Tree Down

Tree Damage - Catastrophic Claim 

We had been remodeling for a few years. We stayed up until 2am to finish the last of the living room before I left for the drive to New York to see Bethel and a few other places.  My daughter was concerned I would be too tired for the drive, so I assured her I would be going to bed by 7pm.  

The tree branches extended 70 feet in all directions across the front of the home and into and across the driveway on both. It struck and damaged the chimney and destroyed the structure below in both direction - with us inside. 

I had assured my daughter I would be in bed by 7pm to get enough rest for the drive to New York. I was protected from being on the lawn when the tree fell. Thankfully, I ran of time to load my bags in the Navigator. I had all the bags packed and ready to go on the dining room table. I went on to bed.  I had just finished texting my daughter I was in bed and on time. My husband got in bed maybe three minutes and said with a quiet terror, "I think it's happening." And he started to stand up, I rolled over into the floor.   I yelled, "get down." The ceiling hit and wall hit my back before I hit the ground jamming my left hip into the socket. The only thought was, "no fear, it will be quick." No flashes of the past, no images of any kind. Then silence followed by creaking. I screamed for Sean inhaling only God knows what kind of nastiness from the plaster, asbestos and non-asbestos ceiling installation in a 1960s addition.  It was silent. I looked up and could hardly see anything except the wall with the window was pushed partially over.  I was deciding if going out the window would pull the house or tree or both on me. I thought my foot was hitting a tree limb. Later I found out it was ceiling debris hanging from the ceiling with wire mess. Suddenly I heard the pounding on the bed, "Rica. Rica where are you?" I don't remember the jump up. It was like my mind flung my body out of the hiding spot with no actual thought to the movements. I flew over the bed and ran right past him yelling, "where's my pants." The next thing, I was running back toward him in pants saying let's get out of here! He was like, "you are already dressed?" and we started out the door. Two men in a pick-up truck were running up the sidewalk. One yelled, "is anyone else in there." I said, "no" but Sean was. Then they asked, "any pets.?" I said, "no." They said they saw it falling. Everyone thought we would be dead. Sean said, "he said they thought they were coming to get bodies."  I did not realize until the next day I had run barefoot across the broken plaster and landed on broken plaster without a single pause.  This nightmare would replay for years. However, the nightmare would not a singular moment. Instead, it would be nightmare of corporate corruption, contractor neglect, fraud and lies, and nightmares without nightmares.

 As we are beginning the final stage of the repair, I find myself thinking back, thankfully, to the kindness of the Newport News City representatives in every department. To the kind verbal support of the neighbors and offers to assist with water and needs. 

Sadly, the thoughts also return to the urgency felt to escape being trapped with a tree somewhere above my head, the liars and the corrupt contractors and engineers. These negative thoughts will hopefully subside as things get better. But the horrible dealings with crocked insurance contractors and insurance contracted engineers that will lie for their client - - that will not be forgotten.   Thankfully, I took a class to learn how to read Xactimate and a course to become a catastrophic claims adjuster - so I knew I was being treated unfairly, immorally, and unethical on many levels.  Even some of my own contractors I called were not honest - and if you will lie for me or your own profit, you will lie against. I did not want more than brought to "whole" - just the restoration of damages incurred. 

The damages that the insurance company's engineer lied about - they were not opinion. The damage to the rear of the house was identical to the damage to the front with photographs of before and after. It sickens my stomach every time I think about "expert witnesses." We could not have corrupt lawsuits or corrupt insurance company's if it was not for the corrupt "expert witness."  Insurance companies injure their own clients every day with their so-called expert witness--their corrupt doctors that lie about smoking and cancer, water and cancer, injures with car accidents, and damages with insurance claims. 

Rica J. Gilmore, Broker, Realtor® 

  • Virginia License VA #0225235314 
  • Rica Jo Ann Gilmore,​ ​Realtor®​ ​ ​
  • Graduate, REALTOR® Institute
  • ​​Rica Realty​​​ ​​​VA #0225235314​
  • ​Accredited Buyer's Agent
  • ​Seller Representative Specialist​ 
  • ​REALTORS® Commitment to Excellence​
  • ​Military Relocation Professional
  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist®
  • Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource
  • Pricing Strategy Advisor
  • Home Measurement Specialist
  • ​Real Estate Negotiation Expert​
  • ​Certified Team Specialist​

Rica Jo Ann Gilmore, Broker  Realtor®144 Shoe Lane, Newport News, VA 23606 1-757-932-7422  

North Carolina License NC 305512:  Rica J. Gilmore, Broker The Virtual Realty Group - Independent Firm Main office: 8116 Arlington Blvd, Ste 115, Falls Church, VA 22042 Telephone 1-888-407-2410 

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