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Tips from an attorney on how to find a reputable contractor after Hurricane Ida

Since local comapnies are extremely busy now, have patience. You may be way down on the list.

NEW ORLEANS — If you didn't have roof damage from Hurricane Ida, consider yourself lucky.

The many people with roof damage now face the problem of finding a reputable roofer without waiting for weeks or even months. Here are some tips on how to not get scammed.

Ida storm damage is everywhere in Luling. Most of it is roof damage. Gary Steckel's home is one of them, and it didn't take long for strangers to arrive offering to fix his house, roof and downed trees.

“It's pretty much nonstop. I mean, every day they come in here and knock on your door. They want money. It's all about money,” said Luling homeowner Gary Steckel.

The same thing is happening to insurance attorney Jimmy Courtenay near the lakefront in New Orleans. He has videos of them on his front porch offering solutions.

“One 'local' company who just so happened to show up out of the blue, they now do have a local office. The local office is clearly where someone just lives,” said Jimmy Courtenay, founding member at JJC Law.

So, he and his law partners, decided to start making regular posts of what to look out for so you are not scammed.

“In this case, they were clearly trying to sell me a bill of goods. I've been telling people they're trying to sell me snake oil to fix my ailments,” Courtenay said.

So he offers this advice:

  • Look up workers and comments on the web.
  • Make sure they are licensed and insured.
  • Choose local so you can find them if there's bad work.
  • Beware of anyone who says he'll do it for your insurance settlement. That may leave you with nothing left to fix other damage.
  • The more pictures and videos of your damage, the better.
  • Let insurance run its course. They have 60 days to settle with you.  

“Now, if you have an impasse at that point, like the insurance company's lowballing you or not saying it's related, that's when you want to think lawyer,” Courtenay said.

He's just beginning to hear from people who believe they are not getting a proper settlement.

As for Gary, he now has a reputable local company working on his Luling roof, because he already knew the requirements St. Charles Parish has in place to protect its people.

“They require a permit for roofing even, and so they have to have a Louisiana license. They have to have insurance, workman's comp,” Steckel said.

And since the locals are extremely busy now, have patience. You may be way down on the list.

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