I have a property damage claim against 3 insurance companies - this is the commercial general liability insurance that the pest control company and fumigation carries (cgl policy). I do not have an attorney. I used to work as a legal secretary and handling this claim by myself. My house has 17 plus (more like 40 but items were group together) areas of infestation/damages. There are many hidden damages that were found. Damages - under carpeting, flooring , under carpeting, and vinyl tiles, wall, fascia board, rafter, window frame, door frames, garage damage, spa damage, electrical outlet - inside termite droppings, 4 kickout holes from termites digging through, etc.
My contractor and his lawyer said that the house needs to get demoed and rebuilt. The termites are also in the walls. I had a pest control company who treated my home from 1999 to 2007 and got comfortable and neglected my home and 2007, I called another termite company who told me that I was infested. I had my house fumigated and the fumigation failed. The infestation continuing to this date. I was going to do another fumigation and right now, it is on hold if the house will get torn and rebuilt. I will treat the soil before building.
The insurance companies are very concerned and are almost ready to settle upon presentation of the claim, because they are worried about a lawsuit. I have tremendous emotional distress. I was advised that they have to pay for relocation - moving, storage expenses, demo and rebuild.
In 2008, I got paid $1,500 from pest control company and used that money to fumigate my home and paid for the hotel. I signed a regular letterhead letter that I am releasing them from any further obligation, but I have not signed the General Release with CCP Section 1542. It is my understanding the letter is not valid and I did not sign away the unknown. The insurance company assured that they will resolve the matter. Please let me know your thoughts what are full liabilities here that I should be seeking.
In addition, if I rebuild, I will lose the low tax privilege from the 70's of Proposition 13 and it could spell a financial disaster for me. Instead of paying $2,148 per year prop. tax, this could go as high as $7,500 and I cannot afford this. I am retired due to my medical conditions. I do very little on a daily basis due to the pain that I have in my back and other conditions.
I have not hired a lawyer and I told the adjuster that I am trying to resolve this matter without involvement of an attorney that I believe will settle.
Thank you. Look forward to your advice.