Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

What to Do If Your Flood Damage Was Denied by Insurance in Lake Charles

| Read Time: 2 minutes

Most people mistakenly believe that their homeowners insurance policy includes flood damage caused by natural disasters, leaks, and pipe damage. However, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Most insurance companies require homeowners to take out a separate flood insurance policy in addition to their homeowners insurance policy.  Careful review of your flood insurance policy and homeowners insurance policy lessens risk of surprise in an already difficult time in your life. However, if your flood damage was denied by your insurance, contact the lawyers at The Johns Law Firm to review your appeal options.  How Do I Appeal a Flood Insurance Policy? If your insurance policy denied your flood claim, you might consider appealing. If the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP) covers your policy, you may file an appeal directly through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On appeal, FEMA works with you and your insurance company, to gather facts regarding your claim, review the policy, and provide a claim decision.  Filing an appeal with FEMA requires no fee. However, you must file your appeal within 60 days of the date of your insurer’s denial letter.  If your flood damage was denied by insurance, FEMA encourages you to work out your dispute with your insurer first.  If a private insurance company denied your flood insurance claim, you must appeal directly to your insurance company.  What Doesn’t Flood Insurance Cover? Even if you do not live in a flood-prone area, you may consider purchasing flood insurance for your home. Many homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The following are typically covered by flood insurance within the NFIP: Essential systems in the home, including electrical, plumbing, furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps, and sump pumps; Cisterns, fuel tanks, solar energy equipment, water tanks, and pumps; Home appliances including refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, and freezers; Carpeting and window coverings in the home; Permanent bookshelves, cabinets, and paneling; Foundation walls and staircases; A detached garage; Personal property like clothing; and Certain personal valuables. Despite this list, if you opt for coverage through a private insurance company, you should review a potential flood insurance policy carefully for coverage information.  What Is Not Covered by Flood Insurance?  According to the NFIP, the following instances of damages generally fall outside flood insurance coverage:  Moisture or mildew that is avoidable by the homeowner; Currency, precious metals, and paper valuables, like stock certificates; Outdoor property such as decks, fences, patios, landscaping, wells and septic systems, hot tubs, and swimming pools; Living expenses like temporary housing if you are displaced; and Cars, boats, and similar vehicles.  If you have flood insurance through a private insurer, contact them to determine exclusions under your policy.  What to Do If You Were Affected by Hurricane Laura Despite hurricanes occurring every year in Louisiana and Texas, the devastation they continue to cause never ceases. Hurricane Laura barreled through Louisiana and Texas, causing widespread destruction to everything in its path. If you’ve suffered flood damage due to Hurricane Laura, contact the hurricane claim lawyers at The Johns Law Firm. We have decades of experience representing clients. We understand the devastation and heartache you feel. Your case is essential, and our attorneys are here to take action on your behalf. 

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

Lake Charles Family Begins Rebuilding Home After Hurricanes Laura and Delta

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Lake Charles, LA (Oct. 15, 2020) – A family is rebuilding their southern Louisiana home after it sustained severe damage from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta. The house was previously rebuilt in 2017 due to flooding brought by Hurricane Harvey. The Walker family home stands near the Black Bayou in Lake Charles. The family had to gut their house and replace the bottom half of every wall after Hurricane Harvey. This year, the house sustained structural damage from Hurricane Laura and endured severe flooding after Hurricane Delta made landfall. The house’s damage from these hurricanes was more critical than in 2017, so the entirety of the walls and the roof will be demolished and replaced this time. As they tear their walls down again, the Walkers said they are finding scripture lines that they wrote on the wooden structural beams in 2017. They said these passages are helping them persevere through this uncertain time. Source: KPLC TV Contact an Experienced Insurance Attorney Today Unfortunately, hurricanes happen far too often in Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, we understand the devastating impacts these hurricanes have on local families. If your property is damaged in a hurricane, and your insurance company denies your claim, contact one of our Houston or New Orleans insurance attorneys at 866-762-0302 to set up a free consultation. We have experience in hurricane-related insurance and property claims and can help you receive the compensation you need to rebuild your home.

