Timing is everything, particularly when it comes to your property casualty claim. It’s easy to lose sight of deadlines when the lengthy process makes your claim feel like the land that time forgot. Here in Louisiana, many homeowners in the Baton Rouge area are still dealing with the aftermath of the devastating August 2016 floods. While residents filed thousands of insurance claims in the wake of the catastrophe, many are still waiting on the necessary repair funds to be awarded and released in-full. It’s a scene to which we have attended time and time again as property casualty attorneys in a particularly disaster-prone area of the country. If you are an individual who has experienced underpayment firsthand, listen up: time may be running out to take the necessary legal action to afford all necessary home repairs.The law oftentimes requires legal action to be taken within a certain period after the alleged incident. You may know these kinds of restrictions as statutes of limitations. Insurance claims are subject to these periods of prescription.
The timetable for filing claims against your insurance company in a property casualty case is limited to two years. That means for residents of Baton Rouge who were affected by the August 2016 flood, the deadline to take legal action against your insurance company will be this coming August of 2018! For a more precise date, your original proof of loss can be consulted. The two-year period starts from the date of loss. That being said, consulting a lawyer immediately is recommended. Waiting to the last minute does not account for the sign-up process or preliminary correspondence between your lawyer and insurer.
As we enter the rainy season, it is important to keep these prescription periods in mind as many kinds of claims are bound to come about. From wind claims to mold, the clock starts ticking the minute the damage is done. It’s recommended to call a lawyer at the first sign of underpayment to ensure action is taken in a timely fashion.
Underpayment or lack of payment can sometimes result in a claim for bad faith against your insurer. Bad faith can pertain to anything from failure to adjust to failure to payout entirely. For claims not pertaining to flood insurance, bad faith is subject to different time constraints. A bad faith claim can be made up to one year following the action in question. Unfortunately, bad faith is not an issue that can be raised against federal entities, such as FEMA or NFIP. Because flood insurance is federally-backed, the possibility for an extra year to act is not an option.
Regardless of what kind of claim you are encountering, staying vigilant to your role in an insurance case is crucial if you are finding yourself in a time crunch. Make sure you have all related documents organized and be prepared to entertain requests from your lawyer. Of course, sometimes even the best efforts cannot beat a tight deadline. As property casualty attorneys, nothing troubles us more when we hear from a potential client we could have helped given the details of their situation but cannot because it is simply too late. While claims seem to inherently drag on forever, taking action now has the potential to award you your time back as much as it does your insurance compensation.