In some situations, you may be compensated for your Harvey flood claim even if you don’t have flood insurance.
You may be able to get compensated if your property flooded because dams in Harris and Montgomery Counties released flood waters during Harvey. Under a law known as “inverse condemnation,” you may have the right to be compensated by the governmental entities who made the decision to flood your home.
Whether your home flooded because you’re downstream from the Lake Conroe Dam or the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs you have a constitutional right to sue the government and be compensated. Inverse condemnation laws apply when the government damaged your property to prevent a larger catastrophe.
Under inverse condemnation laws, you don’t need flood insurance to be compensated. This is a totally separate claim. Instead of having to worry about having coverage, with these claims, all you have to do is live in the path of destruction.
You are entitled to make this claim even if you did have flood insurance, even if you make an insurance claim, and even if your insurance company pays your claim.
How do inverse condemnation claims work?
Under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution, you have the right to be compensated if the government takes your property. Under Article I, Section 17 of the Texas Constitution, you have an explicit right to be compensated if the government chooses to destroy your property for the greater good:
“No person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person.”
This is the main authority you have for filing an inverse condemnation lawsuit against the government in the wake of Harvey. Under the Texas Constitution and Texas case decisions, you must prove three things:
- Public Use
Why don’t you have to prove the government “acted badly” to win your case?
In some other kinds of civil lawsuits, you have to prove the other party acted badly, however that’s not the case if your property flooded because you’re downstream from the Lake Conroe Dam or Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. People and businesses often recover in these kinds of cases where the government acted for the greater public good. You took a hit for your fellow citizens – for the greater, public good – and the government should compensate you for that.
How do you prove a Harvey inverse condemnation case?
Under the Texas Constitution, you have to prove intent, causation, and public use.
- To prove intent, you must show that “a governmental entity knows that a specific act is causing identifiable harm or knows that the harm is substantially certain to result.” In your Harvey case, you must prove the government knew that its act of releasing the dam was “substantially certain” to cause harm in the area where your property was located.
- To prove causation, you must prove the government’s dam release “resulted in a ‘taking’ of property.’” If you can prove that the release of a dam caused flooding and damage to your property, then you have shown a “taking” of your property.
- You must prove the government’s release of a dam was for a “public use.” You can prove this if you prove that the reason the government released the dam was to protect the public. We’ve all been glued to the news and have seen the headlines that these dams were opened for the greater good – to prevent more flooding further downstream.
How do you file an inverse condemnation case?
The government – whether your case is filed against the local, state, or federal government – fights these cases hard and is not known for settling inverse condemnation cases out of court. Even though you have a constitutional right to be compensated, the government has historically forced people to file a lawsuit and have a jury trial in order for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Our firm is filing inverse condemnation lawsuits on behalf of our clients. We have been getting a lot of questions from a lot of people who are worried about their flooded homes, cars, and property. People are worried. They are worried they will lose everything and have no way to get it back. Worried that they don’t have flood insurance, or if they do, that it won’t come close to covering the flood damage they’ve sustained. We’re worried too. Every single one of our employees lives in areas that flooded, our law firm is located in an area that sustained heavy flood damage, and Vuk and Brian both have homes in the West Houston area.
How do you know if you qualify for an inverse condemnation case?
If you live downstream of the Lake Conroe Dam on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River or if you live downstream of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs on the Buffalo Bayou, you most likely qualify for an inverse condemnation case if your property flooded because of the government’s decision to flood your property during Harvey.
For people living downstream from Lake Conroe’s dam on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, you can verify if you’re in the spillway area on this map:
For people living downstream from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs on the Buffalo Bayou, you can verify if you’re in the spillway on this map:
Why hire VB Attorneys for my case?
This is one less worry you need to have right now. Our firm has helped thousands of people in Houston and across Texas get the compensation they deserve. We have a proven track record at trial, including recently winning a $17,720,000 verdict against a national construction company, Austin Bridge and Road, that resulted in a judgment of more than $20 million. You can find out more about our firm at www.VBAttorneys.com.
How do I hire VB Attorneys for my case?
Call us at 877-724-7800 now to get a free, confidential consultation. We will answer all of your questions and help you determine if you qualify to file an inverse condemnation claim.