Hurricane Harvey Flood Damage & Reservoir Release Lawyers
It’s estimated that Hurricane Harvey damaged over 100,000 homes and up to 1 million vehicles in the Houston area alone. Because over 40 percent of these homes are outside the 100-year floodplain, many homeowners were led to believe that flood insurance wasn’t necessary, leaving up to 80 percent without flood coverage.
If Your Home or Business was Damaged During Harvey, Our Undefeated Flood and Hurricane Damage Lawyers Can Help.
Having recovered over $1 billion for our clients, including thousands of Texans who lost their homes and businesses in catastrophic hurricanes like Ike and Rita, our flood and hurricane damage lawyers have the resources and experience necessary to ensure that business and homeowners are fully compensated for their losses.
Even if you don’t have flood insurance, business and homeowners whose properties were flooded as a result of the Addicks and Barker Reservoir Releases that began at 2:00 am on August 28 may still be able to recover their property damages through an inverse condemnation action against the Harris County Flood Control District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Contact our Undefeated Hurricane and Flood Property Damage Lawyers for a Free Consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here.
All consultations are free and, because our firm takes all cases on contingency, you’ll pay nothing unless we win a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
Hurricane Harvey’s Devastating Impact
Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the southeast Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm on the evening of August 25, 2017. Wind gusts were reported up to 132 mph (212 km/h) near Port Aransas. The winds generated by the massive store decimated entire neighborhoods throughout Rockport.
Once the storm made its way to Houston, it stalled, dumping more than 50 inches of rain on the city in a matter of days.
But, unfortunately, the flooding continued even after the storm had moved on, due to the Harris County Flood Control District’s and Army Corps of Engineer’s decision to release up to 7 million gallons of water per minute from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Up to 4,000 homes and business in West Houston that made it through the worst parts of Harvey without flood damage ended up being decimated and, some cases, almost completely submerged.
By the time Harvey left Texas, it had displaced more than 1 million people and damaged some 200,000 homes along a path of destruction that stretched for more than 300 miles.
At least 70 deaths have been tragically tied to Hurricane Harvey.
Inverse Condemnation Claims From the Addicks and Barker Reservoir Releases
By August 28th, rains from Harvey had nearly filled the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Houston Flood Control District to start releasing water from the reservoirs at around 2:00 a.m.
Less than 48 hours later, the releases were increased from 718,000 gallons of water per minute to over 6 million gallons per minute. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Houston Flood Control District made this decision knowing that it would cause flooding to thousands of homes that had remained dry through the worst of Harvey’s rains.
For reasons explained here, we strongly believe that the decision to intentionally flood these homes constitutes a “taking” by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Harris County Food Control District, giving property owners the right to pursue their property damages through an “inverse condemnation” claim.
An inverse condemnation claims arise when the government knowingly takes or damages private property for the public’s benefit without paying the owner just or adequate compensation.
If you’re home or business is located in West Houston and did not flood until after 2:00 am on August 28, you may be able to recover your damages and losses through an inverse condemnation claim against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Houston Flood Control District.
For those with flood insurance, any property damages that exceed the maximum limits of your coverage (which are typically $250,000 and $100,000 for contents) can be pursued through an inverse condemnation action. And for the many of Houstonians who don’t have flood coverage, pursuing an inverse condemnation action will likely be your only opportunity to recover your losses.
Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claims
Now that Hurricane Harvey’s has passed, residents throughout Houston and southeast Texas will begin the complicated and stressful process of filing insurance claims on their homes, business, cars and other personal property.
Insurance claims following a hurricane or other disastrous weather event may include:
Homeowner’s Insurance Claims
Covers structures and personal property damaged due to specific perils covered by a policy, including wind, hail and hurricanes (unless you live in a city, like Rockport, that’s located along the coast). Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage.
To file a claim with your homeowner’s insurer, you should contact the company or your insurance agent directly. For help with contact information, check the Texas Department of Insurance’s Company Lookup or call its Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439.
Flood Damage Insurance Claims
Covers damage to structures and personal property caused by flooding, including flooding caused by the overflow of inland or tidal waters, up to the policy limits, which are typically $250,000 for structural damage and $100,000 for contents.
Flood insurance is purchased through National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.
Wind Damage Insurance Claims
Covers damage to structures and personal property caused by wind or hailstorms. It does not cover damage caused by flood, rain, or storm surge.
For residents who live in the following coastal counties, wind and hailstorm insurance is administered through the Texas Windstorm Association (TIA):
Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Willacy, as well as parts of Harris County east of Highway 146.
Car Insurance Claims
Most comprehensive auto insurance policies will cover losses related to flooding. Contact your insurance company or agent directly to file a claim.
Is Your Insurance Company Acting in Bad Faith?
Even if you take every possible step to ensure that your Hurricane Harvey insurance claim is paid in a timely manner, your insurer may still attempt to delay, underpay, or wrongfully deny you the money you are owned.
Under the Texas State Insurance Code, insurance companies are required to pay claims in a timely and prompt manner. Your insurer may be acting in bad faith if it:
- Denies or delays payment of a claim when it knows or should know coverage is reasonably clear.
- Has no reasonable basis for denying or delaying payment of your claim, but does so anyway.
- Fails to investigate your claim or merely investigates your claim for the sole purpose of denying it.
Under Texas law, policyholders may be entitled to significant damages if their insurer acts in bad faith, including:
- Benefit of the bargain damages for an accompanying breach of contract claim
- Compensatory damages for the tort of bad faith
- Punitive damages for intentional, malicious, fraudulent. or grossly negligent conduct.
Unfortunately, based on our experience representing Texas property owners in connection with damages sustained during Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita, it’s likely that a substantial number of Texas residents who file property damage claims as a result of damages sustained in Hurricane Harvey will be denied or underpaid, wrongfully depriving them of the funds needed to replace or repair their damaged property.
To make matters worse, changes to the Texas State Insurance Code that became effective on September 1, 2017 greatly impact the rights of policyholders to pursue wind damage claims against their homeowner’s insurance company when claims are wrongly denied or underpaid.
Insurance Companies Are Focused on Saving As Much Money As Possible
It’s a known fact that insurers and their legal teams have very little incentive to pay you what you are owed. Without an experienced attorney on your side, your odds of recovering the full value of your damages in a timely manner are, unfortunately, very low.
Have Questions about Your Rights and Options Moving Forward? Contact Our Houston Flood & Hurricane Damage Lawyers for a Free Consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here.
Whether your insurance company is delaying or refusing to all of your damages, or your home was flooded as a result of the Addicks and Barker Reservoir releases, Our Flood & Hurricane Damage Lawyers will explain your rights, answer your questions, and help you determine the best path forward.
Call 1-888-603-3636 of Click Here for your Free, No-Obligation Legal Review with an Experienced Texas Insurance Dispute Lawyer today.