In the video: rain in Kinneret, snow in Hermon (Vard Manor, Walla system!)
The storm Barbara that arrived in Israel this morning is starting to show its signs.
Trees fall, buildings are damaged and property is destroyed.
What are the rights of the insured?
And in which situations the policy can be exercised.
And what about the employees who did not come to the workplace today?
The streets of Israel are flooded.
What does this mean for you? (Photo: ShutterStock)
Through attorney Assaf Varsha - co-chairman of the tort forum, expert in insurance law and attorney Shlomo Yaakovovich, expert in labor law, we answer the essential and frequent questions on the subject.
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How should I act after I have suffered damage?
The damages caused by the floods must be documented immediately.
Procrastination in the photo shoot may damage the insured's chances of receiving maximum compensation.
This is true both for damage to the building, and for damage to the vehicle or any other damaged property.
In the next step, or at the same time - the insurance company must be immediately notified of the occurrence of the damage.
Is rain damage covered by the apartment policy?
The language of the standard policy for apartment insurance that is marketed to the insured public, the clauses of which were determined by the insurance supervisor, states that in the event of water infiltration through the walls or through the ceiling and being absorbed by them - the insured is not entitled to financial compensation.
On the other hand, damages caused by rain and hail during a storm are covered.
If the apartment was flooded as a result of the storm, this is an event that is covered by the policy.
This is also the case if, for example, a tree planted in the yard fell and caused damage.
Along with this, it is important to remember that damages caused to fences and gates are not covered under the policy, unless it says otherwise.
The determination of whether it is a storm is made based on the decision of the meteorological service, by measuring the strength of the winds using the "Booper" scale, which rates the strength of the winds.
Level seven to nine constitute storm situations that, according to them, the insurance company will act to compensate the injured.
My business was flooded.
What are my rights?
Insureds who insured the building and its contents and purchased natural damage coverage are covered.
Insureds who purchased coverage for the structure and contents and did not purchase the coverage for natural damage, are not covered.
Alongside this, the business owners have the right to sue the municipality for negligence.
In which cases are the local authorities responsible for the damage as a result of the storm?
In the event that the apartment was flooded due to a failure of the sewage system, it can be argued that the damage was caused by the negligence of the local authority and demand that the owner of the property be returned the amount of money he paid for the repair.
In such a case, the insured must hire an appraiser on his behalf.
There is a difference between the negligence of the local authority and flooding in your home (Photo: Uri Sela)
One of the frequent claims of the local authorities is that the damage was caused by force majeure, which could not have been foreseen, however, in a series of court rulings it was determined that it is sufficient to know that there is a chance that damage will be caused, in order for it to be required to act in order to prevent it.
This is also the case in cases of damage caused to property as a result of falling trees planted in the local authority's territory.
She must maintain them and prune their branches in such a way as to prevent damage in the event of a storm.
My car was flooded.
How should I act?
A car owner who has comprehensive insurance is entitled to contact the insurance company that insures him.
If it is proven that the flooding was caused by the negligence of a local authority, he can file a claim against it for the full amount of the damage, or alternatively exercise his right to sue his insurer and then file a claim against the authority solely for the losses he incurred.
That is, the deductible he paid her and the loss he incurred as a result of the policy becoming more expensive.
On the other hand, an insured who voluntarily took a risk and for example went to the desert to watch flowing streams and his car was damaged during a flood, may encounter a problem, since the insurer can claim that this is damage that could have been prevented.
How to act in case you have to sue the insurance company?
Immediately after it becomes clear to the insured that damage has occurred, he must inform the insurance company or the agent without delay.
This, in order to prevent the possibility of the insurer claiming that an earlier report could have helped it reduce the scope of the damage.
As a general rule, it should be remembered that the insured has the duty to reduce his damages as much as possible.
This means that, for example, in the event of a flood, he must hurry and move any object that can be damaged and not avoid it thinking that "someone fixed me up".
Adv. Assaf Varsha (Photo: Shahar Kaleb)
Many times disputes arise between the insured and the insurance company, usually regarding the amount of the damage and even its occurrence.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to document all damages, as long as they are "fresh".
And it is very important not to throw any item that is damaged in the trash, because what is thrown away and not documented - no compensation will be given for it.
The insurance company usually sends an appraiser who assesses the amount of the damage, but if the insured disputes his determinations, he has the right to hire an appraiser on his behalf to prepare a counter-appraisal.
Can someone who experiences a prolonged power outage sue the electric company for the damages they suffered?
The answer lies in the length of time the break lasted.
In the case of a period of many hours during which the electricity did not flow, it can be argued that this is unreasonable conduct on the part of the electricity company, which is grounds for filing a claim for damages.
The address for filing the lawsuit will usually be the small claims court, but it should be remembered that there is a claim amount limit of NIS 33,800.
Above this amount, the address for filing the claim is the Magistrate's Court.
One way or another, he must attach to the statement of claim all the references that testify to the damage caused to him, preferably with an appraiser's report.
Can a business whose activity was damaged as a result of the power outages sue the electric company?
It is the duty of the electric company to act reasonably and to do everything in its power to prevent malfunctions, but in contrast to this, there is also the duty of the business owner to conduct himself reasonably.
When it comes to a restaurant or event hall, the business owner can and should expect that a malfunction of this type will harm his ability to maintain normal operations in the business.
Therefore, should it be proven that he did not take care ahead of time of an alternative such as an emergency generator, it is not impossible that the court will determine that this is a non-negligible degree of contributory negligence - a determination that will reduce the amount of compensation he will receive, if any.
Attorney Shlomo Yaakovovich (Photo: Mor Badihi)
There are quite a few rulings in which it is determined that the business must expect that in times of stormy weather, there may be power outages and must prepare for this.
Therefore, it is quite possible that the court that hears the claim will reject it or determine a rate of significant contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.
One way or another, the claimant has to lift the burden of proof and prove that there is a direct and causal connection between the malfunction and the breakdown and the power outage.
There were quite a few lawsuits that were rejected by the court after the business owner failed to fight off the electric company's claim that the damage was caused by a technical defect in the device itself.
I was absent from my workplace due to the storm.
Is the employer allowed to cut the rest of the vacation days accrued to my credit because of this?
An employer is not required to pay an employee wages for work days he missed due to extreme weather conditions, nor is he required to deduct them from the quota of accrued vacation days.
From the employee's point of view, in many cases it is better for him that the vacation days quota will be affected and not his salary.
This is different when it comes to absence due to illness, then the employee is required to provide the employer with a sick certificate that will entitle him to receive sick pay regardless of the weather.
With regard to an employee's absence from work due to a child's illness on a day of bad weather - his law is the same as an employee who is absent due to a child's illness on any other day and is entitled to payment for this if he complies with the rules set forth in the Sick Pay Law (absence due to a child's illness).
Due to the weather conditions, the employer took the employees on vacation.
Is he allowed to do so?
The employer has the option to shut down the business and take his employees on vacation, but this is conditional on giving notice of this - a day before taking them out.
One way or another, the maximum period of time for taking employees on vacation cannot exceed 7 days.
What about a work day that is cut short due to the weather?
Am I entitled to receive the full salary for my work?
The employee's arrival at the workplace means that it was correct to do it during the whole day.
He should not be harmed as a result of the employer's decision to send the workers home.
On the other hand, in many cases the weather causes workers to be late to the workplace.
In such a situation, the employer may not pay the employee wages for the time he was late to work.