Hurricane Harvey Claim

Harris County Approves New Flood Plain Maps, But Will They Come Too Late?

Harris County learned a devastating lesson during Hurricane Harvey, when widespread flooding destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Property owners learned too late that the maps outlining Houston’s flood plains were wildly out of date – and they were in the storm’s line of fire for flooding. Harris County is working to update these maps, but will they come too late for property owners?

Out Of Date Flood Maps

Flood maps utilize rainfall data to help predict the likelihood of flooding. Flood plain maps help determine where homes are allowed to be built, the cost of flood insurance, and locations for flood control projects. Unfortunately, some areas of the Harris County flood map hadn’t been updated with rainfall data since 2001. To address the outdated maps, Harris County has committed $14.5 million to update the county’s flood plain maps. The county has accepted $6.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help pay for the new maps and will be contributing $8 million of its own funds.

Although funds have been set aside for new flood plain maps, many are worried they won’t be available fast enough to help Houstonians. The maps are currently scheduled to be completed in 2023. This means Harris County residents will have to face at least four more hurricane seasons without updated flood information. While the city has been spared by any catastrophic storms so far this hurricane season, there’s no telling if we will get this lucky in the years to come.

Houston Still Struggling Through Recovery

While some affected by Hurricane Harvey have been able to rebuild completely, others are still struggling. Homes flooded by the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs dam releases are still waiting for their day in court with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Many other property owners are fighting with insurance companies over damages.

Have Questions About A Hurricane Harvey Claim?

If you are struggling with your insurance company over your Hurricane Harvey insurance claim or if the Addicks or Barker reservoirs flooded your home, contact Raizner Law today. We are proud to represent Hurricane Harvey victims and their families and help them rebuild. Contact us today for a free consultation.

dangers of concussions

High School Football Participation Is Decreasing After Mounting Concussion Research

For decades, football has been the most popular sport in America. Thousands of children across the country grew up playing football, many with a dream that one day they would play college football or even make it to the National Football League (NFL). However, football’s popularity is quickly decreasing in children, and this is due in part to mounting research about the dangers of concussions sustained during play.

Ten Years of Decline

Studies showing the dangerous long-term effects of concussions sustained while playing football have existed since the 1970s; however, it hasn’t been until the last ten years that high school football participation has decreased. According to the National Federation of High School Associations’ athletic participation survey, there has been a 6.5% decrease in 11-player football participation from its peak in 2009-2010 to the 2017-2018 school year.

A Dangerous Sport

Football is a contact sport and players frequently take hits to their bodies and their heads. For years, young kids were told to “shake it off” and keep playing, but research shows these concussive and sub-concussive hits are extremely damaging, particularly to young adults whose brains are still developing. When an individual suffers a concussion, brain cells die and release Tau proteins, or T-proteins. Over time, T-proteins actually cause more brain cells to die.

When a person suffers continual impacts to the head, T-proteins build up so much that they can cause degenerative neurological diseases such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), among others. Since there is no way to stop T-proteins from harming additional brain cells, it is incredibly important to prevent them from building up in the first place.

NCAA Failures Put Students At Risk

Fewer high school football players means less future neurological conditions. Organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) didn’t warn student athletes that playing the game could have long-term consequences; and, now these former students are suffering from Dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS, among other debilitating neurological conditions. The NCAA had a duty to protect student athletes and they let students down.

Get Help With Your NCAA Lawsuit

If you played football for an NCAA regulated team, contact Raizner Law today. We can explain your legal options and help you hold the NCAA accountable.

Reservoir Claim

Study Finds 100-Year Rain Events Will Strike Houston More Often

We use terms like “100-year events” to help understand the likelihood of certain weather events. However, they really only work if they’re accurate. According to new research, Houston needs to be prepared for more rain events. This is particularly concerning considering Houston has not been able to make much progress in flood mitigation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

100-Year Rain Events

A 100-year rain event can be thought of in two ways: (1) the rain event on average would occur once every one hundred years or (2) the rain event has a 1% chance of happening every year. A 1% chance is pretty low, but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Houston’s 100-year rain events are occurring more frequently.

