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Staying Safe During 2016 Louisiana Flood Season

The sheer destruction caused by Louisiana’s August 2016 flooding has been mind-boggling to say the least. With flood waters continuing to proceed southward towards the Gulf of Mexico after five days of torrential rain, an estimated 40,000 homes and businesses throughout the state have been flooded, resulting in at least 11 deaths and forcing roughly 8,000 individuals to take refuge in emergency shelters.

At Anderson & Boutwell, our Tangipahoa Parish personal injury lawyers stand strong with our fellow friends and neighbors and are seeking to do everything we can to help those who have been affected by this devastating disaster. The following tips detail how you can stay safe during this time and seek financial recovery for your losses.

FEMA Benefits for Disaster Victims

As of Tuesday, August 16th, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated 20 different parishes throughout Louisiana as federal disaster areas, including Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington, and West Feliciana.

If you have been affected by the flooding in any of the above areas, you may be able to receive:

  • Rent for temporary housing
  • Grants for repairing/replacing essential items
  • Grants for replacing property and other disaster-related needs
  • Unemployment payments for up to 26 weeds
  • Low-interest loans for residential losses
  • Loans for small businesses and non-profit organizations to recover
  • Loans for farmers and agricultural operators to cover production and property losses
  • Crisis counseling, income tax preparation assistance, and assistance applying for legal, veterans’ benefits, and Social Security

These benefits are offered by FEMA at no cost to disaster victims. To apply, head to or call 1-800-621-3362 and register. You will be asked to provide your social security number, a description of the damage to your property, your gross annual household income, a description of your property insurance, and your contact information.

Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

If you have flood insurance and have sustained damage to your home or business, it is imperative you contact your insurance company as soon as possible and notify them of your losses. Take detailed photographs of all damaged property from multiple angles, including personal belongings, structural damage, and standing floodwater. Make a list of all damaged or lost items and, if possible, include their purchase date, value, and receipts. The more evidence you have, the better.

Read an issue of You & the Law to learn more about this topic.

Your adjuster will assist you with preparing a “proof of loss” statement that includes a list of your losses, your documentation, and the dollar amount of your claim. This statement must be filed with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. After you and your insurer have agreed on a mutually acceptable amount, you will receive a claim payment. It is highly recommended you consult with a skilled homeowner’s insurance attorney to ensure maximum recover for your losses.

Staying Safe During Flood Recovery

Our team of Tangipahoa personal injury lawyers at Anderson & Boutwell would like to recognize and express gratitude to the many neighbors and strangers who have rallied together as the “Cajun Navy” to save lives and provide each other with invaluable support during this catastrophic disaster. If you are assisting with these much needed recovery efforts, there are several things you can do to stay safe:

  • Rest frequently, especially after lifting heavy, water-soaked or submerged objects.
  • Keep a first aid kit and drinking water nearby at all times.
  • Use a stick or pole to check the depth of flooded areas and search for protruding objects.
  • Do not enter a damaged building unless it is certified as safe.
  • Report downed power lines, gas leaks, snakes, and other hazards to authorities.
  • Wear watertight boots, a dust respirator, safety glasses, and a hardhat.

For more information regarding how you can stay safe or how our team of professionals can assist you during this trying time, contact our firm online or call us today at (985) 796-2245.