Hurricane Ike Claims Can Still Be Filed In Texas Courts, Houston Attorney Says

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Houston lawyer Brad T. Wyly says Texas homeowners and businesses with Hurricane Ike insurance claims should consult a lawyer to review their policies and assess their claims for storm damages.

Brad T. Wyly

The bottom line is that you may still have the right to compensation even if you haven’t taken legal action up to this point, but that doesn’t mean you should risk going any longer without taking important steps to protect yourself.

Even though more than two years has passed since Hurricane Ike slammed the Texas coast, the right to file a storm-related claim remains for many Texas homeowners and businesses, Houston attorney Brad T. Wyly said this week.

“Because so much time has passed and they’ve taken no legal action, there are many Texas residents and business owners who are wondering if they have lost their right to recover funds for their losses, such as structural, foundation, roof, wind and water damage,” said Wyly, the founding partner of Houston-based Wyly Law Firm, P.C.

“However, under Texas law and the provisions in their own insurance policies, their right to recover may still exist. What’s important is not to delay filing a Hurricane Ike insurance claim. Every day that passes without taking action brings a person closer to missing their claim deadline.”

Hurricane Ike crashed into the Texas coast near Galveston as a Category 2 storm on September 13, 2008. The hurricane caused an estimated $29.6 billion in damages to coastal and inland areas. It was one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Wyly says numerous homeowners and businesses in Houston and its surrounding communities in Harris and Galveston counties are still in disputes with their insurance providers over underpaid or unpaid property damage claims.

These disputes have arisen from initial claims as well as supplemental claims, which are asserted when an initial estimate of damages turns out to be lower than the actual cost.

Most insurance policies contain a provision that prohibits lawsuits from being filed more than two years after a cause of action “accrues.”

“Some policyholders think the cause of action accrued on the day the storm hit, but that’s not true. In most cases, the cause of action accrued on the day your claim was denied. That means the claims deadline hasn’t arrived yet for numerous policyholders throughout Texas,” Wyly said.

“Also, if your insurer was the Texas Windstorm Association [the state-run insurer of last resort], there is no time limit for filing a claim under those policies.”

According to Wyly, the claims most commonly alleged in Hurricane Ike lawsuits have been breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and violations of the Texas Insurance Code. These claims can arise when an insurer unreasonably denies a claim or delays payment.

He also pointed out that the Texas statute of limitations -- the time period in which a lawsuit can be filed -- for a breach of contract claim is four years.

“The bottom line is that you may still have the right to compensation even if you haven’t taken legal action up to this point, but that doesn’t mean you should risk going any longer without taking important steps to protect yourself,” Wyly said.

“Our main goal is to make sure Texas homeowners and businesses who suffered losses in this terrible storm receive the full amount of funds that they deserve and need to get their lives back on track.”

About Wyly Law Firm, P.C.

The Wyly Law Firm, P.C., handles cases in Houston and the surrounding communities, including Baytown, Harris County, Pasadena, Galveston and Beaumont. The firm also handles business law issues and disputes. Attorney Brad T. Wyly, the firm’s founder, is a skilled negotiator and lawyer. Wyly has extensive experience in personal injury cases, including claims involving complex accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths. He was named a Rising Star in Law & Politics magazine in 2005 and 2006. To contact Wyly Law Firm, P.C., call (713) 574-7034 or use the firm’s online form.

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