Hurricane Laura was a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall with wind speeds of more than 130 MPH.
Millions of property owners have been affected and need help rebuilding in their communities. To protect your rights, you may need to contact an experienced Hurricane Laura lawsuit attorney.
At Pierce Skrabanek, our attorneys know firsthand how challenging it can be to deal with a hurricane insurance company. We can step in and protect your legal rights when your insurance company fails to live up to their promises and policy terms.
Contact us at 832-690-7000 for a free, no-obligation consultation to help determine your next steps for recovery.
One of the main points to understand about hurricane insurance is the difference between windstorm coverage and flood coverage. Most Texas and Louisiana residents will already have windstorm coverage, but a majority of residents don’t have specific flood coverage.
Many homeowners make the wrong assumption that their homeowner’s insurance policy includes flood coverage. However, you are only covered for flood damage if you have purchased a specific policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which works in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
State law covers windstorm damage claims. Under state laws, hurricane victims can recover monetary damages, bad faith insurance costs, attorneys fees, and other expenses. On the other hand, you may face many difficulties if you need recovery but don’t have any flood insurance coverage.
Since flood insurance claims are handled through federal courts, the same types of fees and penalties might not be applicable as they are in windstorm cases. Furthermore, you might experience delays or reduced compensation. In many cases, it may be necessary to reopen a claim, sometimes two or three times.
Under law, insurance companies may be required to pay additional damages and compensation, plus attorneys fees, in the event of undue delays.
As such, you may need to consider hiring a hurricane damage lawyer to ensure that you’re getting the recovery you are entitled to under your policy and under hurricane damage laws.
Fully grasping the distinctions between windstorm and flood claims can be difficult without the help of a lawyer. Moreover, there can be much overlap and “grey area” with the two. An experienced hurricane property damage attorney can assess your situation and determine the ideal course of action.
If you or a loved one have been affected by Hurricane Laura, contact the attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek at 832-690-7000 for legal representation. As Texas residents, we understand how devastating hurricane disasters can be, and will do all we can to see that you are fully compensated.
For more in-depth information, listen to Paul Skrabanek discussing the legal impacts of hurricanes in a Ringler Radio Podcast.
Hurricane damage means big business for insurance companies. Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always on your side when it comes to restoring your property and getting your life back on track promptly and efficiently.
While certain insurance carriers will eventually pay out for full replacement values, the majority of owners will experience delays, denied claims, or underpaid compensation. To illustrate the situation, State Farm received more than 35,000 insurance claim applications in the week following Hurricane Laura.
Under normal, non-catastrophe circumstances, filing a property damage claim is fairly quick and straightforward. However, in the wake of a major crisis like Hurricane Laura, insurance companies could be receiving thousands of calls a day.
To add to the confusion, many insurance companies have an interest in limiting settlement amounts and delaying claims. For instance, they may claim that the damage happened before the hurricane, or that the homeowner somehow contributed to the damage (for instance, by not securing damaged/dangerous property after the storm).
Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
Hurricane insurance adjusters will be bombarded with a heavy workload immediately after a hurricane. They may arrive at the scene from hundreds of miles away, often unfamiliar with the area, and only staying there for weeks at a time. They could be working maybe 16 hour days, 7 days a week.
Due to this immense pressure, adjusters may seek to shuffle through property assessments quickly, and often in a less-than-thorough manner.
On top of this, you will likely have to file the claim on your phone under trying conditions, and will be presented with documents that are hard to read and full of legal language.
These will likely need the review of an attorney, as insurers themselves may not be fully equipped to explain the documents (many of them have the job as a side gig). Many insurance adjusters may be young, and under-educated and inexperienced.
Adjusters also may not be in a position to negotiate with the full leverage that an attorney can, and will often leave large amounts of money on the table for the insured they are supposed to represent.
They usually charge a percentage of the award, which will reduce your overall compensation.
Thus, you should do all you can to ensure that your claim gets a full review and that you fully prepare for the process, so that you don’t miss out on the full compensation. In some cases, you can request an adjuster; if possible, ask for a large loss adjuster. You may also need to hire a lawyer early on.
If you feel that an insurance company has ignored your claim or violated your rights, you may need to file a Hurricane Laura lawsuit for full compensation. A hurricane lawyer can assist you in the process so your rights are protected. There are also several steps you can take to protect yourself.
There are many ways you can prepare for the insurance claims process and increase your chances of obtaining a favorable payout amount. These include:
See our Hurricane Insurance Claim Checklist for convenient reference:
The following are tips to help you when you documenting your property damage in preparation for a claim:
Make sure you remain present and attentive the entire time when the adjuster makes their inspections. Confirm that they conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of your property — after a disaster, insurance adjusters may attempt to speed the process along so they can get to their next inspection. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed through the assessment.
Lastly, be sure you take the inspector throughout the entire property, even in areas that have no apparent damage. Inspectors are trained to locate damage and may detect damage that isn’t apparent to an untrained person.
Hurricanes cause property damage through high winds, flying objects, floodwaters, and other factors. The following are common examples of the type of property damage frequently caused by storms like Hurricane Laura:
Other property and assets not attached to a home can also suffer damage in a hurricane. For instance, automobiles, swimming pools, storage units, and tool sheds can often be completely damaged in a major hurricane.
Be sure also to document additional living expenses (ALE); these can include costs of temporary housing/hotel stays, travel expenses (keep track of your mileage), power generators, rental cars, and other costs.
Homeowner’s insurance should cover these types of damages and losses. However, as mentioned, full compensation may be delayed or affected if you don’t fully document your claim.
If you have experienced delays or underpayment for your Hurricane Laura claim, you may need a qualified attorney on your side. As Texas residents, we have lived through major hurricane events and know firsthand how difficult it can be to start over.
We have experience negotiating and interacting with insurance companies and adjusters, and are here to help answer your questions and explain your rights. Contact us at 832-690-7000 for a free consultation to determine what’s next for you and your family. We are doing all we can to help the community rebuild and recover.
This depends on many factors, including the victim’s individual coverage plan. In most cases, standard homeowner’s insurance won’t cover flood damage, and therefore many residents may be left without coverage in the event of a flood.
Thus, it’s important to enlist the assistance of experienced Hurricane Laura lawsuit attorneys who can assess your claim. Pursuing a flood damage claim will be difficult without the guidance of those who are trained to handle such matters.
Absolutely. As mentioned, adjusters may be in a rush or may skim over the property if they are experiencing a backlog of claims. If you know someone such as an engineer who can speak to the damage of your property (especially water or flood damage), the insurance company is obliged to factor in their feedback. This will typically work in your favor.
If you haven’t already done so, you should file a claim as soon as you are able to. You will be facing important filing deadlines, which can affect your ability to recover compensation.
As mentioned, even when you do submit your claim, you may experience delays, so it’s best not to wait. Before you file, be sure to document the damages as described above.
Experiencing a natural disaster like Hurricane Laura can be traumatizing, and you might not know where to start. Contacting a lawyer early on can help set you on the right path. A qualified Hurricane Laura lawsuit attorney can help you:
At Pierce Skrabanek, we are passionate about helping our fellow local residents put their lives back together after a catastrophic event. We want to make sure our neighbors and communities are fully accounted for.