Office Location: 400 Poydras Tower, Poydras St Suite 1975, New Orleans, LA 70130Damage to your property is one of the most stressful and frustrating experiences you can have, and this includes hail damage to windows and roofs, flooding and interior water damage, and fire damage. Unfortunately, residents of New Orleans are no strangers to filing property damage claims. Since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in New Orleans, causing more than 1,800 deaths and $125 billion in property damage, the state of Louisiana has experienced another ten hurricanes, including Hurricane Rita, Harvey, and Gustav. Hurricanes are not the only disaster that can lead to devastating property losses and damages. If you or your family suffered damage or loss of property as a result of the negligence of another party or your property experienced heartbreaking losses due to an Act of God, such as a hurricane, wildfire, or flood, you might be able to obtain compensation through your own insurance company or the insurer of the negligent party. The New Orleans property damage attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accient Lawyers, focuses on helping you get the coverage you paid for. We have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies and handling property damage claims on behalf of clients in New Orleans. We recovered millions of dollars for clients in property damage settlements and trial verdicts. Call now for your free case evaluation. We can help you regain your peace of mind by obtaining the financial recovery you deserve.
Can You Receive Compensation for Property Loss or Damage in New Orleans?Under Louisiana law, insured property owners are entitled to compensation from their insurance company when they suffer the loss of property or their property sustains damage because of a covered event such as an accident, natural disaster, or incident. Whether or not your property sustained damage due to a covered event depends on your insurance policy. That is why it is vital to review your insurance policy in the event of property loss or damage to determine whether you can receive compensation from the insurance company. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for insurance companies in Louisiana to engage in bad faith insurance practices when handling property damage claims. Your insurance company may delay the claims process or outright deny your claim in an attempt to avoid paying you what you deserve. If you have a dispute with an insurance company regarding a property damage claim, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options. Our New Orleans property damage attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accient Lawyers, can stand up for your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Property Damage: Acts of Nature vs. Acts of ManBroadly speaking, property damage can fall into two categories: Acts of Nature and Acts of Man. While these two types of property damage may be compensable losses, you need a personal injury lawyer who knows the difference between the two when pursuing your claim.
- Acts of Nature. Generally, Acts of Nature refer to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornados, hail, and others. Natural disasters can cause devastating property damage. While an insurance company may argue that an act of God is not a covered event to deny your claim, an experienced attorney may be able to help you pursue compensation for damages caused by a natural disaster.
- Acts of Man. “Acts of Man” is a legal term used to describe acts performed by an individual knowingly, freely, and voluntarily. Three common examples of Acts of Man are vandalism, arson, and car accidents. For example, if a driver causes a car crash as a result of their negligent operation of the motor vehicle, that driver may be held liable for any damages and losses they cause. Many insurance companies exclude various types of Acts of Man, which is why it is critical to review the terms of your insurance policy.
Common Types of Property Damage in New OrleansThere are different types of damage to personal and real property in New Orleans. The most common types of property damage include:
- Damage to home. Real property, including homes, is susceptible to various types of damage, including hurricanes, fires, winds, vandalism, flood, and many more. Many homes in the area sustain serious roof damage due to hail. If your homeowner’s insurance company covers the natural disaster or Act of Man that caused damage to your home, you can obtain compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your property.
- Damage to business. Many residents of New Orleans who own businesses purchase business insurance for protection in the event of property damage. You may need to purchase a business owner’s policy when your business could suffer property damage or theft.
- Damage to a motor vehicle. Since Louisiana law requires all registered owners of motor vehicles to purchase auto insurance, damage to a car is one of the most common types of property damage claims in the state. Your auto insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance company may compensate you for the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged car.
- Damage to other items. Homes, businesses, and motor vehicles are not the only types of property that can sustain damage. You may be able to seek compensation for damage or loss of other types of property.