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

FEMA Provides Guidance on Assistance Capabilities After Hurricane Delta

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Alexandria, LA (Oct. 15, 2020) – FEMA continues to provide guidance for individuals seeking assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta. A local news station incorrectly shared that FEMA can reimburse hurricane victims for gas used to power generators or for transportation. The organization clarified that it cannot compensate individuals for these expenses, and survivors should not take receipts to disaster relief centers. However, FEMA said it can help individuals cover the cost of new generators, chainsaws, carbon monoxide detectors, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers that were purchased due to home damage caused by one or both of the hurricanes. Individuals applying for reimbursements for these purchases should note that: They must be eligible for general FEMA assistance; They must provide proof that they purchased the product after Hurricane Laura made landfall; and FEMA can reimburse individuals up to $449 for generators and $179.99 for chainsaws. FEMA said that its housing assistance program aims to ensure that people have safe, sanitary housing. The program is not an insurance policy that covers extensive property damage. If an individual’s home did not sustain damage affecting its essential living spaces, the individual might not be eligible for FEMA’s housing assistance. FEMA can also help supplement childcare costs if a family lost income due to the hurricanes. FEMA will reimburse eligible families for up to eight weeks of childcare, or $1,500, whichever is a lesser amount. Families can apply for financial assistance through the Other Needs Assistance program. The most common reasons that FEMA denies assistance claims are lack of documentation and lack of serious damage. The organization encourages individuals to appeal their denied application if they can provide additional documentation to substantiate their claims. Individuals wishing to begin the appeals process can call 800-621-3362. Source: KALB Contact an Experienced Hurricane Attorney Today Hurricanes are all too common in states like Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, our attorneys understand the devastating impact these storms can have on families and communities. If your property sustained damage from Hurricane Laura or Hurricane Delta and you are unable to recover the assistance you need, our knowledgeable attorneys might be able to help. We have experience with hurricane-related property and insurance claims. To set up a free consultation, call 866-762-0302.

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Attorney Portrait Information

What Is the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

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The Texas statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of the victim’s death, in most cases. Although the law provides for some limited exceptions to this time limit, you could lose your right to recover compensation if you do not take legal action within a two-year period. To help protect your legal rights and preserve your ability to pursue compensation, talk to one of the compassionate, experienced wrongful death attorneys at the Johns Law Firm for help. How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas? Under the wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas, you have only two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a lawsuit in civil court. Although some exceptions to the statute of limitations do exist, it is in your best interest to move as quickly as possible. An attorney can explain your options and help you determine the best approach for filing your claim. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas? In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, and parents can legally file a wrongful death action. If none of these individuals files a claim within three months of the victim’s passing, the claim can be filed by an executor or personal representative of the victim’s estate.  In some cases, the law may allow other parties to pursue a wrongful death claim. Likewise, the law may preclude some of the otherwise entitled parties from recovering compensation in a Texas wrongful death claim. Talk to an attorney about your potential claim as soon as possible to help protect your right to pursue justice. What Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim? Wrongful death claims seek damages suffered by the victim’s survivors. This could include some or all of the following: Funeral and burial costs; Pain and suffering; Loss of love and companionship; Loss of guidance, advice, and counsel; Loss of life assistance; and Loss of inheritance. Texas also allows entitled parties to recover exemplary damages if the at-fault party acted with gross negligence or if the victim died due to another party’s willful act or omission. Exemplary damages are intended to punish the at-fault party and set an example to deter others. You may also be able to pursue a survival action on behalf of the victim. Whereas wrongful death claims provide compensation for damages suffered by those left behind, a survival action seeks compensation for damages that the victim suffered prior to their death. This could include the cost of medical treatment, lost income, and the victim’s pain and suffering. Your attorney can explain your options for pursuing damages, based on the details of your case. Exceptions to the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Texas law provides several exceptions to the statute of limitations. If any of these exceptions apply in your case, you may have longer than two years to take action. For example, the running of the statute of limitations may be suspended if the defendant (the at-fault party) is temporarily absent from the state of Texas. If the defendant dies, the running of the statute of limitations may be suspended for 12 months from the date of the defendant’s death or until an executor or administrator of the defendant’s estate becomes qualified as the defendant. The running of the statute of limitations is also suspended if the plaintiff is of unsound mind or under the age of 18. If the victim died as a result of a product defect, your time to file may be more limited. In most cases, Texas law prevents lawsuits based on product defects brought more than 15 years after the product was first sold, no matter when the injury or death occurred. However, if the product manufacturer states in writing that the product has a useful safe life of more than 15 years, you may still be able to file a claim. Talk to a Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer for Help Talking to an experienced attorney can help ensure that you retain the right to pursue compensation for the loss of a loved one. The Texas personal injury lawyers of the Johns Law Firm understand how difficult this time is for you and your family. You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We can answer your questions and help you understand all options for pursuing legal action. Call or contact us now to speak to one of our Texas wrongful death attorneys.

