For four years, THORNHILL is one of ten trial lawyers appointed by the Court to try the case against BP operations in the Gulf of Mexico, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of injured and damaged Plaintiffs, together with the US and five State governments, resulting in settlements exceeding $60 Billion Dollars.
If you have been affected by Hurricanes Laura or Sally and need help with your insurance claim(s), we have the experience you need so call our firm today 800-989-2707.

What is good faith and fair dealing? Is this a term that is used out of habit that doesn’t carry much weight, or can and will it be enforced by the courts when violated?

According to the Louisiana Revised Statutes definitions 26:802 (6), “good faith” means honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing in the trade. Another definition of good faith is “honesty”; a sincere intention to deal fairly with others. It is not just important to be fair, but the sincerity behind the intention is key. In every contract there is an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. This means that in every contract it is suggested, but not directly expressed that the persons in the contract will deal fairly and honestly with one another. Good faith is a term that has a sincere motive without any desire to defraud others.

Fair dealing goes hand in hand with good faith when under contract. Fair dealing is not just honesty, fair dealing requires that a party cannot act contrary to the spirit of the contract even if you give the opposing party notice that you intend to do so. The term “good faith” comes from the translation of the Latin term bona fide. In the court system these two terms are used interchangeably. When the court system is determining if a party has breached a contract they have to look to see if the parties have upheld the duty of good faith and fair dealing. This means the parties must not do the following:

People who own or have owned a home, car, or business have insurance on those items. The reason people buy insurance is to ensure their assets are protected in the event of an accident or an unexpected disaster. If someone is injured in an accident, whether it is a car accident, offshore accident, a slip and fall, or even if a hurricane or tsunami comes through, chances are the damage done should be covered by an insurance policy. Why wouldn’t the claim be covered? There are many reasons a claim will get denied, often times claims are denied because of avoidable reasons such as the claim was not filed in the time limit allowed by the law. The deadline to file depends on which law is applied. The law that is applied can be determined by many different factors. The Situs rule can apply, the business contract or insurance contract can determine which law is applied. The conflict of laws analysis, which interest is stronger, can determine which law will be used.

When filing a claim for an offshore incident, where it happened is very important for what law applies and therefore what deadline will be enforced. If an explosion happens offshore, where it happened is crucial. In law, the Situs of property is where the property is located for legal purposes. This is important in determining jurisdiction and which law will be applied. If it is off the coast of Louisiana, one law will apply, if it is off a different states coast it can be an entirely different law. Even the distance off the coastline can change which law is applied and can change the deadline drastically.

When filing a claim for an automobile accident, state law will have jurisdiction, but sometimes a conflict of laws can make it unclear which state will have jurisdiction. A conflict of laws principle is a set of rules for determining which law to apply in a case over which two or more contradictory laws seem to have jurisdiction. For example, if the car accident occurs in Georgia, but the driver of vehicle one is from Texas, the at fault driver of vehicle two is from Florida, but the cause of the accident was because of a tire blowout from a defective manufacturer from Tennessee. Which state law will apply? It will be left up to the courts to determine this. The state you thought would have jurisdiction might have a two year prescription, but the state the court decides has jurisdiction may only have a one year prescription.

If you live along the coastline of Louisiana, you are no stranger to hurricane season. Every year residents and business owners try and prepare for hurricane season by securing their properties and following the suggestions and guidelines of authorities. Even with the best preparations, homes and businesses can be severely damaged or destroyed after Mother Nature has her way. When these disasters strike, do you know if you have the right insurance coverage to cover the damages?

If you have a business, you most likely have a general liability insurance policy and possibly a Business Interruption Insurance policy. A Commercial General Liability policy is a type of insurance policy that provides coverage to a business for bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage caused by the business operations, products, or injuries that occur on the business premises. Business Interruption Insurance is insurance coverage that replaces business income lost in a disaster. Business Interruption insurance is usually attached to a property or business owner’s policy, since it cannot be purchased on its own.

