You should proceed with preparation much as you would if you are accustomed to hurricane warnings- more preparation is always better than less. Preparation plans should not only cover measures to physically secure your property, but should also ensure that you preserve any information that might be used in a future claim. Some steps for preparing include:
- Creating records of losses due to damage, such as property damage, lost wages/profits, and any injuries incurred. These might include account records, wage stubs, and medical records. Make copies of them and secure them in a safe area.
- Taking pictures of your property, as well as video records if needed. Take them both before and after damage has occurred. Pictures speak a thousand words, and can be very useful when bringing an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
- Making detailed reports of any incidents related to the oil spill, such as a dispute or conflict. Be sure to obtain important information regarding any parties involved, such as names, addresses, dates, and contact information of witnesses. Be wary of any false or fraudulent claims and misrepresentations.
- Designating a reliable contact person if in case you will be leaving your condo due to travels or out-of-town engagements. Update with them while you are absent and keep their contact information handy during your travels.
In emergencies such as the Gulf oil spill, it is often desirable and even recommended that you work with professionals who are experts in environmental and coastal issues. They can help you by making accurate reports of any damage to your beachfront property, and they can also guide you in taking future precautions. As with any professional service, make sure you verify the history and credentials of any professionals you hire.
You may also wish to enlist the services of a lawyer in the event that you need to file a legal claim. The laws and legal procedures surrounding beach and coastal property can get quite involved, but fortunately there are many real estate lawyers in the Ft. Lauderdale area who are specialists in these matters. It is advantageous to contact one early so that you can be well-prepared.