Heavy equipment crashes into a South Florida home, leaving behind a massive amount of damage, but the homeowner says so far his insurance company hasn’t come up with enough cash for all the necessary repairs. 7’s Kevin Ozebek investigates.
This mess to David Strickland’s home did not come from a hurricane or a storm.
David Strickland: “It was just human error.”
In October of last year, workers were here outside David’s Southwest Miami-Dade home. They were installing a concrete utility pole across the street.
David Strickland: “They lifted up off of the flatbed, stood it up straight and they had to lift it over the first two wires here.”
After the pole is raised upright, it swings into David’s yard and falls to the ground. It took out this fence — splashing rust and water everywhere. It landed just feet from David’s house.
The hoist holding up the pole crashed into the roof.
David Strickland: “And then broke the outer a-frame of the roof.”
David is not angry with the company that caused the accident. He is actually frustrated at how long it’s taking to get everything repaired.
David Strickland: “So I don’t understand why the insurance is falling short. We went through the insurance so they would handle the other company so I didn’t have to do that.”
David made two calls after the accident. One was to his insurance company, State Farm, the second was to a lawyer.
David Strickland: “To find out, you know, to help me get through this.”
David’s lawyer sent out a public adjuster in November. His estimate says it would cost $57,189.46 to get the house back to normal.
State Farm sent out its own adjuster. It’s estimate was much lower at $15,882.50.
Aryeh Fraser, public adjuster: “It reflects literally less than a third of what his construction project is going to cost.”
We showed the estimates to Aryeh Fraser, a public adjuster not connected to David’s case. He says each claim roughly 30% of the roof was damaged.
State Farm’s estimate recommends the damaged area be repaired.
Fraser says when at least 25% of a roof is damaged, Florida building code requires it to be replaced.
Aryeh Fraser: “The adjuster should have written up the entire roof just for the fact that he’s estimating, in his own estimate, a third of the roof, which is more than 25%.”
So far, David has not convinced his insurance company to go with the higher estimate.
We reached out to State Farm. While they tell us they cannot speak about David’s case specifically, they “…are always open to review and consider any additional information they have to help us reevaluate our claims decision.”
Aryeh Fraser: “There’s a process called in the State Farm policy’s called appraisal, which is essentially an alternative dispute resolution mechanism of arbitration.”
But until that happens, David has to live with the damage.
David Strickland: “The leaks are coming in right here through this light.”
With South Florida only at the beginning of hurricane season, David is nervous that a storm of trouble could be ahead.
Kevin Ozebek, 7News.