FEMA Extends National Flood Insurance Program Time For Sending Proofs Of Loss Related to Louisiana Mid-Summer Severe Storms

Under normal circumstances when flooding is not severe, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires a policyholder to send the insurer a complete, signed, and sworn-to proof of loss within sixty (60) days after the date of loss. However, when flooding is extensive, the time period may be extended by FEMA pursuant to 44 C.F.R §61.13 (d).  For certain August, 2016 Louisiana flooding, FEMA has chosen to grant an extension because it found that properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the State of Louisiana experienced significant flood losses as a result of a severe mid-summer storms beginning August 9, 2016 through August 31, 2016.  FEMA/NFIP further found the impact of this extensive flooding may delay the claims process for many NFIP policyholders, and NFIP policyholders may encounter difficulties filing a timely proof of loss for claims arising from this event. Accordingly, the NFIP is allowing policyholders a total of 120 days following the date of loss to provide the completed, signed, and sworn-to proof of loss to the insurer.  For more information about the extension see the full announcement at WYO Company Bulletin W-16067. Properly and timely filing the Proof of Loss (and any Supplemental Proof of Loss) and any necessary supporting documentation is critical for getting paid and for preserving a policyholder’s right to file a NFIP flood insurance lawsuit should he/she be shortchanged by the NFIP or flood insurance company on structure or content payments. If you need help with preparing your flood insurance claim, your […]

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Louisiana Court Holds in Favor of Plaintiffs Because Trailer Used for Transporting Sugarcane at Time of Fatal Accident Falls Under Insurance Coverage Policy

At issue in a recent accident lawsuit before the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal was whether a trailer was a covered vehicle under the commercial automobile insurance policy of a company potentially liable for fatal injuries. Following a devastating motor vehicle accident, the surviving family members of the deceased brought a lawsuit to recover compensation from the responsible parties. The legal issue before the court in this case was whether the lower court properly found the trailer involved in the car accident was covered by an automobile insurance policy. The court turned to the policy language and examined whether the trailer had been used in connection with the insurer’s business at the time of the accident. In this case, Hallmark Specialty Insurance Company appealed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs Peggy Brazan and Brookes Brazan Wagespack and defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. The judgment was issued upon a finding that a sugarcane trailer involved in a fatal accident fell under a commercial auto policy issued by Hallmark to its insured, Arabie Trucking Services, L.L.C. Arabie Trucking was in the transportation business, including the business of transporting raw sugarcane from fields to sugar mills. They entered into an agreement with Lafourche Sugars, L.L.C. to transport sugarcane to the sugar mills from customer fields. Arabie Trucking also entered into an agreement with WHY, a trucking company, to provide a tractor and a driver to move the sugarcane. Arabie assigned a trailer to WHY to use during […]

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Louisiana Appellate Court Affims Compensable Accident Took Place and Claimant Entitled to Benefits, Employer Must Pay Penalties for Failing to Reasonably Controvert Claim

The Louisiana Fourth Circuit issued a recent opinion in a workers’ compensation case following an attack on a special education teacher by an autistic boy at her school.  The court addressed whether the lower court properly awarded benefits and whether the employer reasonably controverted her claim. The court focused on the facts demonstrating that the employer had not timely reported the accident to their insurance carrier, and at the same time, the employer had not authorized medical treatment for Ms. Verges, even though she would otherwise have been eligible.  The appellate court here affirmed the finding of the trial court, in favor of the injured employee and her right to penalties and attorney fees under Louisiana law. Shawn Verges worked at Fannie C. Williams Charter School, operated by Community Leaders Advocating Student Success (“CLASS”).  On March 26, 2015, a seven-year-old autistic boy attacked and injured her while she was in the course and scope of her employment. After the incident and on the same day, Ms. Verges reported the incident by text message to the administrative assistant to the principal, asking that an accident report be made.   Ms. Verges went to the hospital with complaints of pain to her back, head, and cervix. She then filed a disputed claim form.  Ms. Verges testified about the incident and her treatment, as well as her physical condition. She admitted to having prior medical conditions. Procedurally, the workers’ compensation judge found Ms. Verges to be a credible witness and found that she had suffered an accident […]

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Appellate Court Holds that Employer Had Not Proffered Excluded Testimony as Required by Louisiana Law and Affirms Judgment in Favor of Injured Employee

In an appeal before the Louisiana Fifth Circuit, the court reviewed an award of supplemental earnings benefits in favor of an injured employee. The court analyzed evidentiary rules and specifically whether the Office of Workers’ Compensation had properly excluded a vocational rehabilitation expert from testifying as an expert and refused to admit her report into evidence. Dawn McMillion worked as a registered nurse for East Jefferson General Hospital, and she injured her elbow against a doorframe while exiting a hospital medication room.  She reported the accident to the hospital that day, and less than one month later, she began receiving temporary total disability payments.

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