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Legal Issues Following Floods

The southern United States recently suffered devastating losses during hurricane season, with several record-setting hurricanes causing catastrophic damage along the Gulf and East coasts. During a severe flood, a state government or the federal government may declare a state of emergency, freeing up disaster relief funding and personnel to help the affected areas. Flooding typically involves significant property damage, injuries, and loss of life in some cases. There are many possible legal issues that can arise following a flood.

Homeowners Insurance

Most home insurance policies very clearly state what they do and do not cover. Flooding typically involves expensive damage, so many insurers limit the kind of flood coverage they provide to policy holders and clearly outline the types of flooding they will cover. For example, some flood insurance may only cover flooding from storms, but will not cover a flood from a burst pipe. Insurance coverage details fluctuate from place to place based on the likelihood of a flood. For example, flood insurance in Arizona would likely be much cheaper than it would be in South Carolina.

Business Insurance

Business owners must ensure their properties and assets against possible damage, and this includes flooding. A small business owner could potentially lose an entire store to a flood, and his or her insurance policy will dictate what is and is not covered. It’s important for any business owner residing in an area prone to flooding to have a reliable and detailed flood insurance policy. A flood can also lead to tax complications for business owners later. There are many local, state, and federal aid programs that business owners can investigate after a flood, to ease the financial burden.

Government Liability

In some cases, a local government, state government, or even the federal government may bear some measure of liability for flood damage. For example, after hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, it came to light that the Army Corps of Engineers helped design and build the city’s levee system, which failed to prevent flooding damage. In situations like these, those affected by flood damage that was preventable with better government oversight could recoup some losses by filing claims against the responsible government agency.

Mold and Mold-Related Illness

Moisture is a breeding ground for mold, and mold problems are very common in areas recently affected by flooding. A home may survive a flood with minimal damage only for the homeowner to find mold growing weeks later. Mold is destructive and an extreme health hazard, so homeowners affected by mold may need to reach out to personal injury attorneys to handle these situations.

How Can an Attorney Help?

After a flood, home and business owners may have several serious concerns about their insurance coverage, government culpability, health issues, and many other possibilities. Personal injury attorneys can help these individuals handle difficult insurance companies or insurance companies that operate in bad faith, file lawsuits against negligent parties that contribute to flooding damage, and help seek legal resolutions so flood victims can get their lives back on track.