A 100-year rain event can drop 13 inches of water in a 24-hour period. According to a study by NOAA, these events are closer to a 25-year event. This means that in any given year, there is a 25% chance a rain event will drop 13 inches of rain in 24 hours. Those chances are a lot worse.

The increase in rain events led the NOAA to redefine 100-year rain events for the Houston area – they are now defined by rainfall of up to 18 inches in 24 hours.

Hurricane Harvey Drops Unprecedented Rainfall

NOAA’s updating of 100-year flood events isn’t surprising for Texans who withstood Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. The National Hurricane Center determined the flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey was greater than a 1,000-year event, the highest level that’s ever been calculated. Regardless of the odds, Hurricane Harvey happened and Houston – as well as the rest of Texas – wasn’t prepared.

Two of Houston’s reservoirs, the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, were unable to hold the rainfall dropped by Hurricane Harvey. Not only did these reservoirs fill nearly to full capacity, causing flooding of thousands of homes, but controlled releases were needed to prevent catastrophic dam failure which caused flooding downstream. Houstonians can expect future rain events to cause serious property damage and the city isn’t prepared.

Get Help With Your Reservoir Claim

Houston residents upstream and downstream of the reservoirs released in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey saw first hand how unprepared Houston was for a catastrophic rain event. If the Addicks or Barker reservoir flooded your home, contact Raizner Law today. We can help explain your legal options and pursue compensation.

NCAA Claim

New Test Could Diagnose Concussions With Saliva

Although football is one of America’s favorite sports, it is also one of the most dangerous. Football players suffer repeated impacts to the head during play that can have lifelong consequences. Even though concussions are incredibly dangerous, very little is being done to help protect players from them. To help combat the dangers of concussions, one company is working to create a test that could diagnose concussions with saliva.

Quadrant Biosciences is currently conducting studies wherein they look at saliva samples to help determine whether or not a person has suffered a concussion. The test works by administering a simple mouth swab and then looking for the presence of certain molecules. The company is using micro-RNA, a protein released when the brain sustains a concussion. Studies have been able to identify concussions based on micro-RNA within the first ten minutes after sustaining a head injury. With this new technology in hand, Quadrant is teaming up with the NFL Hall of Fame Players Foundation. Players are participating in the study to help further concussion research.

Why Concussion Treatment Is Important

The brain is particularly vulnerable during the time right after a concussion occurs. Additional impacts to the head during this time can greatly increase the severity of the existing damage and contribute to the development of degenerative diseases later in life. Spotting a concussion is really difficult – there is currently no accurate way to tell if one has occurred. While it is safe to say someone has sustained a concussion if they lost consciousness, many people suffer concussions without ever losing consciousness. And we frequently lose sight of the cumulative, terrible consequences of sub-concussive blows that can add up. A test conducted in real time would be a great step toward helping reduce the long-term effects of concussions by allowing players, coaches, and doctors to immediately diagnose and treat these serious injuries.

Concussion Tests Too Late For Many

While it is incredibly important for concussion research to continue to advance, for thousands of players it is too late. Thousands of collegiate and professional football players are facing conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Dementia, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), among other serious conditions. Evidence of the dangerous consequences of concussions has existed for decades, but organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hid these dangers from players.

File An NCAA Claim Today

Former NCAA football players have a right to hold the organization responsible for putting profits before players. If you played collegiate football and suffer neurological symptoms, contact Raizner Law today. We can help explain your legal options and hold the NCAA accountable.

Hurricane Claim

How The Hurricane Category System Can Be Misleading

As a result of recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence, most people are pretty familiar with the hurricane category system. In about a year’s time, these four storms have wreaked havoc on the communities they hit. In light of these storms, many are concerned the hurricane category system can be misleading and promote a false sense of security.

How Are Hurricanes Measured?

