Adding to the troubled following Hurricane Irene, lawyers along the East Coast are expecting a number of legal battles to break out, all centered on insurance. The most prominent litigations are expected to form around property damage and how it was caused. While most property insurance policies account for damage from wind, flood coverage is an entirely separate issue. State Farm, Allstate and Liberty Mutual are expected to bear the brunt of the legal battles as they are the primary insurers in the states battered by Irene.
The extent of most legal battles is difficult to predict, but Wayne Lee, a partner at Stone, Pigman, Walther, Wittmann, a law firm based in New Orleans, says that the results of litigation will hinge upon eyewitness accounts. This is the same way many legal battles were solved in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Lee expects that one issue, in particular, will receive the most attention. That is whether flood insurance covered flooding caused by strong winds, such as storm surges.
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Lawsuits regarding claims are expected to pour in as some people find that their claims were rejected for a number of reasons. These lawsuits may be resolved quickly, however, as such litigations tend to bruise an insurers reputation amongst consumers. Still, the major legal battles born from Hurricane Irene are not expected to see resolution for years.