Attorney LaHatte of LaHatte Law, LLC has won approximately $61,000 for his client, who was denied an insurance claim after her home was damaged by Hurricane Isaac in 2012. The kicker of the case is that her policy coverage was only $20,000, meaning she won more than triple what she could’ve have been given had her insurer acted in good faith originally. This ruling covers $16,000 for damages covered under her insurance, $32,000 as a penalty for insurance company’s bad faith tactics, and $13,000 for attorney fees and cost of the trial. Big wins like this are what our New Orleans insurance bad faith attorneys are all about; we love helping our clients through thick and thin, and against the toughest of odds. Take a look at how this case played out.
Details of the Hurricane Isaac Case
Our client – to keep matters anonymous, we will call her Ms. Willard – evacuated her Westwego home due to the approaching Hurricane Isaac in August 2012. When she came back, she found multiple leaks throughout her home that logically had been caused by the wind, rain, and force of the hurricane. As a good policy holder should do, she immediately reported these leaks to her insurer, who we will call Secured Insurance (SI).
Rather than sending an official inspector to evaluate the hurricane damage, SI sent an untrained sales agent, who only took 9 photographs before claiming that there was only minor damage to some shingles and fascia. An insurance adjuster at the company then used that preliminary information to conclude that no other inspection was necessary. Willard’s claim was then denied because SI believed the damage done would amount to less than the $1,000 deductible on the policy.
Our client objected to the denial but the company essentially ignored her. Jump to more than a year later, a small fire erupted in Willard’s home, which required roof repair to fix. The expert contractor that was called to help Willard – we will call him Andy – discovered that her home had substantial storm damage to the roof. After she explained to him about what had transpired with SI, he advised her to file a lawsuit because it appeared that her claim had been mishandled.
Our team at LaHatte Law was contacted to help Willard create her case and argue that an insufficient inspection and minimal information had been gathered before her claim was denied by SI. Andy’s testimony played a crucial role in building her argument, as it went undisputed by the defendants. SI stated during the trial that only $3,120 should be necessary to repair the roof but Andy was insisted that upwards of $19,000 would be needed to complete the replacement. The court found that SI had used bad faith and deliberate denials in bad faith, as they did not make appropriate attempts to evaluate the damage or the claim. This resulted in a great victory for our client.
Click here to view a copy of the Judgment.
If you would like to know more about our services here at LaHatte Law, we encourage you to contact our New Orleans insurance bad faith lawyer today.