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MY HOME WAS DAMAGED IN TPC EXPLOSION – DO I NEED A LAWYER?

Maybe, just not now.  Look, I am a lawyer who for the last 15 years has handled property damage claims for homeowners.  My firm has 3 lawyers with years of experience evaluating insurance claims for property damage.  Since we charge a percentage for the recovery we make for our clients, the more clients and recovery, the more money for us.  BUT –  and this is a loud BUT – I do not need to be involved in the claim until there is a dispute.  Otherwise, I would be charging my clients for money that they would have recovered EVEN IF I DID NOT REPRESENT THEM.  So….to answer the question, you may, at some point, need a lawyer.  I can see insurance companies and TPC limiting payouts on some of the structural damage because an engineer they hired claimed the damage was caused by “prior foundation movement, etc., etc.  We do some pretty neat things on property claims and have a firm that is tops in the State.  We have verdicts and awards from Orange to Beaumont to Fort Bend to Bryan to Amarillo – and have NEVER lost in trial to the insurance companies.  I am not aware of ANY other law firm in the State that can claim that.  We have a team of experts, like structural forensic engineers and cost estimators, that we retain who help us fight toe-to-toe with the insurance company.

But, all that being said, you don’t need us right now.  Maybe you will, maybe you won’t.  I just returned from visiting a dear friend in Port Neches, in Zone 1, on Gloria St. and told them the same thing.  So, here is what you do need to do regarding your insurance claim:

  1. FILE your claim – call your agent or insurance company and open a claim – it is their responsibility to investigate your claim for damages.
  2. DOCUMENT your damages
    1. Take photos of your damage – every crack, blown door, loose trim, flashing, siding, etc.;
    2. Video your damages as you walk through;
    3. Keep looking – It is not uncommon to find new damage days later;
    4. Make a list – in a good old spiral bound notebook or your Notes app if you are a techie;
    5. If you have surveillance cameras, save the videos from the time of the explosions (first and second explosions); and
    6. Talk to your immediate neighbors to see what damage they suffered – they may see something you don’t and you may find the same damage – compare notes.
  3. COOPERATE with your insurance company –
    1. Make your home available for inspection;
    2. Be there for the inspection;
    3. Identify all the areas you have documented; and
    4. Ask the adjuster to get in the attic to check the structural components of the roof.
  4. PAYMENT OF CLAIM. Your insurance company has the following timelines:
    1. 15 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim, commence an investigation, and request from you all items they need to complete the investigation.
    2. After that, they have 15 business days to accept or reject your claim.
    3. If they accept, from the time of acceptance, they have 5 business days to pay your claim. Delays in payment can result in statutory penalties. The insurance company can request an extension of time for up to 45 days.
  5. DISPUTE with insurance company
    1. If you feel like the amount is not enough to repair your damages, contact your insurance company and let them know
    2. Secure your own bid for the damages
    3. Request another adjustment

If after step 5 you still have been underpaid for your claim, call us!  We are happy to help.  In fact, you can call us (for FREE) at any point along the way – like, if you want us to look at the estimate from the insurance company.  We have looked at thousands of these estimates and can sort through them quickly.  At no charge, we are happy to review the estimate you get from either TPC or your insurance company.

We have a proven track record of success. Take a look at some of our representative verdicts and settlements for policyholders:

  • Insurance company paid $5k, we won $1.88 million for the First Baptist Church, Vidor, TX
  • Insurance company denied a claim for a homeowner, we fought for 20+ days in trial for a homeowner who had policy limits of $52,500 and won an $850k verdict and fought it all the way to the Supreme Court of Texas (and won!).

    Clint Brasher and Joe Muckleroy with Latosha Lewis. We fought 23 days for her in court and appealed up to the Supreme Court.

  • Insurance company denied claim for a duplex in College Station whose damages were $79K; we won a verdict after an 8-day trial for $370k.
  • Insurance company said “loss under deductible” we worked case up and settled for policy limits of $143,000.
  • Insurance company denied claim for a homeowner in Amarillo whose house was destroyed in a hailstorm. Damages were $55,000. We won a verdict the week after Thanksgiving for the family in the amount of $325K.

    Awaiting verdict v. State Farm in Amarillo. This was the first trial State Farm had lost after 14 consecutive jury wins for them.

And, for TPC, I see no harm in turning in the evacuation expense sheet or even letting them inspect the property – see what they will do.  But, DO NOT SIGN A RELEASE or give a recorded statement.  We will review it for free. I am sorry for your loss.  I am sorry for the stress it is causing you.  But, we are here for you when you need us. We will even review your insurance company’s estimates and correspondence for free. Call us at (409) 832-3737. You can check out some helpful resources on our website that will assist you on all aspects of your property damage claim: http://brasherattorney.com/bad-faith-insurance/

Clint Brasher

Informational only – not intended to be create an attorney-client relationship. 

FEMA: TS Imelda a Major Disaster for 6 Counties

FEMA MAJOR DISASTER DECLARATION OPENS AID FOR SETXans

FEMA Aid Update:  Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, and Orange Counties have been designated as Major Disaster areas are citizens of those communities can apply for assistance from FEMA whether they have flood insurance or not. 

The application window opened October 5, 2019 and will run through February 28, 2021. 

Below is the information and link to apply:

https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4466

 

Tropical Storm Imelda – Flood Insurance Proof of Loss Requirement

Proof of Loss Form Tropical Storm Imelda Proof of Loss Requirements – Deadline November 16, 2019

While Tropical Storm Imelda snuck up on a lot of us here in Southeast Texas, don’t let the deadline to file your Proof of Loss sneak up on you. Under a flood policy, you have 60 days from the flood to file a Proof of Loss for the damages you sustained from the flood. This includes your dwelling damage as well as your personal property damage.

This deadline is strictly enforced. While the WYO Carriers may pay you money beyond this time period, if you fail to meet this deadline you waive your right to contest the amount you were paid in a court of law. And, while your flood claim is more limited in a court of law than other insurance claims, you still maintain a right to request damages in court if you were denied or underpaid.

This deadline applies regardless what the adjuster says. The adjusters have no authority to waive this requirement so take it seriously. Here is a good document from FEMA outlining the steps you should take: Flood Step by Step Process.

If you note, FEMA states this in the document:

It is your responsibility to complete Proof of Loss, not adjusters.

As you can see, it is your responsibility to comply with the deadlines in the flood policy. Tropical Storm Imelda hit our area on September 17, 2019. Your requirement to file a Proof of Loss is within 60 Days or November 16, 2019.

Here is a link for a FEMA Proof of Loss form to complete if you need one: www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1533073015253-61a3c8a1dce7231a63f4c466a43615a8/FEMA_Form_086-0-09_8-1-2017_proof_of_loss.pdf

So, work with your adjuster to reach a settlement of your claim. It is my understanding that the adjusters are withholding the dwelling settlements until you submit a content claim. Quickly work to submit the content claim so you can make these deadlines.

Sometimes FEMA extends this deadline – make sure and keep refreshed at the FEMA site for this event.  Otherwise, adhere to the contractual deadlines.