you so much and thank you to our beautiful audience at 790 AM. We appreciate you tuning in and listening to the ACTS Law Hour. If you have any questions that you would like to ask during the hour, please, don’t be shy, call. We can talk about the various issues that come up in property damage, insurance and insurance bad faith.

Lorraine: Yes. The number to call is 1-800-222-5222.

Danny: That’s actually a very good point, to call, because one of the things that Alex is famous for in the office is the slogan that we’re trying to hashtag now: Go see Alex.

Alexander: [laughs]

Lorraine: Go see Alex. Okay.

Danny: I’m actually thinking of doing a personalized license plate –

Alexander:  It’s so funny you say that.

Lorraine: I think that’s a great idea.

Danny: – GOC. The letter C, which stands for his last name too. GOCALEX. Go see Alex.

Lorraine: You see Go see Cal, Go see Cal, Go see Cal [laughs]

Alexander: It’s changed. It’s now Go see Alex. It’s funny because a lot of the clients that call me up, they’ve either been referred by somebody or heard of my name from somebody. They always said, “Your client said, ‘What’s the matter? You had some property damage loss at your house? Go see Alex.'”

[laughter]

Alexander: They all said, “Go see Alex,” and now everybody at the office teases me about that.

Lorraine: We ow have a new hashtag: Go See Alex. I like it.

Danny: It’s good.

Lorraine: It’s good.

Danny: Let’s make it, everybody start hashtagging Go See Alex, let’s see how that goes. Every week, one of the things that we want to talk about, or start the show with, is the current events and what’s going on. Like we were talking about before the show started, Lorraine, it’s really hard not to talk about the sexual assault allegations and everything that’s going on. We have a legal show and we have an amazing guest in Alex to talk about insurance claims, but at the same time, I can’t see us be a legal show and not talk about what’s going on –

Alexander: I agree.

Danny: – with everything that’s in the news.

Lorraine: It’s getting crazy. We talked about this last week, the week before, it’s getting crazier and crazier. More people — it’s like Pandora’s box. All these people are just coming out of the woodwork. We talked about it, we knew it was going to get more and more and more, but even as of Louis C. K. came out and apologized, at least he admitted what he did.

Alexander: Correct. He took –

[crosstalk]

Lorraine: He apologized.

Danny: Yes. Jeremy Piven, –

Lorraine: There’s three ladies now. Yes.

Danny: – with the third lady that came forward. The senatorial candidate from Alabama, Josh Moore, and that’s allegations of pedophilia. It’s interesting because he actually says that he doesn’t deny the claim that he had dated teenagers when he was in his 30s, but he’s saying he’s denying what the woman is alleging when she was 14. It’s just that it’s amazing what –

Alexander: I heard something else. Maybe we listen to different stations.

Lorraine: What did you hear?

Alexander: My understanding was, he doesn’t even know, unless that has changed, that he doesn’t even know the person.

Danny: No, no, no. He came forward and said that is not — He is denying that allegation. Today he actually had a –

Alexander: Now he knows the woman but he’s not –

Danny: No, he says he’s denying the allegation, that could have never happened,

Alexander: Right.

Danny: He was never with a 14 year old.

Alexander: All right.

Danny: It’s not about whether he knew the woman or not, he’s just denying the allegation.

Alexander: Okay. All right.

Danny: Aside from that — But he’s not denying the fact that he –

Lorraine: He did it.

Danny: No, he would have been with teenagers when he was in his 30s. It’s not a question of the — This is not a political conversation, this is really about right and wrong. Pedophilia, being with a child — We talked about sex abuse when Doug Rochen was here, but it’s just wrong. It doesn’t matter who did it, it doesn’t matter how you — There are people, because of the political part of it, they’re trying to spin it in a way, “Well, it happened 40 years ago,” or if it happened, they’re using religion as part of it to bring it in and saying “In Christianity, Joseph and Mary, Mary was in her teens,” but –

Alexander: Yes.

Lorraine: Right. I’m a mother of an 18 year old, my daughter just turned 18. I don’t care how you try to spin it, wrong is wrong, and doing that to a child is beyond wrong. They can try to spin it any way they want, they can try to do however many years it’s been, it’s wrong. It’s just wrong flat out.

Danny: This is the thing, if you’re in your 30s and you’re with a child –

Lorraine: What are you doing with a 14 year old?

Alexander: There is something [crosstalk] wrong.

Danny: I know. People say, “Well, he-” I even read an article about a congressman who said, “Well, he may have grown out of it.” You don’t grow out of something like that. That’s not something that grows or anything.

Lorraine: Pedophilia, you don’t really grow out of.

Alexander: No. They’re potentially a victim of it themselves.

Lorraine: Right. Kevin Spacey now is thinking about going into a sex rehab, right? You two being two very well known, amazing attorneys, I’m thinking he’s doing that because he’s setting the groundwork because he knows he’s going to be sued. Now if he goes in to some sort of a sex therapy now, he’s getting his defense ready, right? Now he’s a sex addict, so, maybe that has something to do with it.

