Hurricane Michael Claims in Florida, Alabama and the Southeast
Aggressive help for policyholders who sustained losses in Michael
If you filed a claim after sustaining losses in Hurricane Michael, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Warhurst Law is representing homeowners, commercial property owners, non-profits, and churches who suffered serious losses from Hurricane Michael and the floods and tornadoes which followed it. We are also reopening claims for applicable parties whose policies entitle them to more compensation. Contact us in Mobile today if you took a hit in Hurricane Michael.
A quick look at Hurricane Michael’s damage
Hurricane Michael roared through the Southeast United Sates between October 10, 2018 and October 13, 2018. FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) declared a state of emergency for numerous locations. The Florida Panhandle took the brunt of the storm, but the hurricane caused destruction in Alabama, too, as winds reached 70mph in parts of that state. According to an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State, Hurricane Michael was “the strongest hurricane ever to come ashore along the Florida Panhandle in records dating back to 1851.”
In addition to the high winds, the cyclone caused flash flooding delivering four to eight inches of rain in a short span in many areas and up to a foot in some locations.
According to a Global Catastrophe Recap, Hurricane Michael caused:
- 45 deaths
- Extensive wind (up to 155 mph) and coastal damage
- Storm surges of nine feet
- Economic losses were estimated at $2.3 billion to timber industries and another $2 billion to the agricultural sector
- Private and public insurance companies were expected to make $8 billion in payouts
Home and property damages included:
- Damage to the foundation or structure which require repairs
- Damage to the foundation or structure which were deemed total losses
- Damage to windows, doors, interior and exterior walls
- Tree damage to roofs and other parts of the home
- Electricity, plumbing, and cable damage
- Toxic exposure from chemicals, waste, and insect-borne illnesses
What made Hurricane Michael different from other storms
Hurricane Michael was recently categorized as a category 5 – an upgrade from the previous category 4 designation. That alone separates it from the pack, but Michael did a few things that were different.
The winds combined with how low the barometric pressure was led to a unique set of circumstances for this storm. The barometric pressure was important because unless your building was brand new, the wind was able to get into the building and basically implode, because of the way the unit was pressurized. The air expanded in and out, left and right, up and down, and while the actual structural components were not always as severely damaged, all the corners and doors and windows and weak spots (in and out) were cracked. This means things are going to leak.
And where there are cracks, there are leaks. And where there are leaks, over time there is water damage, swelling, and mold. And where there is water damage, swelling, and mold, there is an insurance company gleefully denying your claim for “pre-existing damage.”
But here is the thing: that damage was the result of the winds, the pressure, and the rain from Hurricane Michael. And that means that you may have been entitled to payouts for a total loss from the get-go.
You have time to file insurance claims for Hurricane Michael
Generally, home and property owners have just one year to file their insurance claim – but claims from Hurricane Michael are different, and the timelines that normally apply may not apply in your case. Our experienced insurance dispute lawyers understand when the claim period can be extended. Possible extensions include:
- Five years to file a breach of contract lawsuit, but only if the owner filed an original claim within the first year from the date of Hurricane Michael. The insurance policy is the contract.
- An additional three years for “supplemental loss” claims for hurricanes and windstorm damage. Florida also allow you to reopen claims if you have additional damage. This provision, 70132 Notice of windstorm or hurricane claim may apply if you filed your original claim within the first year and you later discover new damage. In many cases, structural defects to a home after hurricane or wind damage don’t become fully clear until you start repairs or until the condition of the home or building worsens.