Flooding in the Gulf Coast region is often a side effect of the powerful storms that the region is subject to, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and torrential rain storms.
In low-lying areas, the ground becomes saturated and water accumulates when it cannot drain off quickly enough. This is often exacerbated when rivers and streams overfill and flood over their banks as water from the flood plain flows into them. This may happen rapidly, in the case of flash floods, or over a period of weeks, when the overall level of precipitation is high. Flooding can also occur when excessive water falls on an impermeable surface, such as road pavement and overflows into surrounding areas.
In coastal areas throughout the Gulf region, flooding in estuaries is caused by tidal surges from high winds combined with low barometric pressure, often made worse by higher than normal flow from rivers upstream.
Storms at sea can cause coastal flooding when a storm surge creates waves that flow over seawalls or levees.
FEMA and Catastrophic Flooding
Catastrophic flooding, for example the flooding that occurred in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, is usually the result of a combination of a natural catastrophe like a hurricane or seismic event and an infrastructure failure, in this case the collapse of the levees.
Flood insurance is generally not a part of a standard homeowner’s or commercial property policy but is available as additional coverage. If the property lies in a flood zone, a financial institution writing a mortgage will require flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program [NFIP] is a federal program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), created to provide affordable flood insurance coverage. Under the program, private insurance companies offer the insurance, but the terms and conditions of the flood insurance policies are determined by FEMA and cannot be changed without the government’s approval. The insurance company is responsible for settling the flood damage claims by their policyholders, who need to adhere to a formal claim procedure in a timely manner or risk having their claims denied.
Business Interruption Insurance
Catastrophic flooding will usually bring businesses in the affected area to a standstill. Business owners may protect themselves by purchasing business interruption insurance to cover losses during the recovery period.
How the McDonald Law Firm Can Help with Flood-related Claims
Flood damage in catastrophic events is assessed by estimators and adjusters who may be inexperienced and overworked when the damage is widespread. Excessive delays, denied claims, and insufficient settlements often result, making it prudent for policyholders to bring in an experienced property damage attorney to protect their legal rights to an adequate and timely settlement.
The lawyers at the McDonald Law Firm have extensive experience handling flood damage claims in the states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico—Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. We are well-versed in the required proof of loss that the NFIP requires of residential and business claimants who have suffered flood-related damage to their property, as well as losses from interruption of business, following catastrophic and other flooding events. We work with experienced flood loss property damage adjusters and engineers to independently obtain an accurate assessment of your flood damage.
To ensure that you as an individual or business owner receive a full, adequate, and timely settlement of your property damage and/or business interruption claim, call the McDonald Law Firm immediately after the loss to discuss your legal options with an experienced flood damage attorney. We work on a contingency fee arrangement, so you only pay if we win a recovery for you.