Danny: That defense would be –

Alexander: Post remediation. No.

Danny: Yes. Aside from that, the criminal aspect and basic the civil aspect are two different things. If somebody sues him and says he did this thing from a civil point of view, that’s not going to be a defense. The fact that I was an addict is not going to [unintelligible 00:06:56]

Lorraine: Okay.

Alexander: No. Also the fact that he went and rehabilitated himself is not a defense. “See, I’m good now.” No. That’s not the way that works. That’s not a defense.

Danny: I think basically, the concept of rehab is to try to cleanse the image and say, “Listen, I went to rehab and I-” The same thing Harvey Weinstein did. He went to a rehab in Switzerland or something like that. Well, “I need help.” People tend to look at people who are addicts with more empathy and pity, and I think by doing that, they cleanse the image or make the image look softer than somebody who’s aggressor.

Alexander: Well, it also might be an opportunity for him to come out and say, “I’ve reinvented myself. I didn’t know I had a problem and-“

Danny: Correct.

Alexander: “-I have addressed it, and now I’m good.” [laughs]

Lorraine: “Hire me back.”

Alexander: Yes. “I’m good now.”

Lorraine: Yes. “I’m good. Hire me.”

Alexander: “I went to rehab, I understood what I did. What I did was wrong, but I didn’t know, and now I’m rehabbed.” He’s going to come back and people are going to have a short term memory of this. Sorry to paint such a bleak picture, but –

Danny: It’s true.

Alexander: – that’s what’s going to happen. People are going to forget, and soon he’s going to be back producing movies again and it will happen again. God forbid, but I’m saying potentially, it could happen again.

Danny: It’s funny how short our memory span is with things.

Lorraine: True.

Danny: We talked about the gun violence in Las Vegas and how at the time they said, “We cannot politicize this,” and “This is not the time to talk about politics, we have to pray.” Then what? Two weeks later, three weeks later, Texas happened, and the shooting in Texas and the church, and now it’s, again, “Let’s not politicize this, let’s not talk about lives being lost.” It’s the same thing, three weeks later, they’ll forget it happened. Nobody will talk about it any more. The same thing is here. Sexual assault and people who commit them, are, in my opinion, sorry, scum of the earth. Since we’re going to be talking about sewers –

[laughter]

Danny: God, it’s a good segue.

Lorraine: Wow, that’s a great transition.

Danny: I really like that transition.

Lorraine: I love that, Danny. [laughs]

Danny: From sewer and sewage to, “Let’s discuss sewage over schools and properties.” All right. One of my defense mechanisms when I talk about things that are uncomfortable for me, –

Lorraine: I know, it is very uncomfortable.

Danny: – it’s comedy, or at least, some sense of humor. Try to put a humorous thick spin to it and let’s talk about insurance topic near and dear to Alex Cohen’s heart.

Alexander: Yes.

Lorraine: Yes. Well, you’re listening to the ACTS Law Hour. That’s A-C-T-S Law. If you have any questions, go ahead and give us a call, we’ve got some advice for you. 800-222-5222.

Give us a call if you have any questions, and now we’re talking about this case with sewage.

Danny: Let’s give a roadmap as to what the show is going to be because we have commercials coming up. What we’re going to talk about in this segment and this hour basically is going to be pitfalls that homeowners should be aware of. Different things, the different ways that insurance companies use different methods that they used to deny claims and reasons they deny claims. Things that we should know as homeowners and insurers when we have our home or when we have a commercial property that gets hit with some damage, whether it is vandalism, water spill or something like that. What we should do to make sure that we are covered and prevent any kind of a denial when it comes to the insurance company. As Lorraine said, and Alex and Lorraine said, you can call and ask your questions. It’s something that happens to almost everybody, and it’s always good to have someone who’s an expert who we can talk about it. We’ll be talking about that in the next segment.

Lorraine: Okay, perfect. We’re going to take a quick break and when we come back, we will continue our conversation about insurance claims and bad face with our guest, Alex Cohen. Like Danny said, call us at 800-222-5222 if you have any questions. You’re listening to the Acts Law Hour with Danny Abir and me, Lorraine Ladd, on Talk Radio 790 KABC.

[music]

Lorraine: This is Talk Radio 790 KABC. Welcome back to the ACTS Law Hour, held Saturday at noon providing you with solid information from our good friends at Acts Law Firm. That’s A-C-T-S Law. Find them at actslaw.com. If you have any questions or you are you looking for advice, give us a call, 800-222-5222. I’m Lorraine Ladd, along with Danny Abir, and our guest lawyer for the day, Alex Cohen. We were talking a little bit about the sewage in Hollywood, with all of that. Now we’re going to talk about sewage in claims that we have.

Alexander: God, you guys know how to pick nasty talk. Fine, I will go with sewage.

