Tag: Insurance Lawyers

wind and hailstorm

Dallas, Texas Wind and Hailstorm Property Damage Lawsuit

Our client, a local Dallas property owner, filed suit against American Economy Insurance Company and American States Insurance Company for grossly underestimating property damage claims caused by a wind and hailstorm and denying proper payment under Texas law.

May 2011 Texas Wind and Hailstorm

On May 24, 2011, a severe wind and hailstorm swept through Dallas County and caused significant property damage to the plaintiff’s roof systems, HVAC, windows, exterior, interior, ceilings, furnishings, and more. Upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff immediately filed an insurance claim for the damages sustained from wind and hail.

American Economy and American States assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to assess the damage to the plaintiff’s property that were inadequately and improperly trained to handle this type of claim. The insurers assigned a local adjuster to the case that failed to engage consultants to objectively evaluate the damages to the property. The local adjuster refused to acknowledge obvious damages, and instead prepared two brief estimates of damages that: (1) grossly underestimated the extent and value of damages to the commercial property and (2) represented that there was no compensable hail damage to the properties. As a result, our client’s claim was denied and no payments were issued.

The Insurance Carriers Violated the Texas Insurance Code

Because the insurance carriers wrongfully denied our client’s claim, our client was forced to hire its own consultant to independently evaluate the property damage. The client’s consultant identified substantial damage far beyond what the insurance carriers acknowledged. Despite this, the insurance carriers still refused to pay for the necessary repairs to the property as required under the terms of the insurance policies and under Texas law.

Our client cites violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to attempt to effectuate a prompt, fair and equitable settlement, failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims, and failure to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, among others.

Wind and Hailstorm Commercial Property Damage Lawyers

If your commercial insurance carrier has denied, delayed, underpaid, or disputed a wind and hail damage claim, you need an experienced team of commercial property insurance lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Raizner Slania have extensive experience helping policyholders obtain their rightful payments from insurance companies. Contact us today for a free consultation.

hailstorm property damage

Hailstorm Property Damage Lawsuit Filed in Dallas County

Our client filed suit against Endurance American Specialty Insurance Company (Endurance) and Engle Martin & Associates Inc. after its commercial hailstorm property damage claim was underpaid.

October 2014 Dallas County Hailstorm Property Damage

On October 2, 2014, a wind and hailstorm caused significant property damage in Dallas County, Texas including damages to the plaintiff’s roof and interiors. Immediately upon discovering the damages, the plaintiff filed insurance claims under its policy for the damage caused by the storm.

The insurer of the property, Endurance American Specialty Insurance Company, assigned adjusters that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, Endurance assigned the claim to an internal adjuster who is not licensed in the state of Texas. In turn, this adjuster reassigned the claim to Engle Martin & Associates, which again reassigned the claim to its own local adjuster. This adjuster was not equipped to handle this sort of claim and failed to perform a thorough investigation of the property. As a result of the substandard investigation, the plaintiff was paid only a small portion of its commercial property insurance claim, the rest of its claim was denied, and the claim was closed. The plaintiff requested that the damage be re-evaluated, but despite this request for a second look, again its damages were not acknowledged and its claim was denied.

Violation of Texas Insurance Law and Acting in Bad Faith

The insurance carrier failed to acknowledge obvious commercial property damage and underpaid large portions of our client’s claim for repairs under its insurance policy. Because of this, our client was forced to retain an attorney to prosecute its claim for insurance benefits. The insurance carrier continued to delay and/or deny payment for the necessary repairs, which has caused a significant negative economic impact on our client’s business, worry, distress, and continuing economic and physical damage.

Our client cites violations of the Texas Insurance Code including a failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and refusal to pay a claim without a reasonable investigation, among others. Our client alleges that the insurance carrier acted in bad faith and violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

Dallas County Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys

If your commercial insurance carrier has acted in bad faith and denied, underpaid, delayed, or disputed your property damage claim, the attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. We have extensive experience helping policyholders obtain their rightful payments from insurance companies. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t owe us anything unless we recover for you financially. Call us today for a free consultation.

Commercial Insurance

Commercial Plaintiff Sues Insurance Provider in Independence, Kansas

Our client, the owner of a multi-tenant office building, filed suit against Seneca Insurance Company after its property damage claims were denied and not properly paid according to Kansas law.

February 2015 Freezing Temperatures Cause Water Damage

On February 5, 2015, our client suffered severe property damage when freezing temperatures caused the boiler system in its commercial structure to fail. Upon realizing the damages, the plaintiff immediately filed an insurance claim under its policy for the water damage caused by the failed boiler.