In order for a Business Interruption claim to be covered because of hurricane damage several things will have to be proven:

Why would you need to hire an attorney when you have auto insurance to cover the damages?

The logic for most people is that the insured pay the insurance company for the coverage, so the insurance company should automatically pay what is reasonably owed. If the process worked this way then in a lot of instances an attorney may not be necessary for a simple claim. Unfortunately, anyone who has had to deal with an insurance claim or adjuster knows this is not the way it works. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to save as much money as possible for the insurance company. This all too often means that the standard process is to deny your claim, or offer you less than what your coverage allows or what you are entitled to. This is why you need an attorney.

Most people when shopping for auto insurance are looking for the cheapest monthly premium and do not really think of the full scope of what type of coverage they actually would need if an accident actually happened. When the agent is on the phone setting up the policy, they are generally offering multiple add on features from towing and rental car reimbursement to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UMC). In the buyers haste and attempt to keep the monthly premium low many will reject this coverage, even though it is a very small increase in price. Louisiana does not require drivers to carry UMC, they do however require insurance companies to include UMC in their packages unless explicitly rejected in writing by the buyer. This is where having an attorney on your side could be the difference of your claim being paid or not.

Was your business closed down or interrupted due to government orders, or from employees or customers being exposed to or diagnosed with Covid-19?

The U.S. department of labor estimates that forty percent of businesses do not reopen after suffering a disaster, and that twenty five percent of the ones that do reopen fail within two years. Most large and approximately forty percent of businesses carry business interruption insurance for times such as this. Business Interruption (BI) insurance is insurance that replaces income lost in the event that business is halted due to a loss or damage. The purpose of business interruption insurance is to do for the business what would have been done for itself. Business Interruption can happen because of multiple reasons such as fire, theft, or other natural disasters which can cause direct physical loss. When these losses occur, most BI policies will cover profits that would have been earned, fixed costs, a new temporary location, commission, training costs, and extra expenses. It would be beneficial to look at the monthly income, tax returns, contracts, leases, bills, and invoices from pre Covid-19 closures, and compare it to after. Your policy may cover most of these costs. Your policy may also cover extra expenses that you didn’t have before, such as extra gloves, masks, and extra cleaning supplies.

The question most business owners are facing now is will their business interruption insurance policy cover losses due to viruses, bacteria, or government ordered closures? The answer here unfortunately is not simple or always clear, it depends on the policy, and how the language of that policy is interpreted. There have already been more than four hundred and fifty lawsuits and dozens of class actions filed since the end of June, 2020. As you can imagine, regardless of the language in each policy, the insurers and the policyholders will be arguing over whether the virus should be covered or not. It is being left up to the interpretation of the courts and the state laws in each state to determine if these businesses will be able to collect on their policies.

Has your adjuster denied your claim because he said you didn’t have proper coverage? Many insurance companies deny claims on the grounds that the damage incurred is excluded under your policy. This happens often with hurricanes when an adjuster claims damage was caused by flooding, when in all actuality it was caused by wind damage and heavy rainfall through that damage.

Wind damage is generally covered under a homeowner’s policy and can cover damage such as fire, lightning, or hail. A homeowner’s policy can also cover damage including a fallen tree that damages a roof or windows of a home.

Water Damage is also generally covered under a homeowner’s policy, but with very specific exceptions. Water damage that would be covered in a homeowner’s policy would be damage such as a busted pipe, or a leaking roof. It generally does not cover damage from water coming into the home from the ground since this would be considered flooding. A separate flood policy must be purchased to cover this type of damage. It would include water that seeps into the home from a heavy rainfall or as the result of a lake, ocean or river overflowing onto the property.

Over the last six months, South Louisiana residents and businesses have experienced unprecedented flooding events that exposed many property owners to the difficult process of filing a flood related insurance claim. While some of us learned these painful lessons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other storms, residents and businesses in many affected areas are new to the process and face dangerous pitfalls if their claims are not handled properly. This article is intended to give property owners a brief overview of what flood insurance is, what it isn’t, and some advice about dealing with your insurance company. For additional information about other forms of financial assistance, safety tips during clean up, and the first steps in filing a claim, please see here.

