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COVER STORY: Storming on Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was one of the most devastating and expensive weather events on record, inflicting at least $ 125 billion in damages. It was the first major hurricane to land in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year period in which no hurricane touched land with such intensity in the country. Over a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches of rain, causing unprecedented flooding. With maximum accumulations of more than 60.58 inches, Harvey was the largest registered hurricane ever in the United States. As a result, hundreds of thousands of homes were flooded, displacing more than 30,000 people and generating more than 17,000 rescues. Harvey was a unique storm, due to the variety of ways it impacted our city with multiple floods and damages caused by multiple factors.

On the one hand we had a huge storm that settled without moving in south Texas for days, causing the traditional damages as a result of wind and precipitation. In addition, we had flooding arising from the Government and more specifically the Army Corp of Engineers operation of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs and the San Jacinto River Authority conduct in Kingwood, which made decisions to flood and consequently cause extensive damage to tens of thousands of people.

The damages have been made worse by the fact that tens of thousands of people did not have any type of flood insurance, because they were in areas that typically do not flood, as was the case in Kingwood or West Houston.
In view of all this tragic situation for tens of thousands of friendly families of our beloved city, we decided to investigate the viability of potential legal claims. For this purpose we chose a law firm that holds the highest reputation, both for its knowledge of the law, and for its phenomenal record of achievements in favor of victims, Arnold & Itkin LLP.

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While it is true that Hurricane Harvey was a product of nature there were things that could have been done that would have mitigated the impact it had on our city.
In the case of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, , the litigant parties must prove, first, that the governments’ actions constituted a taking of their respective property without just compensation, and second must establish and document the cost of their claimed losses.

To provide some context, when the government or a municipality buys a property to carry out a public work such as a highway, a bridge, etc., the transaction is permanent. That is to say, the acquired property doesn’t belong to the original owner anymore. But in the case of Harvey, the government takes your property, destroys it, and then returns it without giving you a dollar for it. This is precisely what qualifies this case for legal action.

For this reason, it is very important to document the damage in detail, because often these are not visible to the inexperienced eye, and are not fully understood until months after the events, which can make a house uninhabitable even after believing that it has been repaired.

For these and other reasons, it is important that homeowners and businesses seek qualified legal advice about their specific case.

The first step, Arnold & Itkin LLP takes is to send an expert to the property who can document the damages in detail (structure, walls, property content, displacement of the family, interruption of commercial activity in the case of a business, etc.). In addition, the documentation that the owner of a property has, in the form of receipts, photos, videos, etc., is also important.

In most cases, many of the damages are not visible. There may be structural damage, or on roofs, which are invisible to the inexperienced eye, and which can lead to increased repair costs.
Arnold & Itkin LLP handles each claim individually, according to the specific circumstances of each family, residence or business.

Understanding the importance of relocating families back to their homes, Arnold & Itkin’s priority is to advance the process so that victims of these cases can focus on rebuilding their homes and lives, while lawyers focus on maximizing any potential recovery.

Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin handle multi-million dollar lawsuits. In 2017 alone, they recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of their clients. Last year, Arnold & Itkin LLP achieved the largest out-of-court settlement in Texas history. The victims of Harvey are of special interest to them, since Houston is their home, and here is where they have friends and neighbors. In fact, a number of their lawyers and staff sustained catastrophic flooding as a result of the storm.

Most of Harvey’s victims have not yet taken legal action. Many victims frustrated by the insurance companies, end up yielding to their low ball offers, and abandon the opportunity to obtain fair compensation commensurate with their losses. This does not have to be the case.

Speaking now on a very personal level, as owner of LUXCIOR and neighbor of Houston, I want to encourage all those who have read this article and have been victims of Harvey, to immediately seek legal help. Having had the privilege and first-hand opportunity to conduct this interview and have extensive discussions with Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin, I am confident in their ability to assist similarly situated individuals and businesses.

 

 

For those whose properties have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and wish to speak with Arnold & Itkin LLP, you can contact them at:
Arnold & Itkin
6009 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77007
855.812.3389
www.ArnoldItkin.com

Category: LEYES