Lorraine: [laughs] Okay. Do we want to start off — We do have a couple callers, do we want to start off with the caller?

Alexander: Why don’t we do that?

Lorraine: Okay. On line two, hello? Adam?

Adam: Yes.

Lorraine: Hi, this is Adam in Orange. You are on ACTS Law Hour. What’s your question, Adam?

Adam: Hey, thanks for taking my call. I have an investment condo. A pipe broke inside the walls of the condo, which is covered by the HOA. But it caused a lot of damage outside the wall. I’m curious about the HOA are saying they’ll fix the pipe and they’ll fix the walls, but they’re not saying they’ll fix everything else that was damaged by that leak, and the water that came out. I’m curious what your opinion is on that, if I would be able to take them to court or what I’d be able to do in that situation.

Alexander: Excellent question. Excellent. For condo owners, there’s two different types of insurances. One, like he said, like Adam said, the HOA, which is the Homeowner’s Association, maintains its own Insurance for property damage.

Lorraine: They have their own policy?

Alexander: They do have their own policy that covers the common areas of the association.

Lorraine: Okay. Is that outside as well or what do they consider?

Alexander: Common areas could also be inside. Anything behind the wall cavities and between floors are considered common areas. That’s just another example. There’s lots of different common areas within an association. It all also depends on how the CC and Rs define it. In this particular situation, a pipe broke within the parameters of the HOA. Okay, this is outside of his own condominium. It damaged certain walls, he said, and also along with other things, let’s say paint, could have been floors and stuff.

Condo owners, if they have their own Insurance on their condo that covers damages to their own dwelling, then, again, based on the definition of how things are identified under the insurance section of the CC and Rs of the HOA, it will define what their insurance will cover. For that reason, condo owners have their own insurance policy in place and they have to report it to their own carrier which will cover the other items that are supposed to be covered under their own policy.

Lorraine: Okay, I get it. Right.

Alexander: It makes it a lot easier to go after your own insurance company and get the damages fixed. They will pay for the pack out, pay for the additional living expenses you incur out. It all depends on what type of policy you’ve purchased over there as well. Okay, most condo owners, they don’t unfortunately adequately insure their units. It’s low, I’ve seen condo policies that say $10,000 thinking that the HOA is going to cover the loss, and it’s not necessarily true.

Condo owners, you have to be talking to your Insurance brokers and agents and make sure that the replacement cost of your condominium is adequately protected, not like a low limit $10,000, $20,000. If that condo catches on fire, it is probably going to cost $100,000 just to repair it.

Lorraine: Right. Now Adam, what kind of policy did you have?

Adam: We don’t have a policy on our condo.

Alexander: If they don’t have a policy, okay, now, if they don’t have a policy in place on their own condominium and the Homeowners Association is potentially responsible, Adam will have to file a lawsuit against the HOA if they’re denying payments and find an action for negligence. He has to establish negligence due to breach causation damages. You’ve got to prove those elements against the third party in order to secure their rights if the HOA is actually proven to be responsible.

Lorraine: Okay, interesting. All right. Did you want to say something Danny? Okay. Adam, why don’t you stay in the line? We’ve got Dino here and he will give you the phone number to the ACTS Law Firm. You can get that phone number and you can call and talk to, or you can go see Alex. [laughs]

Danny: Yes, #go see Alex.

Lorraine: #go see Alex, and he can help you out. Does that sound good?

Adam: Thanks guys, I appreciate your wisdom.

Lorraine: Thank you so much. Thanks for listening.

Alexander: Thank you for your call, Adam, have a great weekend.

Lorraine: Okay, we’ve got — Okay, Morris hangup. Morris from LA was on the line but he hung up. He was a little gun shy probably.

Alexander: That’s all right.

Lorraine: Anyway, that’s really interesting. I didn’t realize that automatically, the condo doesn’t cover everything if you have a condo.

Alexander: No, it doesn’t. Ironically, I had a friend who wanted me to review her policy. I took a look at her condo policy and it was, like I said, a $10,000 policy in the event of damages. I told him, I said, “This policy is not worth the paper it’s written on. You’ve got to up your limits. This is very low.”

She took the advice. She went to an upper limit, okay to what it should be and the insurance company actually up the limits to about $180,000. Okay, she has to pay the difference in premiums and then she called me up, she goes, “You won’t believe what happened.” “What happened?” “We had a major pipe burst from upstairs.” It was a washing machine line, which is a drain line. A drain line that carries with it lots of bacteria. It carries with it — Because you don’t know what you’re putting in your laundry. That’s dirty water, that’s not fresh water.

That’s considered a Category three water, the cleanup of it is considerably different, high germs after you get involved. Protocols have to be identified and written on how to do the cleanup. People that are authorized to know how to do these particular cleanups have to be there. It’s an environmental mess. It was fortuitous that someone called me up and I said, “Up your limits” and they did and –

Lorraine: Thank goodness. See, go see Alex. There we go, there’s that hashtag again.

