Hurricane Harvey Damage Report

New Data Could Help Find Overlooked Hurricane Harvey Victims

It’s been over a year since Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast, and many people are still in the process of rebuilding. Part of the difficulty in rebuilding is identifying areas damaged and the extent of damages. Luckily for Hurricane Harvey victims, the city is utilizing new data and modeling to help find overlooked victims to provide them with aid needed to complete recovery.

New Data and Models

To understand Harvey’s devastation, the city of Houston is turning to advanced modeling. The city is using a wide range of data regarding Harvey, including meteorological data, and combining it with the city’s environmental information. Then, an analytics company called Civis Analytics runs that data through predictive models. The models are able to recreate the storm so researchers can zoom in on all areas of the city that were affected and examine the damage in detail, something that is impossible to do in real-time as a storm is occurring.

How New Data Can Help

Previous to this method, the damage done by a storm was measured by applications for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA. This method has some serious shortcomings, including the fact that the agency only considers “verified losses,” which means the damages must be at least $8,000 for homeowners and $2,000 for renters. Of course, FEMA also has application deadlines, so any victims that miss the deadline aren’t included in FEMA’s estimated cost of the storm. Finally, FEMA also rejects a lot of claims – and those claims don’t end up included in the estimated damages for a natural disaster. For example, after Hurricane Harvey, FEMA rejected more than 182,000 applications.

Simply put, relying on FEMA data to measure the damage wrought by a storm and to identify the areas affected leaves out far too many natural disaster victims. How many exactly? Predictive models found FEMA’s estimate of Hurricane Harvey damages was actually short by $3 billion dollars. The city has only been given $1.15 billion from FEMA for recovery so far, which means $1.85 billion is still needed for Houston to recover.

Other Factors Slowing Down Recovery

Accurate data is an important step to helping all of Houston recover, but it isn’t the only obstacle. Insurance companies are using a wide variety of bad faith tactics to wrongfully deny valid Hurricane Harvey insurance claims. Many property owners are still waiting for answers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the catastrophic flooding caused by the Addicks and Barker reservoirs and controlled dam releases.

Raizner Law Is Proudly Supporting Hurricane Harvey Victims

Raizner Law wants to see every Houstonian make a full recovery from Hurricane Harvey. If you are struggling with an insurance company or if your home or business was flooded by the reservoirs, contact us today to see how we can help.

NCAA Concussion Lawsuit

High School Football Player Files Lawsuit After Life-Altering Concussion

Thousand of teenagers participate in playing football. As one of America’s favorite sports, it’s no wonder high schools all around the country have football teams. Growing evidence is showing concussions sustained during play are having devastating consequences for players. This was the case for a high school football player who has filed a lawsuit against his school district after suffering life-altering injuries from a concussion sustained during a football game.

Helmet-to-helmet Hit Results in Lasting Side Effects

A Texas teenager attending Sante Fe High School was a promising football player. During a 2016 scrimmage during his sophomore year, the teenager sustained a helmet-to-helmet hit that would prove to be a pivotal moment in his life. The teenager texted his mother after practice that he had a terrible headache. He began suffering from vomiting, drastic mood swings, and had trouble balancing and concentrating.

A doctor at the Concussion Center at Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital eventually diagnosed him with a severe concussion. The teenager was told his symptoms indicated he had suffered from at least one prior concussion that went untreated.

After his diagnosis, the teenager suffered from headaches every day for months. It’s been over two years since the incident, and the teen still suffers from migraines, is extremely sensitive to light requiring him to wear sunglasses indoors, and still hasn’t been cleared by doctors to play any sport.

The teen’s parents have filed a lawsuit against Sante Fe School District for failing to protect their son from concussions. His parents describe how the dedication to football in small towns can lead young players to avoid reporting concussions for fear of being considered weak. For a long time, many players were told to “shake it off” or “walk it off” if they were suffering from concussion symptoms after a play. This attitude has been devastating for football players who now suffer from long-term consequences.

