With Hurricane Dorian as a reminder that we are in the middle of hurricane season, it’s important to remember to protect yourself, both physically and legally. Hurricane and natural disaster litigation is something that is not generally recognized by the public as an avenue where they have rights, but it should be.
It’s understandable – when a natural disaster strikes in your area, the probability of you and so many of your neighbors being affected is high. The issues that come with natural disasters make it easy to feel powerless and for problems to seem par for the course. Don’t let emotion and assumption get in the way of safeguarding your family and yourself.
Unfortunately, bad actors come crawling out of the woodwork during crisis, so it is essential that you understand your legal rights.
Most people understand that the legal community is confined to personal injuries. However, in virtually every type of natural disaster, insurance companies deny claims arbitrarily, capriciously, and in bad faith. They do this after they have collected premiums from their customers for years. Insurance policies are generally interpreted to deny coverage rather than to invoke coverage for damages suffered from natural disasters. Imagine having loyally paid your premiums on time, and in the aftermath of a natural disaster, being told that your support structure doesn’t exist. The impact can be devastating.
There are personal injury components to these claims. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, numerous medical facilities in the New Orleans area were not appropriately staffed, nor were they appropriately set up from an emergency preparedness standpoint to offload, move, and handle patients. They were not prepared for a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, which affected the power and the available space to house patients. As a result, patients, particularly end of life and critical care patients, suffered. These are both administrative violations, and in other instances, general negligence violations. Everything from a flooded nursing home where patients drowned, to cases where the end of life patients at hospitals could not be transported after the power failed and died, are all viable claims that people hold rights to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, natural disasters and hurricanes are opportunities for insurance companies to deny coverage, claims, and go on about their business after having duped their customers. They know that only a small fraction of people that suffer losses during natural disasters ever pursue litigation and seek legal representation to protect themselves. This situation is advantageous for insurance companies. However, these individuals have rights. If a natural disaster occurs and you find yourself affected by it, you should seek legal consultation immediately.
Please do not attempt to determine if you have a compensable case. You must consult a relevant liability attorney who has the expertise and extensive knowledge necessary to determine who ultimately caused the harm and injuries you or a loved one suffered. Contact us for a free case evaluation here.