Danny: I’m telling you. Before you know it, I’m going to start until you get [inaudible 00:21:25]

Alexander: I’m telling you, it’s already there.

Lorraine: It is going to start trending. It is going to trend. It’s going to be trending, yes.

Danny: For Christmas but I’m going to get them as a present. It is a personalized license plates saying, “Go see Alex”

Alexander: Thank you. definitely.

Lorraine: What a friend.

Alexander: That’s my buddy.

Lorraine: Okay, Morris is back. We’ve got Morris on the line. Hello, Morris?

Morris: Yes, hi? Good afternoon?

Lorraine: Good afternoon, you’re with the ACTS Law Hour, what’s your question, Morris?

Morris: Yes, I had a situation in June of 2015 where I had the Carlifornia State Police issue me with a suspension notice on my license. They served me with the notice and then I retained the law firm. Then they validate the [unintelligible 00:22:09] law firm. The suspension was lifted, they actually lifted it two days later and which in state of California was incorrect by the suspension. Law firm took it on and I asked the lawyer how far we are we going with the case. He said all the way. Anyway, they further claimed with the state, and the claim was denied.

Claim was denied, I talked to the council, they said you can do something different. I haven’t heard from them. The reason why I’m bringing that up is that I had an opportunity to take the State of California to the small claims court because you have 180 days after you filed the claim to go ahead and go litigation against the state from the incident. I never heard from my lawyer and he basically walked. I paid him a lot of money just to file the paperwork to go through the crime notice with the state and denied me the right to go to small claims court. I like to take the lawyer in our small claims court for the simple business misrepresentation. I don’t know if I have a case.

Alexander: How much money is involved here?

Morris: Well, the maximum you can sue on state in small claims court is $10,000.

Alexander: Right. No, what I’m saying is how much did you pay the –

Morris: I paid the lawyer $5,000.

Alexander: $5,000. The maximum claim that you would have here is if your state claim was below $10,000. Your claim against the attorney would be for the cost that you would have gotten back, is $15,000. What I would say is for an amount like that, I don’t think it’s — first of all, when did you find out that he did not file the government claim?

Morris: He did file the claim, the claim was denied and the state of California was incorrect. Two days after the day that I was suspended on my license, they actually issued a license back. They were incorrect with what they did. They made a mistake or bad judgment. They said, “Call me on a phone to discuss” of which they could have. They chose to issue me suspension notice.

Alexander: Why don’t you do this, we have to cut to commercials. Hang on, and I’ll give you an answer when we come back.

Lorraine: Okay, thanks so much Morris for calling in. We do need to take a quick break. When we come back, we will continue our conversation on insurance claims, bad faith and sewage. I want to know about the sewage.

Alexander: I will tell you about it.

Lorraine: Okay.

Danny: We started with sewage, we are going to end with sewage.

Lorraine: End with sewage, exactly. With our special guest, of course, Alex Cohen. Call us, 800-222-5222 if you have any questions. You’re listening to the ACTS Law Hour with Danny Abir, and me, Lorraine Ladd. Talk Radio 790 KABC.

[music]

Lorraine: This is Talk Radio 790KABC. Welcome back to the ACTS Law Hour, heard every Saturday at noon providing you with solid information from our good friends at ACTS Law Firm. That’s A-C-T-S Law. Find them at actslaw.com. If you have any questions or you’re looking for any advice, give us a call right now at 800-222-5222. I’m Lorraine Ladd along with our host, Danny Abir, and we’ve also got our hashtag new guy here, go see Alex. Alex Cohen is with us today. [laughter]

Danny: She’s still speaking to the Hollywood sewage thing. It is just stuck in her head.

Lorraine: It is stuck in my head. I think we wanted to go back to Morris from LA. He had a question before we went on the break, and I think you were going to answer his question.

Alexander: Yes. Morris, are you there?

Morris: Yes, I am here.

Alexander: Okay, this is my answer for you. First of all, with regard to legal malpractice. The one thing you need to be aware of is legal malpractice has a one year statute limitations. Okay? Without going into details of your case to see whether one year has been blown or not, let’s go back to the case itself. In a legal malpractice case, what’s really important is the underlying case. If the underlying case is one that you would have won, that’s the only time you would have a case against your attorney. In this case, because it’s a 15 — basically, you’re looking at $15,000 claim at best.

I would suggest that if you are going to file a claim against that attorney just like you did against the city in small claims court, I would bring it in small claims court because I can’t imagine attorneys would take on a case right now at $15,000 because it’s just so expensive to take a case to trial. I would file a claim assuming that you are still within statute, meaning, from the point that you found out that there was a malpractice, not more than a year has passed by, then you can file a claim to a small claims court to go after.

