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Numerous things can cause property damage, ranging from natural disasters to vandalism. If your property is insured, you may have a right to pursue a property damage claim to obtain compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing damaged, destroyed, or lost property.
Often, insurance companies employ dishonest tactics and bad faith practices when a Baton Rouge property damage attorney does not represent a claimant. It is not uncommon for residents of Baton Rouge to file property damage claims.
While a large percentage of claims are the result of car accidents, many others are related to property caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes. Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The city’s location makes it vulnerable to hurricanes and floods, which was evident from the disastrous flooding in 2016 that claimed the lives of 60 people and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
If your property in Baton Rouge sustained damage due to an Act of God such as flooding or someone’s negligence, you need a skilled attorney on your side to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Our Baton Rouge property damage attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, have an enviable track record of success and a strong reputation both nationally and in Louisiana.
Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of residents and their families who sustained devastating property damage due to natural disasters and Acts of Man.
Schedule a free case evaluation with us to pursue a successful insurance claim and obtain the benefits you deserve. Call today.
What Are the Common Causes of Property Damage?
No property in Baton Rouge, whether residential or commercial, is completely safe from natural disasters, accidents, and other incidents that can cause property damage. When a home or business property suffers damages, the home or business owner may have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair it.
Common causes of property damage include but are not limited to:
- Hail damage to roofs
- Water leaks
- Foundation cracks
Even if you purchase insurance to cover your property, your insurance company may not be willing to compensate you for your expenses and losses. If your insurance company undervalues or denies your claim or otherwise fails to handle it fairly, it is important to contact a skilled attorney to help you fight for the compensation you need to cover your property damage costs.
A Property Damage Claim After an Act of God
Acts of God are events resulting from natural causes without human intervention. Generally, no one can be held responsible for natural disasters such as hurricanes and storms.
Common examples of Acts of God that may cause damage to your property include:
- Extreme weather disasters such as hurricanes, floods, hail, tornados, high winds, and others.
- Geological phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes, mudslides, sinkholes, and others.
- Other hazards such as meteorite damage.
Usually, homeowner’s insurance policies exclude many of the above-mentioned natural disasters from covered events. It means that a person whose property sustained damage cannot receive compensation for losses caused by a non-covered event.
If an insurance company is trying to misrepresent pertinent facts or policy provisions to deny coverage for damages caused by an Act of God, contact a Baton Rouge property damage attorney to discuss your legal options.
A Property Damage Claim After an Act of Negligence
Not all property damage claims resulting from natural disasters. Your property could also suffer damage as a result of someone else’s act of negligence, carelessness, or omission.
You may hold the negligent party responsible for your property damage if you can prove:
- The party owed you a duty of care
- The party failed to act with reasonable care and engaged in the act of negligence
- The party’s negligence caused you to suffer property damage
If you can prove these three elements, you may be able to pursue a property damage claim against the negligent person or entity. An experienced attorney can review the circumstances of your case and determine whether or not you can file a lawsuit against a negligent party in your particular situation.
Insurance Bad Faith Practices in Property Damage Claims
Under Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 22: 1973, insurance companies are required to act in good faith when adjusting and settling property damage and other claims. However, many insurance companies fail to act fairly and honestly when handling property damage claims, although Baton Rouge residents pay relatively high premium insurance. According to The Zebra, the average home insurance premium in Baton Rouge is $1,969.
Insurance companies owe a fiduciary duty to their policyholders and must act in good faith when responding to, investigating, managing, adjusting, and settling claims. However, some insurers end up engaging in bad faith practices when handling claims in an attempt to pay as little as possible or deny claims altogether.
Common bad faith insurance practices include but are not limited to:
- Failing to investigate a claim within a reasonable amount of time after a property damage claim is filed;
- Lying that the cause of the damage does not qualify for coverage under the policy;
- Improperly denying or undervaluing a property damage claim;
- Intentionally delaying the claims process; and
- Making threatening or deceptive statements.
If you believe that your insurance company has denied, delayed, or underpaid your claim in bad faith, it is vital to speak with a personal injury attorney right away. The Baton Rouge property damage attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyer have the necessary experience and resources to go up against the largest insurance companies.
If your attorney can prove that the insurance company acted in bad faith, you can receive the amount of your original claim in addition to penalties, attorney’s fees, and legal costs associated with the bad faith lawsuit.
What Are Your Obligations When Pursuing a Property Damage Claim in Louisiana?
Your insurance company is not the only one that has legal obligations when handling your property damage claim. You also have some obligations under your insurance policy.