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Insurance

Business Interruption Claims After Hurricane Laura

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2020 presented multiple unprecedented challenges for all Americans. Hurricane Laura hit the residents of southwest Louisiana with fearsome strength, causing massive destruction. Thousands of businesses were destroyed and damaged by the severe winds and relentless flooding. If your business closed due to Hurricane Laura, contact the qualified attorneys at The Johns Law Firm to discuss your options and review your business interruption claims after a hurricane.   What Does a Business Interruption Policy Cover? A business interruption policy provides financial assistance to businesses forced to close down due to an event covered by their policy, which impacted their business property. If your business suffers a loss covered by your business interruption policy you can file a claim for:  Revenue the company would have earned if it were operating normally; Mortgage, rent, and lease payments for your business property; Loan payments made during the time where your business is nonoperational; Taxes;  Payroll for employees; and Relocation costs if you were forced to move to a new location as a result of damage to your business property.  Determining what your business interruption insurance covers require a detailed review of your policy terms and conditions. The attorneys at The Johns Law Firm can review your business interruption claims after a storm to determine the details of your coverage.  How Do I File a Business Interruption Claim? After a natural disaster such as a hurricane, contact your insurer immediately to advise them that your business property was damaged, causing your business to cease operations.  The way you present your business interruption claim after a hurricane is critical to receiving an appropriate response to your specific needs. Business interruption claims should include the following: A cover letter providing details of your business, including location, details of the damage suffered, your business’s current operation status, and the impact to your business; Detailed calculations of losses suffered; and Supporting documentation of how you arrived at your estimates.  Insurance companies deal with thousands of claims. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide as much specific information about your business and the damage suffered as possible. Providing all the relevant information necessary allows the insurer to more quickly process your claim.  What Are Probably the Most Common Causes of Business Interruption?  Your business may suffer an event causing interruption to your business at any time.The most common causes of business interruption include the following:  Fire and explosions, Natural disasters, Supplier failure, Cyber incidents, and Machinery breakdown. Almost all businesses face some degree of risk with the above events. Determining the degree of risk to your company of suffering any of the above events can help you decide what type of business interruption coverage to purchase.  Talk to an Attorney About Your Business Interruption Claim If your business closed after Hurricane Laura, contact The Johns Law Firm to review your business interruption claims after a storm. Our firm provides free information and resources so you can better understand the process of business interruption insurance. Our attorneys assist businesses in all stages of business interruption claims, from making the claim to litigating disputes with the insurer. If your business interruption claim has been delayed, denied, or underpaid, contact us today for a free claim review!

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Insurance

Do I Need an Attorney for My Lake Charles Homeowners Insurance Claim?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