Morris: Yes. Well, this happened 2015. It’s 2017 now. We did sign a no refund contract. I’m not suing them for the money back for the contract. There’s no refund. I’m suing them for the fact that he didn’t go all the way as we agreed to. Had I known I’ll –

Danny: That would be a breach of contract. That would not be a legal malpractice case.

Alexander: Correct.

Morris: Okay. I sue them for a breach of contract then.

Lorraine: Yes.

Danny: I would do it in small claims court just because the amount is so small.

Morris: I know that. That’s what I’m trying to do. The maximum’s $10,000 in small claims court.

Alexander: Correct.

Morris: I know that. Had he gone ahead with the state and got me the [unintelligible 00:30:56], we probably would have settled the matter. He didn’t do that. Years ago, I had a problem with the city of Los Angeles, a police officer and filed a claim against the city. They denied it. The small claims court, I went ahead. I got a judgment against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD. The city attorney appealed it twice. They lost.

Lorraine: Wow.

Morris: They had to pay out. Yes, they had to pay out. It was a small amount. They appealed it. [unintelligible 00:31:26] officer did. They were incorrect. They were wrong. Anybody else basically wanted to sell and impound your vehicle, it’s auto theft. The policemen, they do something, it’s a mistake. That’s what happened here. I took on the city attorney. They eventually paid the claim.

Lorraine: Fantastic.

Morris: They appealed it twice and they lost.

Lorraine: Good for you. Wow.

Morris: Yes. I feel I have a chance with the state. Basically in a nutshell, what happened here –

Danny: No. Morris, we have to talk about insurance right now.

Morris: [unintelligible 00:32:01]. Well, you two –

Alexander: We’re going to go back to insurance. Thank you for calling.

Lorraine: Thank you so much, Morris. Have a –

Danny: I’m glad that was able to answer your question. Let’s go on to Alex.

Lorraine: Yes. I want to hear about the sewage.

Alexander: [laughs] God.

Lorraine: [laughs]

Danny: You still have, go see, we’re going to –

Alexander: No problem.

Lorraine: Hashtag go see Alex.

Alexander: I’ve never seen somebody so excited about sewage.

Danny: No. See, this is the thing.

Lorraine: Well, you started talking about it. You got me interested.

Danny: She’s getting it all mixed up. It’s go see Alex about insurance, not go see Alex about sewage.

Lorraine: [laughs]

Alexander: Yes.

Danny: She’s going into this thing. All right, Alex. Let’s go talk about sewage.

Lorraine: Let’s talk about sewage.

Alexander: [laughs]

Lorraine: Let’s talk about sewage.

[laughter]

Alexander: I had a interesting client come by the other week. I was interviewing her, getting the timeline of how things happened to her. She explains that she left the house in the morning, set the alarm, came back at night, walked into her house. As she’s approaching towards her master bedroom, she feels like she’s walking on something squishy, sounds of water, something squishy, turns on the lights. Then what she notices is sewage water all over her master bedroom floors, beautiful carpets.

She follows this to figure out what’s going on. There was, apparently, some form of a backup and overflow of sewage. All her toilets in every bathroom is overflowing. Can you imagine what –

Lorraine: No, I can’t.

Alexander: – house is like right now?

Lorraine: What are her duties at that point? What should she do?

Alexander: What would you do? What would you do? You walk home. You’re alone. It’s night. You just turned on the lights. You notice this.

Lorraine: I’d probably call my brother-in-law and ask him.

Alexander: [laughs]

Alexander: You’d probably call somebody.

Lorraine: Yes. I’d call someone who cares. You’d have to call somebody and say, what do you do? Do you turn off the –

Alexander: Who do you even call? Who do you call?

Lorraine: I’d call my brother-in-law and hope that he would know.

Alexander: Your lifeline.

Lorraine: Yes, my lifeline. Then I would hope maybe to turn off a valve or to turn off the water. I’d ask –

Alexander: That would be very smart thinking. That’s exactly what this woman did. Instead of going to panic mode, she just went immediately into action. The first thing she thought of was, “Is there a valve on this toilet. If there is, let me turn it off. Does it work?” She did it. Presumably, it stopped something. Now, she’s running to all the other toilets. Now she’s noticing all her sink is backing up with black water, tub, shower, laundry, you name it. Everything is backing up.

Lorraine: Is this from her turning off the valve or it was already that way?

Alexander: No. This is what’s happening. She turned off only one valve.

Lorraine: Now she’s got to go turn off all of them.

Alexander: She started doing that. Then she figured, “I’d better turn off –

Lorraine: Main water?

Alexander: – the main valve, the main shutoff valve to the house. You’ve got to know where that is, homeowners.

Lorraine: Know where that is, yes.

Alexander: Know where your shutoff valves are. That’s critical.

Lorraine: That’s good.

Alexander: When there is running water, best thing to do is go shut off the valve from the main. Know where that is. I would actually label it so that –

Lorraine: Anybody could find it.

Alexander: – anybody could find it.

Lorraine: Yes, that’s a great idea.

