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Laws

Lawsuit Against State Farm

Three Coastal Counties Sued Over Katrina Damage

In a case that I recently handled, there were numerous lawsuits against State Farm Insurance Company. The case ruled on by the court, was one that had to do with the company not providing insurance to an applicant who was a nonresident of the State. The applicant, Brance Reed, had moved from Utah to Florida to live with her parents and six-month-old daughter. She applied for insurance in Florida, but the claim was denied by State Farm and was later determined to be defective.

The lawsuit against State Farm, ultimately, was ruled in favor of Reed.

The Court did not, however, address whether or not Reed should have been able to obtain insurance coverage under a class of claims entitled to her because of her long-standing residency in Florida. Because I was not involved in the actual litigation, I do not know what the facts might have been regarding whether or not Reed qualified for class of claims. However, I do note that this aspect of her claims against State Farm would require the attention of a qualified attorney that specializes in cases such as hers.

It is important for policyholders to remember that all lawsuits must be commenced within the time period specified by the “mechanism” referred to in Sec. 5596(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Failure to commence such lawsuits within the statute of limitation, or for even longer than the maximum ten years allowed by that provision may result in irreparable damages being awarded to the named policyholders.

One other aspect to consider with regard to lawsuits involving hurricanes and their aftermath is the issue of potential refunds.

A potential refund is based upon a number of factors. One of those factors is the amount of actual damages. For example, if a home is totally destroyed, there will likely be no monetary value to any claim for loss of use or enjoyment. Many homeowners are also able to recover for their medical bills and any funeral expenses associated with the hurricane Katrina disaster.

A different factor that may affect a claim for damages is whether or not the homeowner was injured during the windstorm.

If you suffered an injury, regardless of whether it was from the storm or not, you are eligible for a settlement. In fact, if you were harmed during the time of the lawsuit, you may have even more chances for recovery. Most of the lawsuits against State Farm revolve around this factor. The original complaint, that is, the loss of use and enjoyment of property, is generally addressed in a case in federal court.

It should be noted that in all of these situations, the actual amount of money recovered is dependent on the amount of actual damages.

For example, if a homeowner were to sue in state court and receive a judgment of two million dollars, that would be the maximum amount of compensation sought by many residents of New Orleans and the surrounding region. However, if less money were awarded in a case in state court, the amount of compensation sought would be much less. Therefore, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney well versed in these types of lawsuits in order to determine whether or not your home could be granted a fair settlement, especially if such a settlement could be in the millions.

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