What Do I Do If My Insurance Won’t Help Me Rebuild?
This question applies particularly for homeowners whose homes were in moderate-to-high-risk flood areas when Harvey struck, such as homes in the Addicks reservoir, the Barker reservoir, or near the Buffalo Bayou dam. As many as 80 percent of homeowners in these areas lacked flood insurance—and thanks to Texas law, suffering flood damage could render you ineligible for any insurance relief due to anti-concurrent causation clauses. These clauses allow insurance companies to deny your claim when the damages to your home are caused by both covered and excluded events (i.e. flooding and windstorm damage).
Inverse Condemnation Claims
Despite this, you have one other option outside of insurance payouts: an “inverse condemnation” claim. This is a policy that forces governments to compensate property owners for unauthorized damage to their property that occurred for the sake of public use.
In 2014, the Texas Supreme Court allowed a group of homeowners to sue Harris County for flood damage to their houses when it was found that the county did nothing to prevent flooding damage from runoff and drainage.
The case involved the following facts:
- Harris County approved a housing development knowing the flood risk was high in the area
- There was certainty that development would inevitably lead to flooding damage
- The county did nothing to prevent the housing development from being built or mitigating risk
Harvey Damage That Could Have Been Prevented
In 1996, Harris County received a proposal from a group of flooding engineers that would have prevented much of the damage Harvey caused in the Addicks and Barker reservoir areas. However, the county refused to heed any of the warnings in the proposal, leading to the destruction of tens of thousands of homes and buildings. If your home was built in a region where the county knew there was a serious flood risk, and still did nothing to stop it, you may be eligible to sue the county for your damages.
To learn more about your legal options, call (888) 400-2101 or contact Arnold & Itkin as soon as possible for a free consultation. We can determine if where you live qualifies you for an inverse condemnation claim.