If you’re in a difficult financial position, the insurance company will use it as motive.
It’s bad enough when your house is destroyed by fire, but the situation can get much worse if the insurance company accuses you of arson. There is no denying these things happen, but you need to know that insurance adjusters often float around arson accusations as an intimidation strategy. When you hear an insurance guy voicing arson suspicions, it’s a clear sign they’re about to reject your claim or force you into accepting a settlement way below your actual damages. Worst case scenario, they may accuse you of arson fraud, which is a serious crime.
There’s no time to waste. Reach out to a seasoned Florida fire damage claims lawyer as soon as they start suggesting you set the house on fire on purpose.
How is arson proved in Florida?
If you know you’ve done nothing wrong, you should presume they’re just trying to scare you. It often works as no one wants to risk criminal charges. Rather than face a trial, some just give up and accept whatever money the insurance company offers them.
You shouldn’t do that. You need to understand that such accusations don’t work on the adjuster’s say-so. To reject your claim, the insurance company needs to prove it was arson.
They’ll need to establish:
Cause of fire
Arson means that the fire was “incendiary”. You’ll say that it was an electrical problem that led to the fire, but they’ll have to prove that it was deliberate. This can be quite difficult as a huge fire will destroy most of the house, including the so-called evidence the insurer needs. To prove it was deliberate fire, they’ll have to show accelerants were used or at least there was a foreign object that caused the fire. Your lawyers may be able to help you by bringing in independent fire experts to look over the facts.
If you’re in a difficult financial position, the insurance company will use it as motive. You needed money so you set fire to the house to collect insurance money. They will investigate your credit record, mortgage, and any other financial problem to show you had every reason to commit arson fraud.
This is hard to defend. Since you lived in the house, you had every opportunity to set a fire. Even if you can convincingly claim you didn’t have such an opportunity, they can argue you got someone else to set the house on fire.
A knowledgeable Florida insurance claims lawyer can easily tell you if they’re really going to accuse you of arson fraud or if they’re just bluffing. Your attorney will examine the firefighters’ report on the case to see if there’s even a shred of evidence against you.
However, you need to be extremely careful in such a situation. Arson fraud is a second-degree felony, and it carries a sentence between 2 to 20 years in prison. If someone is injured or killed as a result of the fire, you risk being charged with a first-degree felony.