First, it is important to know how flood insurance is different from your homeowner’s or commercial building insurance. If your property is under mortgage, you are required to carry property insurance to protect your property against the risk of fire, wind damage, and certain other losses. If you are also in a designated flood zone, you are additionally required to carry separate flood coverage, because, as you probably know by now, flood damage is not covered by homeowner’s policies. Flood insurance policies may be provided from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) directly or through private insurers, but, in either case, the federal government underwrites the policies and pays for covered losses. Regardless of the value of the property insured, these policies are capped at $250,000 for residential building coverage, $100,000 for contents, and $500,000 for commercial buildings (i.e., this is the most that the insurance will pay for a particular event).

Before your flood insurer will pay a claim, they will require a sworn proof of loss statement—essentially, a form itemizing all of your damages that you swear is true. The proof of loss statement must be provided within 60 days of the loss. The importance of this document cannot be overstated. If you do not file it timely, or if you fail to list all your damages, your right to recover for your losses could be gone forever.

If you thought the CDO caused a real estate crash that could have been avoided with proper regulation, you are going to be pleased to know that the next example of why voters are sick and tired of Washington ineptness is upon us and it could cost us a bundle. The October 2013 Real Estate Crash may be delayed by delaying the implementation of the Biggert Waters Act of July 2013, revising the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”), but Congress will need to act quickly. National attention was focused on the problem with the poorly operated and under-funded NFIP, now part of FEMA, when Super Sandy hit New York City and New Jersey. Since then, the NFIP has been borrowing from the general budget to cover the cost of payments of flood insurance claims.
Although Sandy’s waters have retreated, the problem with the Biggert-Waters Act is that the intended remapping of flood zones has not occurred as required under the act and yet the act calls for an end to subsidized rates for property owners whose property is identified by FEMA as flood prone. For example, after Sandy, FEMA released new “preliminary” flood insurance maps for New York City, replacing “advisory” maps sent by FEMA immediately after Sandy. Using theoretical data, which is admittedly wrong in many instances, FEMA now shows a significant increase in the number of homes and businesses subject to flooding. For instance, in New York City, the new maps double the number of city structures in flood zones to more than 67,000 over the last map update in 2007, which was based on 1983 data.
Some will say this is only fair, those building in flood prone areas should simply know better. But the federal flood program facilitated lending and building in these areas through the use of the NFIP for years. Federally insured loans require flood insurance guaranteed by the federal government. And the insurance is completely at the risk of the federal government – private insurance companies have any risks from participating in the NFIP Write Your Own program.
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With the three year anniversary of the Deep Water Horizon (DWH) drill ship catastrophe on the Macondo well, the deadline to file claims under the Oil Field Pollution Act (“OPA”) is April 20, 2013. The claims filed require in many cases the prior filing of “presentment” to the responsible parties, BP and Trans Ocean, according to the findings of the Coast Guard Joint Investigation of the causes of the blow out. If you have not engaged counsel to assist you in this complicated legal proceeding, you should act as soon as possible.

Thornhill Law Firm is active and involved in the litigation in federal court that involves the liability determination. The firm offers its services to those in need of advice and counsel. We recommend that action be taken to protect one’s rights as necessary, including the exploration of all remedies available under the pending settlements for economics claims and medical claims to the excluded moratorium and governmental interests claims.

MetLife will pay a $50,000 penalty and refund an undetermined amount of money to customers to settle allegations it imposed costly surcharges on Massachusetts drivers who were found not at fault in auto accidents. In detailing an agreement reached with Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Company, state attorney general Martha Coakley said Tuesday that some custoemrs who filed accident claims were improperly penalized even after a state appeals board had ruled they were not responsible for causing the crashes.