Alexander: She shut that off. Look what she’s doing. Right now, she’s mitigating her damages. That’s one of the duties under the insurance policy that the insurance companies, in writing, in their policy, have stated that, duty to mitigate damages to prevent further damage. It’s understandable.

Lorraine: Did she find it?

Alexander: She found the main, turned it off.

Lorraine: Okay, good.

Alexander: Then she’s like, “My God, there’s all this dirty water.” What is she going to do? She started taking out all her towels.

Lorraine: Towels, that’s what I would do, start sopping it up.

Alexander: Sopping it up, all the towels, all the sheets.

Lorraine: Everything you can find, paper towels, regular towels, everything, yes.

Alexander: Whatever that soaks up this water, and she cleaned it up herself. By the way, I would never do that. I would have called the professional.

Lorraine: Yes.

Alexander: Soaked all that up, put it into the corner and put it into the garbage. You’re not going to be able to reuse these –

Lorraine: She didn’t just leave it.

Alexander: No, she cleaned it up.

Lorraine: My gosh. Yes, I wouldn’t do that. I would have just laid it all down.

Alexander: She cleaned it up. This is all that’s happening right now. Floors are damaged, obviously. They’re all wet. Walls are wet. Baseboards are wet. You name it. Then she, apparently, calls an attorney who refers that case over to us. We take a look at this. We immediately launch our own investigation. I want to know what happened, “Do you have any photos?” No. She didn’t take any photos. Look, it’s not mandatory under an insurance policy to take photos.

Insurance companies routinely ask you this. If you take photos, it’s like, “Well, you had time to take photos. What were you doing taking photos?” [chuckles]

Lorraine: It’s a catch-22. [laughs]

Alexander: Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

Lorraine: Yes, exactly.

Alexander: You can’t do that. I always say document it. Don’t be shy. When you see something like this going on, document it. No one’s going to fault you. The chances are that you’ll have some critical pictures that are going to be essential. The evidence that was there that is no longer there, black water sewage. She cleaned it up.

Lorraine: My gosh.

Alexander: You know what I’m saying?

Lorraine: Yes.

Alexander: Forensically, you have to figure this out.

Lorraine: Right. She threw everything away.

Alexander: She threw everything away.

Lorraine: All that’s gone, –

Alexander: Everything is gone, –

Lorraine: – towels, sheets.

Alexander: – anything you can imagine. In fact, she had called a plumber. She also called a plumber. Plumber came and said, “This is not my job. You have to call a sewage company.” There are sewage companies out there that specifically deal with this type of pipe burst. They have to do a lot of excavation. All sewage pipes are underground. They have to excavate her –

Lorraine: That’s all contaminated.

Alexander: It’s contaminated. It still has to be cleaned. You still need an environmentalist. We’re not even done yet. We’re just, right now, repairing the pipes to prevent it from happening anymore.

Lorraine: Wow.

Alexander: Imagine this, the water is shut off. As of that date, that house is not fit to live in. There is no water.

Lorraine: She can’t use the restroom, wash her face, wash her hands, take a shower. It’s done.

Alexander: Done. From that day, once you report this claim to the insurance carrier, and if you’re out of the house incurring an expense, that expense is reimbursable back to you. This what’s called an additional living expense.

Lorraine: She’s got to go find another place to live.

Alexander: Well, for now,-

Lorraine: They have to pay for it –

Alexander: Correct.

Lorraine: – until they get her house in working condition. She can live in it. She can have the running water and do all of that.

Alexander: Correct. There’s a lot of things happening. Right now, all she’s doing is just not thinking about insurance. That’s not what’s on the top of the homeowner’s mind at this time. All they’re doing is they’re in triage mode, fixing, repairing, calling plumbers, figuring things out. The very first thing that goes through your mind is, how’s the insurance going to cover this? You know what I’m saying?

Lorraine: Yes.

Alexander: This is when you start getting into action, start figuring things out and strategizing, calling your plumbers, figuring out what needs to be done. We can talk more about that in the next segment of the show.

Lorraine: Wow, we’re keeping the sewage thing out.

[laughter]

Alexander: There’s so much going in that claim. I think that the audience would be — because we’re walking through a case together right now. Okay? I’m giving you pointers and things that need to be done.

Lorraine: Yes, this is great information for any homeowner listening.

Alexander: 100%.

Lorraine: Absolutely. We’re going to take a quick break, when we come back, we’ll continue our conversation about insurance claims and bad faith with our guest, lawyer Alex Cohen. If you have any questions, go ahead and give us a call. 800-222-5222. You’re listening to the ACTS Law Hour with Danny Abir and me, Lorraine Ladd on Talk Radio 790KABC.

[music]

Announcer: Welcome back to the ACTS Law Hour. Helping you stop insurance company abuse at 800-222-5222.

