Lake Charles Hurricane Insurance Lawyers
Dedicated Legal Guidance You Can Rely On
Insurance contracts establish a relationship between the insurer and the insured. The policyholder pays a premium periodically in exchange for the insurance company providing a payout should financial losses arise from property damage. The insurer must also act in good faith or engage in fair dealings. This means that if the insured has a claim, the insurance company must initiate a loss adjustment and issue payouts within a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, as for-profit businesses, insurance companies often knowingly and willfully breach their duties to protect their bottom lines. This unfair practice, referred to as insurance bad faith, places increased burdens and stresses on you: the insured, as they are not getting the financial assistance they need to return their lives to normal.
Fortunately, Louisiana has various laws, specifically LSA R.S. §22:1892 and LSA R.S. §22:1973, that protect policyholders from being taken advantage of by insurance companies. Thus, if an insurer does not uphold its good-faith duties, the insured can pursue a lawsuit against them to enforce payment of the claim amount. The policyholder may also receive additional awards in the form of penalties assessed against the insurer.
If you’re owed a hurricane damage-related payout from your insurer and believe it has breached its legal duties, reach out to our Lake Charles hurricane insurance attorneys as soon as possible. At Sudduth & Associates, LLC, our team has over 100 years of combined experience and delivers compassionate and zealous advocacy. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to legal representation. Instead, we know each case is unique, and each individual has their own needs and goals. Our lawyers will treat your matter with the care and personalized attention needed to develop a legal strategy specifically for you. You can trust that we will provide the legal representation you need throughout your case.
Schedule a free consultation by calling (337) 282-9003 today.
Statutory Requirements for Handling Hurricane Insurance Claims
LSA R.S. §22:1892 enumerates the responsibilities insurance companies have when they receive claims. Specifically, the law details the insurer's deadlines to investigate and payout or respond.
When a policyholder requests a payout for damages, the insurance company must conduct a loss adjustment. Aside from opening a file for the claim, it must also begin an investigation to evaluate and verify the loss. Generally, in Louisiana, the insurer must take this initial step within 14 days of receiving notice from their policyholder. However, if the insured suffered a catastrophic loss, such as from a hurricane, the loss adjustment can occur within 30 days of the claim. Failure to meet this statutory requirement will result in a penalty being assessed against the insurer that is two times the amount of the claim or $5,000, whichever is greater.
Additionally, after receiving satisfactory proof of loss, the insurer has 30 days to either make a written offer to settle the claim or issue payment. If the insurer is found to have denied the claim arbitrarily, capriciously, or without probable cause, it may be penalized.
In such a case, in addition to the claim amount, the Insurance Company would be required to pay the insured:
- 50% of damages; or
- $1,000, whichever is greater
Statutory Good Faith Requirement
La. R.S. § 22:1982 is the law concerning fair dealings the insurer must abide by when handling claims for damages. Essentially, the statute enumerates the good faith requirements.
It provides that an insurance company has acted in bad faith when it:
- Misrepresents insurance policy provisions or facts concerning coverages;
- Does not pay a settlement within 30 days after providing a written offer;
- Knowingly denies coverage based on a provision the insured/claimant was not aware of or did not consent to;
- Misleads the claimant regarding timelines to file claims;
- Fails to issue payment on a claim within 60 days of receiving satisfactory proof of loss; or
- Arbitrarily, capriciously, or without probable cause violates any of the provisions of LSA R.S. §22:1892
A breach of good faith duty may result in a penalty awarded to the insured of two times the damage or $5,000 being assessed against the insurer, whichever is greater. There is also an attorney fee provision, but that only goes into effect if and only if the insured is awarded this penalty. The fee will be placed on the money additionally won by our services in comparison to what your insurance company may have been offering. In an effort to help rebuild our local community, our hurricane fee has been reduced from 33% to 20-25% depending on the details of the case.
Get the Legal Help You Need
If you believe that your hurricane damage claim was wrongly delayed or denied because your insurance company breached its lawful duties, you must prove your allegations. You must present the evidence to prove this and gathering and presenting the evidence necessary to meet your burden can be overwhelming. That is why our hurricane insurance lawyers in Lake Charles will do all the legwork for you. We’ll thoroughly review all relevant information and handle all communications with your insurer.
At Sudduth & Associates, LLC, we’re prepared to do what it takes to protect your rights and best interests. To get started on your case, call us at (337) 282-9003 or contact us onlinetoday.
Over 100 Years of Collective Experience
Former Prosecutor Who Knows Both Sides of the Law
Long Roots in the Local Community
Cutting-Edge Technology to Bring You More Convenience
Collaborative Approach to Your Case
Highly Communicative & Responsive
“If having someone on your side that gives a 110% and delivers a quality product is important, then James Sudduth III comes with my highest personal recommendation.”- Chris
“Throughout the entire ordeal, James could not have been more professional, courteous and knowledgeable regarding my employment issue. He was prompt with his responses and could not have shown more compassion for the issue.”- Former Client
“James & his caring team of professionals are a cut above the rest. They truly care about the legal issues I face, and aren't just 'going through the motions.' It's been a tremendous help during this transitional period in my life to have Jame”- Ashley