The National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This scale rates hurricanes from 1 to 5 based on maximum sustained wind speed. Categories 3 and above are considered major hurricanes, although Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can still be extremely dangerous. The wind speeds for each hurricane category are:

  • Category 1 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 74-95 mph
  • Category 2 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 96-110 mph
  • Category 3 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 111-129 mph
  • Category 4 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 130-156 mph
  • Category 5 – Maximum Sustained Winds of 157 mph or higher

What The Category Rating System Doesn’t Measure

While winds can definitely be dangerous and can help predict the damage inflicted by a hurricane, winds alone cannot predict the entire picture of looming hurricane damage. The category rating system doesn’t measure rainfall or storm surge, which can easily prove more dangerous than wind speeds. Both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Florence unleashed relentless rainfall after coming ashore. This rainfall caused massive flooding that not only caused billions of dollars in damage, but also claimed the lives of dozens of people.

Many are calling for an updated hurricane rating system that would help better communicate a storm’s true danger. While a new rating system could help in the future, it does little for hurricane victims that have already suffered damage. It’s been over a year since both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria and homeowners and business owners along the Texas coast and across the island of Puerto Rico are still trying to rebuild after unprecedented flooding and storm damage.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Claim Today

Rebuilding after a hurricane takes time, but insurance companies operating in bad faith often slow the process down further. If your insurance company has delayed, underpaid, or denied your insurance claim, contact Raizner Law today.

Puerto Rico’s Recovery

This Hurricane Season Could Cripple Puerto Rico’s Recovery

It’s been over a year since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and caused catastrophic damage. Although the island is rarely in the news these days, life has not returned to normal for many Puerto Ricans. The island is still struggling to rebuild its infrastructure and many are worried the island will not be able to withstand even a small storm.

Hurricane Recovery Is A Long Road

Hurricane season is now at its peak, and Hurricane Maria remains on the minds of many Puerto Ricans. The damage to the island’s infrastructure was catastrophic. The island’s power grid was destroyed and damage to roads and highways prevented FEMA workers and needed supplies from reaching the interior of the island. This has continued to cause problems for rebuilding, and some Puerto Ricans waited over nine months to have power restored. Even for those whose power was restored earlier, the power grid was and still is incredibly fragile. Power outages are a frequent occurrence.

Damaged roads and infrastructure aren’t the only obstacles Puerto Ricans are facing. Insurance companies have been slow to pay out on valid claims. Much of the Puerto Rican insurance market has been sold to foreign reinsurers. These reinsurers have been happy to collect premiums from policyholders, but now that it’s their turn to evaluate and pay out on claims they have gone silent. Puerto Rico’s Commissioner of Insurance has already levied several million dollars in fines, but many of the insurance companies remain recalcitrant.

Puerto Rico Remains Extremely Fragile

There are several storms brewing in the Atlantic that could spell disaster for an already struggling Puerto Rico. The island was drenched last week by Tropical Storm Isaac, which caused power outages across the island. Now more than ever, the island needs help to continue to repair and protect themselves from new threats. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten about the struggles the people of Puerto Rico are still facing and others have blatantly denied the storm’s damage.

President Trump Denies Hurricane Maria Death Toll

For the people of Puerto Rico, the greatest loss experienced on the island was the loss of life. Puerto Ricans know the death toll firsthand because they lost loved ones, but President Donald Trump has consistently denied and refused to acknowledge the enormous loss of life caused by the hurricane. In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump claimed the estimated death toll of nearly 3,000 was a conspiracy by the Democratic Party.

The 3,000-person death toll estimate came from a study by independent researchers at George Washington University commissioned by the Puerto Rico government. Researchers found 16,608 documented deaths on the island from September 2017 to February 2018. This number is 2,975 deaths higher than the predicted mortality rates for Puerto Rico, meaning Hurricane Maria caused the additional 2,975 deaths. Other studies have also found the death toll is much higher than original estimates of 6-18 people.

Raizner Law Is Proud To Help Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. The insurance lawyers at Raizner Law are proud to help Puerto Rican business owners with their Hurricane Maria insurance claims. We understand the island is facing desperate times and are working tirelessly to help policyholders get what they rightfully deserve under their policies. Contact us today to see how we can help.