Although the policyholder’s obligations may differ from one policy to another, most policies contain these requirements:
- Notice of Loss. As a rule of thumb, a property owner must notify their insurance company of damages caused by a covered loss by filing a Notice of Loss. Your insurance policy will set specific deadlines for filing the notice.
- A Duty to Mitigate. Property owners are required to take reasonable steps to protect their damaged property from further damage, which is also known as a “duty to mitigate.” What is “reasonable” depends on the circumstances of your case, which is why it is advisable to talk to an attorney.
- Proof of Loss. After filing your initial property damage claim, you must submit a Proof of Loss, which itemizes the exact damages your property has suffered. Under Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 22:1264, the deadline for bringing a Proof of Loss statement is 180 days from the date of the catastrophic event.
Find out about your other rights and obligations when pursuing a property damage claim in Louisiana by consulting Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers.
How to File a Property Damage Claim in Baton Rouge?
If you suffered property damage, you need to take the following steps to file an insurance claim to get compensated for your damages and losses:
- Document your damages. Make a list of all your possessions with damage as a result of a covered Act of God or Act of Man. Compiling a list of all your damaged or destroyed belongings can increase the value of your claim and help you understand the extent of your damages when pursuing a claim.
- File a Notice of Loss. As mentioned earlier, it is imperative to notify your insurance company of the damage to your property as soon as possible. If you fail to submit a Notice of Loss within the applicable time limit, the insurer may deny your property damage claim.
- Consult with an attorney. Never underestimate the importance of speaking with a property damage attorney. A Baton Rouge property damage attorney will determine how much your claim is worth and assist you in filing and fighting for your insurance claim.
- File a Proof of Loss. An attorney will help you itemize all of your damages and submit Proof of Loss to the insurance company in compliance with Louisiana law and policy requirements.
- Settle your claim. Your property damage attorney will help you calculate your damages and losses to ensure that you are settling your claim for a fair amount. We never advise settling a claim without consulting an attorney first.
Let our knowledgeable and experienced property damage attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accient Lawyers assist you in the claims process and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Property Damage Attorney?
Work with a skilled property damage attorney when handling your insurance claim. Hiring a Baton Rouge property damage attorney increases your chances of winning and securing the compensation you deserve.
When you hire us:
- You get legal advice. If you do not have a law degree or experience negotiating with insurance companies, you may have a hard time handling your property damage claim. An experienced attorney will provide you with legal advice to help you understand your rights and options.
- You get an assessment of your damages. Many claimants do not understand how much money they can ask for when filing a property damage claim, which is why many end up settling their claims for less than they deserve. An attorney will assess your damages and losses to make sure that you know what compensation is fair in your particular situation.
- You get a skilled negotiator. Settlement negotiations are a critical part of the claims process. Having an experienced and results-driven negotiator in your corner helps ensure that you get maximum compensation.
- You get peace of mind. Handling a property damage claim can be an extremely stressful and frustrating experience. Hiring an attorney to handle your legal matters on your behalf can help you get the much-needed peace of mind. You can focus on getting back to your normal life while your attorney investigates your claim, gathers the necessary documentation, negotiates with the insurer, and handles other legal aspects of the claims process.
We are committed to providing you with high-quality services and unmatched legal representation to make sure that you get the compensation you need and deserve.
What Property Damage Cases Do We Handle?
We provide legal representation to residents throughout Baton Rouge and Louisiana who suffered property damage as a result of natural disasters and Acts of Man.
We handle all types of property damage cases, including:
- Roof and siding damage from hail
- Wind damage
- Hurricane damage
- Tornado damage
- Storm damage
- Flood damage
- Rain and other water damage
- Fire damage
- Vandalism and arson
- Vehicle damage
- Sinkhole damage
- Earthquake damage
- Home and condo damage
- Falling trees
We highly recommend speaking with an attorney if your property suffered any damage as a result of an act of god or someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Our Baton Rouge property damage attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers are dedicated to helping you fight for the highest possible settlement amount in your case to ensure that you have the funds you need to fix your property.
Because of our decades of experience in insurance law, we know how the insurance industry works. And we work tirelessly to defend every client’s right to receive fair reimbursement for their property damage and losses.
For your free consultation with our property damage lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, call 800-898-4877 or fill out our contact form.
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Mr. Guss was wonderful. He fought hard against the insurance company to get us what we deserved. I went from owing almost $5000 in medical bills to actually getting money in my pocket. Absolutely Amazing!!!!! A big thank you from me and my family!!!”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.