“Hi, yes…I would like to talk to an attorney about an insurance company refusing to pay me for damages to my house….” I'm sorry to hear that, tell us more.
“Well, there was an incident in the summer of 2020 which caused extensive damage to our home and the insurance company has strung us along and is now refusing to pay.”
STOP – did you say summer of 2020? “Yes…they have been giving me trouble since then!” Wow – such is the MO of many insurance companies.
Have you filed a lawsuit yet? “No…I just started looking for an attorney. My family is out hundreds of thousands of dollars over this matter. I really need your help!”
Do you have any letters from the insurance company denying your claim? “Yes, from the summer of 2020.” Anything else from the insurance company saying something like they will extend the deadline to file a lawsuit? “No. They haven’t responded since the denial letter.”
I am afraid you are beyond the date you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company! “Why will no one take my case?”
Please note – this is a dramatization of a real conversation…names, dates, and other details have been changed for dramatic effect.
On the surface, this was a great case and one we could have probably made a big difference for the caller.
In this case, I had to do something I hate – breaking bad news and it is because of the cold, hard deadline of prescription (or the time period a person has to file a lawsuit).
Usually, if we are declining the case of those who reach out to us it is because the case type doesn’t fit the practice areas of our firm, the case is outside of the geographic area we handle, or the case is just not right for us for another reason. But, in most of those situations – we’re still able to help by connecting them with someone we trust can best assist them.
But in this case – this was bad news because not only was this family out of significant money, they could no longer obtain justice because they missed the deadline according to the statute of limitations.
This case did not involve home damage from a hurricane, but the prescription deadline holds for those claims as well.
What is a Prescriptive Period?
A prescriptive period in Louisiana is the amount of time in which you may file a suit for your claim. It is often referred to as the "statute of limitations." The prescription deadline is the date you must file suit by to protect your rights and your claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Hurricane?
For hurricane cases, in most instances, homeowners and other policyholders have two years from the date of loss to file a lawsuit.
For Hurricane Ida claims, this will be in August 2023. Don’t miss the deadline. I was one of the few early on (from September to December 2021) saying it was too early to hire a lawyer. That is no longer the case!
Many people "are not the type to sue" and trusted their insurance company to do the right thing.
But, if you are still struggling to have the insurance company pay you fair value for your loss, it’s time to seek help. If you haven't received full payment yet, there's a decent chance that the insurance company is trying to run out the clock.
This doesn’t mean all cases need a hurricane claim attorney, but you should at least start the conversation. We always give our honest assessment based on the situation if we believe it is in a homeowner’s best interest to hire an attorney.
One of our core values is to own it and operate with transparency. Although I pledge to give everyone the truth about their case and situation, it’s not something I enjoy when I have to tell a person struggling with a tragic situation, and not only can we not help, but no one probably can.
Of course, we advise seeking another opinion on the facts, but in most cases – the deadline is the deadline.