Lorraine: This is Talk Radio 790KABC, welcome back to the ACTS Law Hour, heard every Saturday at noon providing you with solid information from our good friends at ACTS Law Firm. That’s A-C-T-S Law. Find them at actslaw.com. If you have any questions, you’re looking for any advice, go ahead and give us the call right now. 800-222-5222. I’m Lorraine Ladd along with the host, Danny Abir, and we have our guest host today, our guest lawyer, Alex Cohen. Just one more time, let’s wish the veterans a very happy Veterans Day. The service they do, they are our true, true heroes.

Danny: Absolutely.

Alexander: Completely. Thank God for the veterans of our forces. They’re amazing.

Lorraine: Protect and serve, that’s what they do.

Alexander: Protect and serve, and that’s what they do and makes us sleep much more comfortable at night. I love you guys, I appreciate everything that you guys do.

Lorraine: You made me happy today. I get a million e-mails, but all these different e-mails I got today, if you’re a veteran, a free lunch here, if you’re a veteran, a free meal here, if you are a veteran, a free drink. I’m not a veteran, but I was getting all these like and was like that’s really great that that’s what they’re doing for the veterans today. Hats off to everyone who’s chipping in for them because they do deserve it.

Danny: Without a question.

Alexander: Without a question.

Danny: The other thing I want to do is I want to have everybody who’s listening to this show and uses Twitter to hashtag go see Alex [inaudible 00:44:39] some of the people. Because you know you can keep counting on me.

Lorraine: Yes.

Danny: I’m curious to see how many people will actually hash let’s go see Alex.

Alexander: Okay.

Lorraine: There you go. Your hashtagging.

Danny: Competition is on. It is good.

Lorraine: If we could only get Jimmy Fallon or one of them didn’t hashtag it, we’d be in.

Alexander: Golden.

Lorraine: I know. Okay, we were talking before the break about sewage.

Alexander: Well, we were talking about what homeowners need to do. Okay? Mitigation of damages is one of the primary items that is listed in the insurance policies that you need to abide by. Okay? The question is, what is mitigation of damages? To every person is different. Whatever you understand is the best thing to do, do that. In this particular situation, we’re talking about the sewage overflow. She thought about turning off the valve –

Lorraine: Which was smart.

Alexander: – which was smart, and then also turning off the main, which was also smart.

Lorraine: Which we talked about making sure you know where the main valve is in your house.

Alexander: Completely. What she didn’t do and she’s not required to do, but I always encourage it, when a catastrophe occurs, you guys have to start creating a diary.

Lorraine: Okay. Does that include pictures always?

Alexander: If you can take pictures and videos, don’t be shy. Take your pictures, take your videos, document the loss. No one is going to fault you for documenting the loss. In fact, it’s going to help expedite the moving of your case forward. No one can say that this didn’t happen. In our particular situation here, client took all her fancy towels and sheets, okay? By the way, those are recoverable because those are considered total losses and it’s not just what you used. Let’s say you used a sheet to throw over this sewage and the sheet now you got to throw it away. If it’s part of the set, my argument is, they owe for the entire.

Lorraine: That makes sense. The [unintelligible 00:46:38] the whole thing. Right.

Alexander: Because now it ruins the set, you don’t have a full set anymore. Yes, there is direct physical damage even though there isn’t direct physical damage to the other items but it ruins the set. You’ve got to pay for that. You’ve got to start documenting things like that what you used, who you spoke to, who you called. All these particular information is going to be necessary. In our particular situation, the insurance company wanted a recorded statement of everything that happened in this case. Who she — they requested phone records, everything.

Lorraine: Wow, it just seems she called immediately something happened.

Alexander: Who did she call? She had called using her cell phone, that means the identity of the callers will appear. That means they had questions about something because when they arrived to investigate the loss, there was nothing there. Okay? But as part of the investigation that my office had launched, we immediately hired a hygienist to come and take swab samples because she had cleaned it up. You can’t get everything, so we took swab samples of areas that were affected. Sure enough, they came back with equal lie, with bacteria, with all sorts of sewage –

Lorraine: That was totally contaminated.

Alexander: It was. We have the evidence because you can’t clean everything.

Lorraine: No, especially –

Alexander: You can do your best, this is a homeowner’s, it is not a professional sewage cleanup company. It is not the way it works. We had the evidence but we asked the insurance company, please go ahead, launch your own investigation. They did and they contacted us and guess what?

Lorraine: Theirs had no contamination.

Alexander: No contamination.

Lorraine: Imagine that.

Danny: Shocking.

Alexander: Shocking. No contamination. Like would you please kindly send me your report so I can see where your hygienist took samples from. We asked you where to take samples from but you didn’t do it. You took it from elsewhere. When you put it side by side and you take a look at the incompetence or lack of investigation that was done, you have to point that out. Okay, we’re forwarding our own evidence saying something doesn’t make sense. Our hygienist say it does. We’re more than welcome to have the hygienists meet. “That won’t be necessary” “Fine” Okay. There is contamination damage. But now guess what, now the insurance company says, “But you waited too long to report this incident.”