When a hurricane damages a roof, it is considered an act of God or a force of nature. As a result, the homeowner’s insurance usually covers the damage. The claim does not process automatically. Nor is there an automatic appeal if the insurance company denies your claim. Be proactive in both stages by filing an insurance claim accurately and getting legal representation if the claim is denied or ignored. Hurricane Laura, like the hurricanes before it, caused significant damage in Lake Charles. Roof and interior water damage was particularly prevalent. Unfortunately, many homeowners found their roof insurance claim denied or severely underpaid. Many other homeowners had much of the water and wind damage to their property completely ignored. If your insurance company is being unresponsive, has undervalued your claim, or has denied your claim, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced insurance lawyer. Phase One: Handling Your Claim If you have hurricane damage to a Lake Charles home, you likely contacted your insurance agency and filed a claim (and if you have not, do so as soon as possible). Try to create a record or log of all calls and communication with the agency, including dates, names, and reasons for contact. Add your insurance policy and claim information to this file. Also include pictures and videos related to the hurricane damage to your home (including roof damage, if you can do so safely). You should also compile pictures of your home from prior to the storm to support your claim in the event it is denied. Neighbors, relatives, and even your children may have pictures you can use. In this age of social media, videos and photos are more accessible and come from various sources. You may not be able to gather everything suggested. That is okay. Gather what you can and start now; make it a point to record things consistently in case you find your roof insurance claim denied. Phase Two: Contacting an Attorney If Your Claim Is Denied, Delayed, or Underpaid  You should have an attorney for your Lake Charles homeowners insurance claim. If the insurance company denies, delays, or underpays your claim, there are substantial ramifications. It can delay a safe return to your home and cause pain and suffering financially and emotionally. Therefore, hire an accomplished homeowners insurance attorney if the insurance company: Did not reply to your claim in a reasonable time; Did not pay enough to repair your home to its prior condition; Denied your claim in full or in part; or Did not apply the maximum coverage amount your policy allows in the circumstance. Your attorney can follow up on your claim’s status. They will demand action or appeal a denial through the agency’s internal process. Skilled in negotiating, they can seek a settlement to your claim quickly. A homeowners insurance litigation lawyer knows the state and federal regulations and laws that govern insurance agencies. When warranted, they can take legal action on your behalf. Having an attorney address your Lake Charles homeowners insurance claim can be as essential as having insurance and filing a claim after a natural disaster.  No matter how thoroughly you present it, you may find your homeowner’s insurance claim denied. The outcome of filing a claim or fighting a denial is never guaranteed. But you will have the best chance of a fair resolution to your insurance claim with a strong attorney helping you. The Johns Law Firm: Experienced Lawyers Offering Free Consultations 24/7 The Johns Law Firm has offices in multiple states, including Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Georgia. Representing homeowners in insurance disputes is one of our main focuses, and we have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in insurance claims. When you need an attorney for your Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana homeowners insurance claim, we are here for you. For a free consultation, please contact us online or by phone.

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Insurance

Why Did My Insurance Deny My Claim After Hurricane Laura?

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For insurance and legal purposes, hurricanes are not accidents. They are dangerous wind and water events that can cause massive damages. On Thursday, August 27, 2020, Hurricane Laura made landfall and caused $14 billion in damages near southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas near the Gulf of Mexico.  If the hurricane damaged your property, your insurance company must address your claim fairly and in a reasonable time. But if an insurance company unfairly denies all or part of your claim, you may have recourse. Take legal action today if you find your homeowner insurance claim denied or you anticipate being in an insurance dispute. What Are the Responsibilities of the Insurance Companies? After you file your insurance claim and work with the company’s adjuster to file the information necessary to support the claim, the ball is in their court. The law requires that the insurance company:  Repair the damage to a pre-loss condition (or provide total loss payments); and Pay your claim within 30 days of receipt of proof of loss. Regardless of the degree of damage or number of other claims they are dealing with, it is the insurance company’s job to address your claim. In doing so, they must act in good faith. Finding your homeowner insurance claim denied without cause should lead you to seek legal help. Why Might the Insurance Company Deny My Claim? Unfortunately, during the challenging period of rebuilding after a hurricane, sometimes insurance companies deny claims wholly or partially. Some reasons insurance companies initially deny claims are because of: A mistake made by the claims processing agent; A mistake made by the cat adjuster; Missing information to support the claim; The insurance company questions the cause of the damage; The insurance company misinterprets the policy;  The damage is not covered by your policy; Policy issues exists (lapsed coverage or deductible issues); or The insurance company is acting in bad faith. When the insurance company does not handle your claim to your satisfaction, it adds immense stress during an already trying time. However, there are ways to fight an unjust decision with the help of an attorney. How Can a Lawyer Help Me With an Insurance Claim? Reputable insurance litigation attorneys have the training needed to help claim holders in insurance disputes. Because of their skills and training, your insurance attorney can: Work toward getting you the amount you are entitled to receive for your claim(s) under the terms of your policy; Ensure your property damage is evaluated by qualified experts;  Seek additional damages if the insurance company failed to pay timely or acted in bad faith; and Use their skills to negotiate with your insurance company or take them to court. Contact an insurance litigation lawyer for help immediately if: You believe your policy provides more coverage than you received payment for;  You believe the insurance company did not pay your claim within 30 days of receipt of evidence of your damages; or You discover your homeowner insurance claim denied. Your best chance of fighting a claim issue is with the help of a lawyer. They should always be open and honest with you and never promise a specific recovery amount. Be sure to work with an attorney specializing in insurance claims. We are all grateful to have survived hurricane Laura, tied as the fifth-strongest hurricane on record to make a continental U.S. landfall. Nevertheless, you have a right to advocate for the recovery you deserve from your insurance company. You paid for your policy. Seek legal help, and be sure the insurance company addresses your claim fairly and thoroughly. The Johns Law Firm, Ready to Fight for You Our firm has offices in New Orleans, Houston, and Lake Charles. Our practice focuses on insurance cases (life/health insurance, hail/fire damage, hurricane damage), and we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in insurance disputes. At The Johns Law Firm, we pride ourselves on being highly skilled attorneys with exceptional insurance litigation knowledge who are friendly and approachable with our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Attorney Portrait Information

