Legal Question in Environmental Law in New Jersey

Has anyone seen State Farm pay for first party in a Pollution Claim

I had an underground oil storage tank which rotted an caused a leak into groundwater. The groundwater was coverd after Months of waiting for an approval. It seems my Claims adjuster took 3 weeks vacation and then left it on her desk. She also held it months to approve it. We started last May and we still are not done.Now we are in the restoration stage and because there was groundwater pollution under the deck, we had to take the deck out. State Farm will give us no compensation at all for this, yet its a mess where the deck was and someone could fall. It's also 5 feet from my patio door to the ground, and 5 feet from my Gazebo to the ground, because the deck was removed. This adjuster has been arrogant in every way and told me it was okay for me to get a headache when I was waiting for the oil to be taken from under the house. I have suffered some health issues from this.

Has State Farm ever covered for Deck or Patio restoration? I know Chub has. I am not asking for an expensive one, just one to replace the dangerous space that's there. Someone could fall, the way it is.I am afraid to even say anything to her because she seems to slow down things everytime I complain.

Asked on 4/05/05, 10:39 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC

Re: Has anyone seen State Farm pay for first party in a Pollution Claim

The first place to look for any insurance policy dispute is the policy. Be sure that you understand the obligations of the insurer before you push too hard.

I am surprised that the insurer has gone as far as it has. About ten years ago, most insurers stopped writing coverage for damage caused by pollution from underground petroleum storage tanks. If your carrier is covering this exposure, they are protecting you against the cleanup costs and the administrative costs that would have been charged to you by the State of New Jersey. In that regard, you are one of the very lucky people that still have such coverage.

If you have pollution coverage, you can push the other issues. If there is doubt about the coverage, tread lightly.

In any case, your casualty policy does not protect you against personal injury that you might sustain. Your headaches, etc. are not covered.

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Answered on 4/05/05, 9:50 pm

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