Lorraine: Okay, how long is too long?

Alexander: There’s no– look, the sooner you report it the better.

Lorraine: Right, how long did she wait?

Alexander: It took, by the time she hired an attorney and reported this claim, I think it was like 16 to 20 days, something around that ballpark.

Lorraine: That’s not bad.

Alexander: Not bad. That’s within –

Lorraine: That’s within. Yes.

Alexander: It’s more than reasonable. You’ve got to see what she did. You know what I’m saying?

Lorraine: Right.

Danny: We’ve had cases in the office where the person has reported nine months later and is still –

Alexander: Nine months, look, on homeowner claims, okay? Generally speaking, generally speaking, and I’m on every policy is different, but there is a one-year statute of limitation from the day of the occurrence until you have to file suit because it’s a one year statute, it’s contractual.

A lot of people think this kind of claims have a three-year statute of limitation, and they don’t. It is a property damage but because you’re dealing with your own insurance company, it becomes contractual because there’s a policy there. Those policy say there’s only a one year statute of limitation. I’ve had cases where I have reported a claim because the homeowner never knew that something like this would be covered by insurance. In another particular case, there was a roof leak because the homeowner didn’t know.

He heard us on a radio, contacted us and we reported the case 51 weeks after the date of incident. In that case, there was no prejudice. If there is no prejudice to the insurance company, then the late reporting is not an issue. I would say, yes, that was significantly late to report that.

Danny: By the way, we’re not saying you should be filing it late just –

Lorraine: No.

Alexander: No.

Lorraine: As soon as you can.

Alexander: No, it’s not just as soon as you can, it’s, do you have a claim? Have a professional investigate your loss.

Lorraine: Go through the steps.

Alexander: If there is a incident, a catastrophe, fire damage, water damage, sewage backups, plumbing leaks, rain, wind damage, vandalism, and the least goes on, earthquake damage, whatever. If there’s some form of the catastrophe to your property, you first want to have an attorney investigate and determine,, is there coverage? What happened first of all. Within the what happened, is there coverage? You have to analyze and attorney has to analyze the facts, understand it, understand the insurance policies and how that fact relates to whether or not there’s coverage, and also go the distance in determining even if there’s coverage, are there any exclusions to this or any limitations.

There has to be a comprehensive analysis done before you report the claim to an insurance company. That’s my philosophy.

Lorraine: Okay, that makes sense.

Danny: It’s more than just a question of making sure that you presented correctly, it’s also a question of one somebody who’s an expert looks at a claim, they can see whether this is something you should be reporting or not because sometimes a claim may not be worth reporting. That’s one of the things you need to look at. You look at the damage, you look at the fact that whether what your deductible is.

Lorraine: Deductible is.

Danny: Exactly. Based on that, you may not necessarily want to file a claim or get an attorney. But if it doesn’t cost you anything to take a look at it, you’re better off having someone who’s an expert take a look at it, see if this is something that you should be reporting, or even if there’s coverage for it or not because sometimes there isn’t coverage for it and then you’re making a claim and it’s not necessarily going to be a good thing for you.

Alexander: On those cases that are not worth reporting, that means the homeowner has the budget to repair it. You know what I’m saying?

Lorraine: Right.

Alexander: When you do repair whatever it is that you guys repaired, make sure you keep the invoice and the checks, if you pay cash, get the receipt that you did do repairs in a particular incidence so that they don’t come back and say that the insurance company won’t have an excuse, that God forbid, if you have a future loss, they won’t come back and say that these losses were caused by a different incident, that you didn’t let us know –

Lorraine: Document, document, document.

Alexander: Document, document, document.

Lorraine: Yes, keep that file with all that information.

Alexander: Keep that file going, save it.

Lorraine: Right, which makes real sense. That’s for sure.

Danny: Well, we’re going to be off next week.

Lorraine: We are?

Danny: There is going to be a king’s game on the same time. The ACTS Law Hour will be back in two weeks.

Lorraine: Okay, two weeks. That’s right around Thanksgiving, right?

Danny: Exactly. Is the weekend of Thanksgiving, actually. We will look forward to that. We are very thankful for everybody listening to our show today and we hope that it was knowledgeable and we learned something. If there’s any questions, you can always call us at the office.

Lorraine: Exactly. Thanks for joining us today, The ACTS Law Hour. Knowledge is power and power is knowledge. We hope we’ve been empowered you today. Make sure you tune in every Saturday at noon to hear more from our friends At Abir, Cohen, Treyson and Salo. The ACTS Law Hour, that’s A-C-T-S Law.com. Thank you so much to our host, Danny Abir, and to our guest Attorney, GoSeeAlex, hashtag that. From ACTS Law, I’m Lorraine Ladd and have a wonderful weekend. KABC 790.

[music]

[00:55:16] [END OF AUDIO]