How Does Hurricane Insurance Work?

| Read Time: 5 minutes

What You Need to Know About Making a Claim Before anyone had a chance to recover fully from the ravages of Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Sally, Tropical Storm Beta dealt the Gulf South area yet another substantial blow. The extent of the damage has yet to be fully identified, but many thousands of homeowners experienced property damage ranging from mild roof damage to catastrophic structural failure. If your home sustained damage in one of these storms, or in another hurricane or tropical storm, submitting a claim to your homeowners insurance is the first step to getting your home repaired and your life back to normal. Unfortunately, this process can be a challenge. Your insurance company may attempt to deny or undervalue your claim or drag the process out unnecessarily. A hurricane property claim lawyer can help you get the hurricane damage compensation you are entitled to under your insurance policy. How Does Hurricane Insurance Coverage Work? In the aftermath of a significant tropical storm or hurricane, you may have urgent questions about your insurance coverage. Some of the most common questions you might have include: Is there hurricane insurance? How much is hurricane insurance? Do I have hurricane insurance? Do I have flood insurance? These types of insurance coverages are not available in every geographic location. Typically, hurricane coverage is a component of your regular homeowners insurance. Flood insurance, on the other hand, must typically be purchased with a separate policy, often from a separate insurer. Is Flooding or Water Damage Covered Under My Hurricane Insurance Claim? The answer to this question is more complicated than you might imagine. Typically, hurricane damage is covered by your homeowner insurance policy whereas flood damage is covered by a separate flood insurance policy or rider. However, hurricane coverage does pay for some types of flooding and water damage. If your house sustains water damage or even flooding due to wind-driven rain, this should be covered by your homeowners policy. Likewise, if a storm damages your roof, windows, doors, etc., allowing rain to enter the structure, this water damage should also be covered by your homeowners insurance. If water rises up from a lower point, from storm surge, from a failed dam or levee, or from a river overflowing its banks, for example, hurricane insurance probably will not cover any damage repairs or compensate you for any related losses. The distinction between these two types of natural disasters—often referred to as force majeure, an act of God/nature, or simply extraordinary circumstances—can be confusing for homeowners. Lengthy legal battles may ensue, as insurance companies fight to reduce their financial losses after a major weather event such as a hurricane. Understanding your policy limits and types of coverage can help you make sense of what your insurer’s obligations are for your damages. Unfortunately, as victims are rarely prepared for these potentially catastrophic events, you could now be stuck trying to figure out your legal rights after the damage has occurred. Will Flood Damage Be Covered by My Auto Insurance? If your car was damaged or destroyed in a tropical storm or hurricane—or even in rising floodwaters—your car insurance may step up to cover this particular loss. If you carry comprehensive automobile insurance, check with the insurer to verify whether you have flood damage coverage for your personal vehicle(s). If so, you can file your claim directly through the insurer. How Much Will My Hurricane Damage Deductible Be? Determining what your insurance deductible for hurricane damage might be is another potential source of confusion. Most homeowners insurance policies have two different deductible structures: one deductible amount for standard losses and a different amount for hurricane damage. Depending on the terms of your policy, a standard homeowners insurance deductible typically ranges between $500 and $5,000. The higher your deductible, the less expensive your annual insurance policy premium will typically be. Whether you chose a higher or lower deductible when you purchased your coverage, you will have to pay that sum out of pocket before the policy coverage kicks in. In the case of storm or hurricane damage, however, your deductible is likely to range between 1% and 5% of the insurance value of your home. For example, if your home is valued at $250,000, your deductible could range between $2,500 and $12,500. In some cases, this figure may range even higher, depending on the area where you live and how your insurance carrier structured your coverage.   What Types of Damages Will My Hurricane Insurance Pay? The type of storm damage losses your homeowners policy covers can vary, depending on the type of insurance you purchased. You could be entitled to compensation for some or all of the following: Water extraction and remediation; Mold removal and remediation; Debris removal; Repair or replacement of your home, garage, guest house, etc.; Compensation for the value of your home’s contents; Temporary roofing, board-up, and related costs to secure your property; and Temporary living expenses (if you are displaced). If you purchased additional coverage for valuable personal property such as art, jewelry, collectibles, etc., you may also be able to recover compensation for those items. The best way to determine what types of damages your policy covers is to talk to an experienced property damage attorney. Your attorney can delve into the complex legal language of your policy and determine all potential items that you should include when submitting your claim. How Might the Insurance Company Deny My Claim? You pay your homeowners insurance premium faithfully, year after year. It’s only natural that you expect your insurer to hold up its end of the agreement when disaster strikes and you need it most. Unfortunately, this is often the time it can be the most difficult to get a claim approved or to get fair value for your losses. Insurers may deny your claim outright or deny that you had coverage in place. The insurance company could try to undervalue your claim, refusing to compensate you fairly for your losses. Another tactic is to...