Reasons for Property Damage Claim DenialsIf you filed a property damage claim with an insurance company, there is no guarantee that the insurer will approve your claim. In fact, the insurance company may find grounds to deny your property damage claim to avoid paying you for your losses. Common reasons insurance companies in Louisiana deny property damage claims include:
- You misrepresented the true extent of the damage to your property.
- The insurance policy does not cover the type of damage (check your policy’s exclusions to determine whether or not your property sustained damage from a covered event).
- The damage you are seeking compensation for was the result of wear and tear.
- You miss the deadline to file a property damage claim.
- The damage does not exceed the deductible.
- You failed to pay insurance premiums.
When Can You Sue an Insurance Company for Mishandling a Property Damage Claim?An insurance company can sometimes make your life very difficult when it mishandles your claim. Fortunately, Louisiana law protects policyholders from insurance bad faith practices and allows them to sue insurers for mishandling property damage claims. Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 22: 1973 requires insurance companies to act in good faith when investigating, handling, and settling claims, including property damage claims. Under Louisiana law, insurance companies must make a reasonable effort to settle claims promptly and handle claims fairly. You might sue an insurance company for mishandling your property damage claim if the insurer acted in bad faith. Examples of insurance bad faith include:
- Failure to pay within 30 days after receipt of satisfactory proofs of loss from the policyholder under Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 22:1892.
- Misrepresenting insurance policy provisions and exclusions in an attempt to deny, delay, or undervalue a claim.
- Failure to conduct a comprehensive investigation on time.
- Denying a property damage claim without explanation.
- Failure to handle a claim under Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 22:1893 regarding the immovable property.
What Are the Time Limits When Filing a Property Damage Claim in New Orleans?When filing a property damage claim—or any other insurance claim, for that matter—you must comply with the time limits imposed by Louisiana law. Louisiana sets a one-year limit for property damage claims. A claimant’s failure to comply with the statute of limitations could result in the loss of the right to obtain compensation. It is important to act quickly when seeking compensation through a property damage claim in Louisiana. Under Louisiana law, insurance companies have only 30 days after the date an insurance claim is filed to either pay or deny the claim. If an insurer delays the claims process or fails to approve/deny your claim within 30 days, contact an attorney to talk about your options.
What Do You Need to File a Property Damage Claim in New Orleans?If your property was damaged:
- Document the extent of the damage. One of the most important things you can do when filing a property damage claim is to compile a list of all your belongings that were damaged or lost. Understandably, it can be difficult to remember all of your belongings after a stressful and devastating event such as a hurricane. However, making a list of your possessions that were damaged, destroyed, or lost can expedite the claims process and ensure that you know the true extent of your damages and losses. Do not forget to take photos of the damaged property.
- Notify an insurance company of the property damage. It is vital to notify your own insurance company or the insurer of the liable party as soon as possible after your property is damaged. Failure to report property damage to an insurance company within a reasonable amount of time could result in the denial of your claim.
- Talk to a New Orleans property damage attorney. Before filing a claim and demanding compensation for your damages and losses, it is highly recommended to consult with an attorney to estimate the appropriate value of your claim.
- Negotiate a settlement. Your attorney will help you negotiate a fair and full settlement to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. If an insurance company fails or refuses to handle your claim fairly, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Why You Need a New Orleans Property Damage AttorneyHiring a property damage attorney can have a tremendous impact on the value and success of your claim and your ability to settle your claim as quickly as possible. Depending on the extent of the damage to your property, your claim may be worth tens of thousands or millions of dollars. Understandably, an insurance company is not willing to lose such a large amount of money without a fight. You need a New Orleans property damage attorney to protect your rights and ensure that the insurance company pays you the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will determine how much your property damage claim is worth and handle negotiations on your behalf. A skilled lawyer will take the necessary steps to strengthen your claim to help you settle your claim for a fair amount of money. We have won millions of dollars in successful jury verdicts and settlements. The team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accient Lawyers understands how insurance companies work and their motivations when handling property damage claims. Get a free consultation with our knowledgeable attorney through our contact page or by calling 800-898-4877.
See what past clients have to say:
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"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!!!"