April 2015 Wind and Hailstorm

On April 20, 2015, a severe windstorm and hailstorm caused property damage to the roof system, HVAC, windows, exterior, interior, ceilings, furnishings, and more. Again, upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff immediately filed another property damage insurance claim.

The insurance carrier assigned agents and adjusters to assess the property damage who were not qualified to handle these types of commercial property claims. Our client asserts that the adjuster performed a haphazard inspection of the property and refused to acknowledge obvious visible damage. Throughout the claims process, the insurance carrier refused to provide answers to questions presented by the insured and also otherwise delayed the process. Because of the inadequate inspection of the property, both commercial insurance property damage claims were denied and no payments were issued.

The Insurance Carrier Acted in Bad Faith

The insurance carrier wrongfully denied our client’s property damage claims for repairs under the insurance policy. Because of this, our client was forced to hire its own consultant, at its own expense, to independently evaluate the property damage. Our client’s consultant identified substantial damage far beyond what the insurance carrier and/or adjusters acknowledged. Despite this, the insurance carrier still refused to pay for necessary repairs to the property as required under the terms of the insurance policy.

Our client asserts that Seneca Insurance breached its contract by refusing to comply with its obligation to pay policy benefits, and breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing by not fairly and in good faith processing its claim and by refusing to properly investigate and effectively denying insurance benefits.

Commercial Insurance Claims Attorneys

If your commercial insurance carrier has underpaid, denied, delayed, or disputed a property damage claim, the experienced insurance litigation attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. We handle all bad faith insurance litigation cases nationwide on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay us anything unless we help you recover on your claim. Please contact us today to discuss your case.

40 Under 40

Amy Hargis: Top 40 Under 40

Texas mass tort and bad faith insurance litigation attorney Amy Hargis has been selected for inclusion in The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40. Membership is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those trial lawyers practicing civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law.  Ms. Hargis was nominated by her peers and selected for inclusion in the category of civil plaintiff law.

After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at Texas A&M University in 2008. Ms. Hargis attended South Texas College of Law where she graduated magna cum laude  in 2011. While in law school, she was a Dean’s Merit Scholar and served both as the Note and Comment Editor for the South Texas Law Review and the Managing Student Editor for the Construction Law Journal. She was active in the advocacy program and earned five CALI Excellence Awards for her academic performance in the classroom.

Active with various professional associations, she serves on the Editorial Board of The Houston Lawyer, a Houston Bar Association publication, and is a member of the Young Alumni Council at South Texas College of Law. Ms. Hargis is also an active member of the American Association For Justice, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Houston Trial Lawyers Association Women’s Caucus.

The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 includes top trial lawyers from each state who are younger than the age of 40.  Invitees have superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership. Selection is based on a multi-phase process that includes peer nominations and third-party research. The group promotes the pursuit of justice for those injured by the negligence of others and public education about the importance of access to courts and the right of trial by jury.

Ms. Hargis handles a nationwide docket of pharmaceutical and medical device cases against some of the largest drug companies in the world, as well as insurance disputes involving commercial properties such as apartment complexes, hotels, office buildings, and churches

Typhoon

Hurricane Classifications

While it might be several months away from the official start of the 2016 hurricane season, it’s never too early to get prepared. The first step in preparing for a hurricane is to understand the potential classifications.

Hurricanes are classified by their maximum sustained winds measured in miles per hour (mph). Every hurricane starts out as a tropical depression moving at less than 38 mph. If the tropical depression continues to grow, it is then categorized as a tropical storm with a maximum of 73 mph winds. Both tropical storms and tropical depressions can cause heavy rains and flooding, and should be watched carefully in case they upgrade to a hurricane.

Hurricane Classifications and Their Damages

Category 1 hurricanes have maximum sustained winds between 74 and 95 mph. While this category usually produces no structural damage to a building, it can easily blow roof shingles off, break large branches of trees, and cause minor flooding. Category 1 hurricanes often cause power outages that can last from several days to a week.

Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds between 96 and 110 mph that can cause major roof and siding damage. These storms can also uproot shallow trees that block roads, making recovery after the storm difficult. The power outages associated with a Category 2 hurricane can last anywhere from several days to several weeks.

Categories 3 and above are considered major hurricanes. A Category 3 hurricane has winds between 111 and 129 mph and will cause significant damage to the area it hits. Homes and businesses can experience severe damage and complete removal of roof decking. Flooding near the landfall site may destroy small homes and continue to flood far inland. Power outages can last for several weeks.