Studies Link Concussions To Long-Term Complications

Studies linking concussions sustained playing football with long-term health problems have existed for decades. Neurological conditions commonly associated with concussions sustained playing football include trouble concentrating, poor memory, mood swings, depression, tremors or seizures, and headaches, among other debilitating conditions. Concussions can also lead to other degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia, and ALS.

Football Players Are Fighting Back

While lawsuits against high school football programs are still in the early phases, college football players have taken massive strides forward in holding the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and universities accountable for not protecting students from concussions sustained during play.

Raizner Law is representing former college football players who are suffering from the long-term implications of concussions against the NCAA. The NCAA and universities had a responsibility to protect students, but they failed to do so and need to be held responsible. If you played for an NCAA regulated college football team, contact us today to learn how we can help you obtain compensation.

A man holding an umbrella stands in front of damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

Over 13,000 Hurricane Maria Insurance Claims Remain Open

It’s been over a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, but the island is still far from a full recovery, due in large part to the continued non-cooperation of the insurance industry. Puerto Ricans have been forced to close down their businesses, drain their savings, and/or resign to living and working in buildings with structural damage because they have not received the insurance payments necessary to make repairs.

Despite plenty of time to handle claims, insurance companies in Puerto Rico have been slow to act, leaving at least 13,600 insurance claims still open.

Insurance Companies are Disregarding the Law

Under Puerto Rico law, insurance claims must be completed and processed within 90 days unless there are extenuating circumstances. While companies did receive a large number of claims in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, they made insufficient effort to promptly handle them. Puerto Rico’s Commissioner of Insurance levied fines against numerous insurance companies in March of this year for failing to resolve claims in a timely manner. Despite over $2 million in fines, insurance companies still aren’t picking up the pace when processing claims.

Reinsurance in Puerto Rico Lengthens the Claim Process

Much of the insurance market in Puerto Rico is ceded to foreign reinsurers. While this helps prevent insolvency by spreading out the risk, it also adds an extra step into the already lengthy and complicated insurance claims process. Reinsurers often have to approve payments on claims, but most of them are in no hurry to pay out. When natural disasters strike, insurance companies stand to pay billions of dollars on claim payouts under their insurance contracts

What Can Policyholders Do?

Policyholders who regularly pay their premiums deserve full protection under their policies. Insurance companies have no right to unreasonably delay or withhold payments. Policyholders struggling with their insurance companies can file a lawsuit with the help of an experienced insurance lawyer.

Raizner Law Can Help

Puerto Rico must not 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. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

NCAA Claim

Former NCAA Football Player Files Lawsuit After Concussion Contributed To Parkinson’s

Football has been a staple of American culture for decades, but the sport’s reign may be quickly coming to an end. Former football players are finding out the hard way that the concussions sustained during play can have long-term consequences. This is the case for a former Slippery Rock University football player whose time playing college football contributed to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Numerous Head Injuries Resulted in Health Concerns

The former Rock played as an offensive lineman from 1976-1978. During practices and games, he received numerous blows to the head. These concussive and sub-concussive hits caused serious side effects throughout his life. Once his college football career was over, the former lineman suffered from twitching, muscle atrophy, loss of mobility, and slurred speech, among other conditions.

By 2012, he was significantly worse and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive degenerative disorder that affects the nervous system. People with Parkinson’s often suffer from tremors, slow movement, rigid muscles, and difficulty speaking and writing, among other symptoms. Players were never warned playing football could have long-term neurological consequences. He is one of hundreds of former NCAA football players suing the NCAA for failing to protect them from known dangers.

The Link Between Concussions and Neurological Conditions

Studies have shown concussions sustained while playing football can lead to degenerative neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS, among others. When a person suffers a concussion, brain cells become damaged and die. Anytime a brain cell dies, it releases a protein that can spread brain cell death to surrounding cells. If people are exposed to continual concussions, the brain can quickly become riddled with brain cell killing proteins.

Organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have known for decades that concussions cause serious long-term conditions. Instead of protecting players, the NCAA continued to profit from the sport without implementing concussion protocols that could have prevented many injuries. Raizner Law is working with many former NCAA football players to hold the organization responsible for failing to protect students.

