Oklahoma fire claims increase during the winter months. Trapped inside, people use friendly fire as a source of heat. Candles are lit for the holidays for atmosphere. Oklahomans enjoy the warmth of a fireplace on a cold day. The fires are all intentionally lit. A sometimes unexpected cause of fire is the common clothes dryer.
The U.S. Fire Administration says:
- 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 Million in property loss.
- The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them (34 percent).
- More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.
The staggering amount of physical property damage, $35 Million, also impacts Oklahoma insurance companies. It means insurance adjusters are busy investigating fire claims in the winter months. As seasoned adjusters know, determining the cause of the fire is merely the first step. The process of estimating the repairs to the home takes time. The preparation of the inventory of the furniture, clothes, household goods, and contents can be a chore. The average Oklahoma homeowner doesn’t have a prepared inventory of all the things in the house. Remembering what they did own isn’t always easy. Adjusters are kept busy.
Fires from clothes dryers tend to occur more often in the winter:
Lint, consisting mostly of small fibers from the clothes and debris in or on the clothes, is created from the clothes as the clothes tumble in the drum. While much of the lint is trapped by the dryer’s filter, lint is also carried through the vent system along with moist air. Lint is a highly combustible material that can accumulate both in the dryer and in the dryer vent. Accumulated lint leads to reduced air flow and can pose a potential fire hazard.
Lawsuits over fire claims is a fact of life. Insurers and insureds don’t always agree on the scope of loss, cost of repairs, additional living expense, and the meaning of the words in the insurance policy. Lawyers help interpret the language of the policy. Not all attorneys work in the fire and insurance claim arena. Expertise matters when it comes to reading and understanding an insurance policy. You need experienced counsel to guide you.
Litigation also arises from subrogation or recovery efforts. Smart insurers are going to recover the money paid to the policyholder. Fire claims are expensive. Asking the responsible person to reimburse the insurance company for the loss makes sense. In the case of clothes dryers, the installer may be asked to pay the damages. An installer who negligently sets up the dryer is going to owe the damages.
If you need assistance with a fire, insurance policy interpretation, bad faith claim, arson investigation, coverage dispute, proof of loss issue, examination under oath, or subrogation, give us a call (918) 587-1525. We handle fire losses in Muskogee, Bartlesville, Claremore, Bristow, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton, and work the entire State. We would like the opportunity to help you!