Category 4 hurricanes have sustained winds between 130 and 156 mph. Homes and businesses can suffer severe damage, including complete removal of the roof structure or exterior walls. Extensive flooding can carry large debris for miles and pose a threat to the structures that are still standing. Power lines will be downed and trees will be uprooted, causing isolation that will make it extremely challenging to begin recovery. The area hit by the hurricane may be uninhabitable for weeks or months following the storm’s landfall.

Category 5 is the most devastating type of hurricane, with maximum sustained winds greater than 157 mph. These hurricanes cause catastrophic damage to homes and businesses, often completely destroying them. Widespread flooding can bury entire cities and make rescue efforts challenging. Downed power lines will take months to restore and the area hit by the hurricane will be uninhabitable for months following the natural disaster.

Raizner Slania Has Extensive Experience Handling Hurricane Insurance Claims Denials

The catastrophic devastation caused by a hurricane can leave you feeling utterly alone. The attorneys at Raizner Slania have helped homeowners and business owners across the country when their property has been destroyed or severely damaged by hurricanes. We are litigation professionals who know the insurance business and how to protect your rights. Contact us today to for a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php

London

Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Property Insurance Lawyer

  • Why Should I Hire A Lawyer?

The law can be complicated, especially with regard to an area as specific as property insurance. Your claims may very well lead to a court case, and it is not a good idea to represent yourself in court against a well-funded, extremely experienced insurance defense attorney. Hiring a lawyer can also increase the amount an insurance company is willing to pay because their risk of losing in court becomes greater when you have a property insurance lawyer on your side. Insurance companies have large and experienced armies of lawyers, experts, and insurance adjusters. Unfortunately, their marching orders are often to pay the minimum amount on all claims, and to deny claims whenever possible. If you stand to lose a lot of money due to business interruption or extensive repairs to commercial property, among other issues, you should hire a lawyer.

  • How Long Have You Been In Practice?

The number of years a lawyer has been in practice will directly affect the amount of experience he or she has. Jeff Raizner has practiced law for 23 years, almost all of that time successfully handling claims against all major international insurance carriers. Many less experienced lawyers have entered the property insurance practice arena, offering lower fees and other promises; but, these attorneys may not have the experience needed to get you the most money possible for your claims. Jeff Raizner, Andrew Slania, and their team of attorneys represent clients in complex insurance disputes nationwide. Mr. Raizner is an active member of the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters and the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.  He also regularly writes and speaks on insurance law issues across the country.

  • Have You Handled This Type Of Case Before? If So, How Many Cases?

Raizner Slania has handled thousands of both commercial and residential property damage insurance cases throughout Texas and across the country. Be sure to ask any lawyer you speak to how many cases like yours they have handled before and if they won.

  • Do You Have Trial Experience?

Almost all of Raizner Slania’s clients are involved in active litigation. Mr. Raizner himself has appeared in litigation on behalf of clients thousands of times for insurance-related issues. Litigation means that a trial is always on the horizon; therefore, our lawyers work up our cases always with an eye toward trial.

  • Have You Ever Been Accused Of Professional Misconduct?

In Texas, you do not have to be a client to file a grievance. Anyone can report allegations of professional misconduct or problems with a lawyer.  None of the attorneys at Raizner Slania have been reported to the State Bar of Texas for grievance issues. Some reasons that lawyers you interview may have been reported for misconduct include a lack of communication with the client, a failure to appear in court for a hearing, missing case-related deadlines, and/or failing to pay the client his/her portion of the case proceeds If you are in Texas and you have questions about the grievance process, call the Grievance Information Helpline at (800) 932-1900.

  • How Much Do I Pay In Attorneys Fees?

Since you are hiring a property insurance lawyer to help you recover financial damages, it is important to ask how much of your recovery the lawyer will be taking as a fee. There are many different options for legal fee structuring. While under the law, insurance companies are obligated to pay all attorney’s fees and costs if your lawyer wins the case, regardless, you will not have to pay us any attorney’s fees or costs unless and until we recovery money for you. Our firm handles cases on what is called a “contingency fee” basis. In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the client’s recovery. If the client wins the case, the lawyer’s fee comes out of the money awarded to the client. If the client loses the case, neither the client nor the lawyer will get any money, but the client will not be required to pay the attorney for the work done on the case.

  • How Do I Know When During The Claims Process I Should Hire A Property Insurance Lawyer?

You should look at hiring an insurance lawyer as early as possible in the claims process; however, a good marker of time to go by is when and if your claim is denied. When an insurance company denies your claim for property damage, it means that the company does not agree with what you have alleged in your claim. Try to get as detailed of a response as possible as to why your claim was denied so that you can take this information in with you to meet with lawyers. After the initial denial, insurance companies often have administrative hearings and appeals internally that must take place before a lawsuit can be filed.