Learn About Your Legal Options

The NCAA knew about the dangers of concussions yet chose to keep the dangers quiet. If you played NCAA football and are suffering from neurological conditions, contact Raizner Law today. We can help explain your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf.

Family stands in front of home damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

Katy, Texas Homeowners File Hurricane Harvey Damage Lawsuit

Raizner Law has filed a Hurricane Harvey damage lawsuit on behalf of Katy, Texas homeowners against Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London after their Hurricane Harvey insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

On July 26, 2017, the subject property, an 11,000 square foot home, was struck by a hailstorm that damaged the building’s exterior and envelope. Just one month later, the property was further damaged by Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore along the Texas coast as a Category 4 Hurricane on August 25, 2017.

As a result of Harvey’s extreme winds, including mesocyclones and rain, the property suffered substantial damage. Sizeable portions of the property’s roof previously damaged during the policy period by hail were further compromised by wind, causing water intrusion and substantial interior and exterior damage.

Immediately after the storm, the plaintiffs promptly filed a claim with Underwriters, alerting them to the extensive damages and asking them to cover the cost of repairs pursuant to the policy.

In an effort to assist Underwriters with the claims process and to mitigate any further damages to the property, the plaintiffs engaged a public adjuster to assist with estimating repair costs. Underwriters and its preferred vendor ignored much of the evidence, including a detailed estimate confirming damages of over $600,000.00.

Underwriters at Lloyd’s Acted In Bad Faith

Underwriters’ claims-handling process resulted in a wrongful denial that omitted a wealth of facts, physical evidence, obvious wind damages, and meteorological data from Hurricane Harvey supporting the plaintiffs’ claim. Underwriters unreasonably pinned the loss on anything but the hail and windstorms, an action designed to save the insurer hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to the property and the business.

Our clients cite numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation, and misrepresentation of the policy under which it affords coverage to the plaintiff. Our clients also allege Lloyd’s violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Harvey Damage Lawsuit

If your insurance company is denying your Hurricane Harvey property damage claim, immediately contact the experienced insurance lawyers at Raizner Law. We can help you pursue compensation by filing a Hurricane Harvey damage lawsuit. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your

Hurricane Harvey Victims

Houston Finishes Comments On Hurricane Harvey Recovery Plans

For victims of Hurricane Harvey, recovery remains an ongoing process. Homes that were inundated with floodwaters are still in the process of being rebuilt, and property owners are still looking for answers from the city about how the flooding happened. Although recovery has been slow, one huge step has been completed as the city of Houston and Harris County complete a comment period on Hurricane Harvey Recovery plans.

There are currently plans to use approximately $2.3 billion in federal housing funds to help residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. The city of Houston will use $1.1 billion for recovery, and Harris County will use the remaining $1.2 million. These plans still need to be approved by the federal government, but once in place, the plans will provide the necessary funds for Houston to recover.

How The Money Will Be Utilized

Harris County has released a proposal for how the $1.2 billion will be used for recovery and prevention. The County’s proposal includes:

  • $222 million for an affordable rent program
  • $211 million for the Harris County Homeowner Assistance Program
  • $209 million in local infrastructure improvements
  • $200 million for home buyouts
  • $115 million for new single-family home construction
  • $55 million for local planning
  • $16 million in program administration cos
  • $15 million for a homeowner reimbursement program
  • $7.5 million for a homelessness prevention program

The City of Houston focused its proposal on rebuilding homes, and has divided its $1.1 billion accordingly:

  • $600 million for repairing or building single family homes
  • $375 million for repairing or building apartments

Unanswered Questions From Hurricane Harvey Victims

While federal aid will help the city rebuild and recover, the proposals don’t address the unanswered questions from the thousands of property owners affected by the Addicks and Barker reservoir releases. Many property owners learned their homes were built in a floodplain only once Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall caused their homes to flood. Homeowners downstream of the reservoirs also want to know how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will compensate them for homes destroyed by the Army Corps’ decision to begin controlled releases from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs.

Getting Help After Flooding

Raizner Law is currently helping victims of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs flooding in lawsuits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If your home was flooded by the reservoirs, contact us today to see how we can help.