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

Tips for Hiring Contractors After Hurricane Laura—Legal Advice

| Read Time: 3 minutes

If you suffered damage to your Gulf Coast property after Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Sally, Tropical Storm Beta, or another devastating tropical storm, you face a long—and potentially expensive—road to getting back to normal. Depending on the nature and extent of the damages your home suffered, you could require major repairs before your home is even livable again. The weeks and months after a major Gulf Coast storm bring out a variety of opportunists and dishonest contractors who prey on victims who suffered damage to their property. When hiring a hurricane damage contractor, you must proceed with caution and do your homework. You could also encounter problems if your insurance company pushes you to use their contractors or refuses to process your claim in good faith. Talking to a hurricane damage claim lawyer is one of the best ways to avoid the many pitfalls that await you after you sustain tropical storm or hurricane damage. Before you hire a contractor after a Gulf Coast storm, contact the hurricane insurance attorneys from the Johns Law Firm. Beware of Common Hurricane Contractor Scams Countless unscrupulous companies flock to locations where major storm damage has occurred, preying on unsuspecting victims. One of the most common scams is that the contractor will knock on your door and tell you they’re handling the repairs on your neighbor’s house “down the street.” If you agree to hire them for your home, they might offer you a discount since they’ll be in the neighborhood anyway. They will provide you with what appears to be a very reasonable estimate and request 50% payment upfront for materials. You will never see this contractor—or your deposit—again. There are countless variations of this and related scams that you could fall victim to if you aren’t careful. You can read about other common storm damage contractor scams on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website. Contacting an experienced attorney is another way to help ensure you don’t become the victim of any storm damage repair scams. Do Your Homework Before Hiring a Contractor for Hurricane Repair You’ll be safest if you reach out to contractors yourself for estimates, rather than talking to anyone who calls you or comes to your door. This provides you with the opportunity to verify their state contractor license, insurance, and any required surety bonds. This also allows you to check their customer reviews and look for any complaints that may have been filed against them with your state registrar of contractors, the Better Business Bureau, etc. You can ask friends, neighbors, or other trusted individuals for recommendations. However, never let a recommendation substitute for doing our own due diligence on the contractor’s qualifications. Get Hurricane Damage Repair Estimates in Writing Insist that all estimates and contracts be fully executed in writing. Read estimates and contracts carefully before you sign anything. Few legitimate contractors will request any deposit above 10% of the contract value, and even that should raise a red flag to do a little more digging into the contractor’s background. Contacting an attorney to review all cost estimates and contracts provides an incomparable layer of security and peace-of-mind. An experienced hurricane damage claim lawyer knows what to look for and how to spot potentially dangerous contracting arrangements. Contact a Gulf Coast Property Claim Attorney Today In Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and throughout the Gulf Coast region, the Johns Law Firm protects clients from potentially risky situations involving hurricane damage contractors. We have been assisting countless clients in the wake of Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Sally, and other recent extreme weather events. Before hiring any contractor after hurricane damage or for help getting your hurricane damage insurance claim paid, contact us to learn more about how we can protect your legal rights and help you avoid getting scammed. Call us or contact us today for a confidential consultation with an experienced gulf coast property damage lawyer from the Johns Law Firm.

