Protecting Your Rights In Property Damage Litigation
Natural disasters such as hurricanes, severe storms, tornadoes and fires can cause incredible devastation and damage to homes and other property. Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny property damage claims or make low offers that will not cover all of the damage.
At Bruno & Bruno, our lawyers have more than six decades of experience representing clients throughout Louisiana in complex insurance litigation. With an office in New Orleans to serve the South Shore and Covington to serve the North Shore, we are committed to helping our clients obtain maximum compensation for damage suffered in a natural disaster.
Hurricane and wind claims: We continue to represent many clients who are still battling outstanding Katrina insurance claims and maintain a fully staffed division to serve these clients. As a result of this hard work, our clients are being paid far more than they were originally offered by their insurance companies.
We are also actively pursuing recovery for clients whose homes were damaged during hurricanes such as Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As we saw after Katrina, sophisticated insurance companies seek to deny or “lowball” these claims. We use state-of-the-art computer software that regularly assesses the regional pricing for labor and materials, allowing us to obtain the maximum insurance recovery for our clients.
Whether your property was damaged in a hurricane or other storm causing high winds, you can rely on our attorneys for zealous advocacy.
Fire claims: Fire, even if it is a wildfire 25 miles from your home, can cause extensive damage to your property. Insurance adjusters do not always see the full extent of the damage and will try to minimize your claim to save the insurance company’s money. Additionally, insurance companies may claim that you started the fire to get the insurance money. Our New Orleans insurance litigation lawyers will protect your rights in fire claims and help ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Frequently Asked Questions About Insurance Litigation
I returned and found my home damaged by a storm. What steps do I take?
First, call your insurance company and make a claim. Be sure you note your claim number, as it will become the number you refer to throughout the claims process. Second, document all damages to your home or business by taking the following steps:
- Take photographs of all damaged property.
- Make a list of all contents damaged; your insurer will request this as part of the claims process.
- Save all receipts relating to repairs to your home or business.
- Save all your receipts relating to an evacuation (if applicable in your situation), including food, gas, medical and lodging expenses.
My insurer has sent an adjuster to my home or business, and I have just received its damage report. Could you explain the different coverages?
Insurance policies differ from policy to policy and person to person. In a typical homeowners insurance policy, you can expect to see several coverage types that include the following general categories. (Please be aware that your coverage is determined by your specific policy, and all items below MAY NOT be included in the coverage provided by your policy.)
- Structure: This includes the structure of your home and typically covers things such as your walls, floors, cabinets and roof.
- Other structures: This includes structures not attached to your house. It may or may not include your detached garage or carport and outside home improvements, fences and sheds.
- Contents: This portion of your policy covers personal property contained within your home. Some examples would include furniture, clothing, electronics and jewelry.
- Additional living/extra expenses: This covers expenses you incur from being away from your home. It includes necessary and reasonable costs of temporary lodging, transportation costs, fuel and meals.
- Loss of rent: This coverage is found most often in specific policies held by landlords. It covers what a landlord could have been expected to capture in rent had the covered loss not occurred.
- Other coverages: There may be provisions for other coverage such as food spoilage, debris removal and code upgrades.
- Typical commercial policies may also include some of the above in addition to coverage specific to the business. These could include, for example:
- Business interruption: This generally covers the income (less expenses) the business would have generated had the covered loss not occurred.
- Data recovery: This typically includes the costs to re-create or rebuild data lost due to a covered event.
My insurance company offered me a supplemental payment for my damages. Can I accept the payment and still file suit if I do not agree with the company’s estimate?
In most cases, yes, the insurance carrier is required to pay you the amount it determines is due to you. You should not have to sign a release to accept this payment. You may cash the payment provided to you by the insurance company, and if you are still not satisfied with the amount paid, you may claim more.
If you are asked to sign a release, however, you should not do so without consulting an attorney. Also, carefully read the check given to you by your insurance carrier. If it contains language such as “Full and Final Payment,” you should consult with an attorney before cashing it.
Contact Bruno & Bruno ∙ Free Initial Consultations
The experienced attorneys of Bruno & Bruno will work diligently to help you obtain the compensation you deserve following a natural disaster. Call 504-525-1335 (800-966-1335 toll free), or contact us online to discuss your case with one of our lawyers. Our offices are conveniently located in New Orleans and Covington.