A recent lawsuit has been filed in the 24th Judicial District Court by Hueston Fortner against the Louisiana Citizen Property Insurance Corporation. Mr. Fortner, a homeowner, is suing his insurance company for allegedly not covering damages to his home stemming from Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Mr. Fortner contends that he had an insurance policy in place with the company when the hurricane struck his home located at 800 Gerry Drive in Kenner on August 29, 2012. He alleges the hurricane caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to his home’s structure, loss of contents, and loss of use to his home due to wind and rain damage. Mr. Fortner claims he notified the insurance company of the physical damages to his property and that after adjusters came out to the home the insurer refused to pay for all of the damages that occurred to the property. The defendant is accused of breach of contract. An unspecified amount in damages is sought for costs of labor, services, materials and other construction as well as legal costs and attorney’s fees.
This case is just another example of how an insurance company will try to fight its way out of a contract. Insurance companies are known for their ability to escape contracts because of specific technical language that is used in these forms. A popular way the insurance company will try to fight the claimant depends on how your home was destroyed, either by wind or flood damage. In certain insurance contracts there may be coverage for flood damage, but there may be an exclusion for damages caused by wind; however, in other contracts there may be coverage for damages caused by wind, but an exclusion for any water damage. The insurance companies will try to use these exclusions to their advantage. If there is an exclusion for water damage the insurance companies will argue that the property was damaged by flooding while if there is an exclusion for wind damage the insurance company will argue that everything was destroyed by heavy winds.
Most homeowners do not stick around to document how the home will be damaged. Homeowners worry about their safety, the safety of their family, friends, and pets as well as a million more other things in this time of crisis. Usually experts will be hired to argue which way the house was damaged. Since insurance companies are so large and extremely well funded they can easily hire an expert that will argue in their favor showing how the property was damaged so as to trigger one of the exclusions contained in the insurance contract. However, homeowners are usually in a totally different setting. Claims arise after a massive storm destroys all of a person’s physical assets which then leaves him with very little funds to hire an expert in their favor. This is why it is necessary to have an experienced attorney on your side with the necessary funds to do battle with these big insurance defense firms. The Cardone Law Firm is known in the legal community for their ability to stand up for the victims of these storms and fight for the rightful compensation they are owed to rebuild their homes and move on pass this unbelievably stressful time of life.
It is very important from the beginning to know exactly what you are signing when contracting with insurance companies. You want to know the specifics before signing such a contract. This is so because under Louisiana Law a contract is the law between the parties, and they are bound by their agreement regardless of harsh consequences, provided the agreement is not contra bonos mores or in violation of some prohibitory law. Therefore, it is the duty of the court to find the common intent of the parties within the four corners of the instrument that was signed. If an insurance contract cannot be construed based on language contained in the agreement due to an ambiguity, the court may look to extrinsic evidence to determine the parties' intent. This is why it is extremely important to know what you are about to sign because it will take time in the legal system to determine exactly what the intent of the contract was. You do not want to be left alone in your corner to fight against these large defense firms who are not scared to go to court to try and win the case. Cliff Cardone is not afraid to go head-to-head with these firms, and he will fight for everything you deserve.
For over 40 years the Cardone Law Firm has had the privilege to represent victims and fight for the rightful compensation each is owed. We are determined to get our clients everything they deserve and will not settle for anything else. If you feel as if you are being bullied by the big insurance companies to accept a quick settlement you should contact the Cardone Law Firm as soon as possible. Insurance law is a complicated field, but we have the necessary resources and experience to go head-to-head with these big insurance companies. We are not afraid of the scare tactics these companies employ to save money and time. If an insurance company has denied your claim, underpaid the insurance claim, undervalued the damaged estimates, delayed payments or have used deceptive practices, then we will not stand for this and we will hold the party accountable. It is important to remember that you have the right to an independent appraisal to assess the value of your property damage, even if you have received payments for a hurricane claim. Many people do not realize that even though they have been paid by their insurance carrier under their homeowner’s insurance policy, they still may have the right to more compensation. With an office located in New Orleans, the Cardone Law Firm is able to represent any person who has suffered hurricane damage anywhere in the State of Louisiana. Phone Cardone at 504-522-3333 as quickly as possible or you can fill out our online contact form to receive quick feedback from Mr. Cardone or from one of his professional legal assistants concerning your case.