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

Getting a Thorough Estimate for My Home Damage After Hurricane Laura—Legal Advice

| Read Time: 4 minutes

If your home sustained significant damage from Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Sally, Tropical Storm Beta, or another significant Gulf Coast weather event, you are likely to face a series of daunting challenges. Getting your home repaired or replaced after it sustains catastrophic damage is a complex process. After a far-reaching natural disaster like a hurricane or tropical storm—where many other residents and communities are facing challenges similar to yours—the process can become even more frustrating and time-consuming. One of the first steps in the process is getting cost estimates for the work. Before you hire a contractor after a Gulf Coast storm, contact the hurricane insurance attorneys from the Johns Law Firm. What Happens If Your House Is Destroyed by a Hurricane? If you had your house damaged or destroyed by a hurricane, the emotional and economic toll can feel truly overwhelming. Determining the next steps can be difficult when your home and your community is surrounded by devastation. Start by having any water damage remediated and take whatever steps are necessary to prevent any further damage. This could involve boarding up broken windows and doors, tarping the roof, or getting temporary roofing installed. Take photos of everything you can, both inside the home and outside, as these will be invaluable for documenting your insurance claim. If you can locate your homeowners insurance policy documents, you can verify what coverages you have. Contacting the insurance company will initiate the claims process, after which the insurer should send out an adjuster to assess the damage. At that point, you can start soliciting estimates from qualified contractors to handle the repairs to your home or, in the case of a total loss, to rebuild the structure. You should request detailed estimates from at least three contractors. If your home requires work from multiple trades, consider using a general contractor to coordinate the project rather than attempting to contract individually with a painter, a drywall contractor, a roofer, etc. Consider also consulting an attorney to assist with this process. This can help ensure that your repairs are completed on time and on budget and that the contractor you select is truly qualified to perform the work. How Long Does It Take to Rebuild a House After a Hurricane? The time necessary to repair or rebuild your home after a hurricane depends in part on the size and design of your home as well as the different types of building materials being used. You should expect the process to take longer than if might under different circumstances, however. After a significant event such as a hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, etc., many other homeowners will need repairs or replacement. This increases the demand for materials, labor, and other resources. This same increase in demand can also raise the cost of your repairs or rebuilding project. Most contractors will provide an estimate of the time necessary to complete the work along with their cost estimate. You can request that a builder be held to a predetermined schedule by including that requirement in your contract. Talk to an experienced attorney to ensure that you are protected should the contractor fail to perform as promised. Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover the Costs to Repair My Home? Hurricane- and tropical-storm-related damages are typically covered by most homeowners insurance policies. Although flood damage may not be covered by your policy (or may be covered under a separate policy), your homeowners insurance should cover all damage caused by wind and wind-driven rain. The amount that your policy will cover depends on the type of policy you have and your coverage limits. If you have insurance that covers the replacement value of your losses, the policy should cover all of the repair or replacement costs. If you have an actual cash value policy, the insurer will likely depreciate anything that can be depreciated. In that case, your insurance might not cover the full cost of your home repairs. When negotiating a claim, insurance companies often attempt to depreciate specific types of building materials. Although some parts of your home may truly be subject to depreciation–such as vinyl siding, paint, and roofing materials—many others should not be. Insurance companies often refuse to pay items that are necessary to rebuild and restore your home. One such item is a contractor’s profit and overhead. Obviously, a contractor cannot perform the work for free, or lose money rebuilding your home. However, many insurers will claim that it does not cover profit and overhead. This is not only untrue, it is a misrepresentation. Insurance companies are obligated to pay profit and overhead since it is a necessary cost to rebuild a home.  You will likely have to pay the stated deductible out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. Most insurers impose a different deductible amount for hurricane-related damage than for other covered losses. For example, your standard deductible might be $1,000 or $2,500, but in the case of a hurricane or tropical storm, that amount typically increases to somewhere between 1% and 5% of the total insured value of the property. Do You Need a Lawyer to Assist You with Your Hurricane Damage Claim? If your property was not significantly damaged, or if you were not displaced as a result, you might be able to successfully negotiate your insurance claim and the contractor’s repair pricing. However, having an experienced property damage attorney to assist you can provide significant benefit. An experienced property insurance claim lawyer understands the intricacies of these processes and how to get the best possible results for you. Your insurance company may be less likely to deny, delay, or devalue your claim if they know you have an attorney onboard. Likewise, contractors may be less likely to try to take advantage of you under the watchful eye of your attorney and legal team. Your attorney can also perform due diligence on any prospective contractors to ensure they have the proper licensure and financial stability. The Johns Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services to clients...

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