The situation on Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island North Carolina is still bad for thousands of vacationers and local businesses following the power outage last week.
Last week, a construction company headquartered in Canada drove a steel casing into the main electric line that provides power to Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island cutting off these two islands at a critical time of year. Thousands of vacationers have been evacuated and local businesses have also been affected.
As of today, there is no timeline on when power may be restored to both islands. There are apparently some generators in use but the ability of these generators to supply power across both islands is unclear.
For many vacationers, travel insurance may provide some relief for the significant losses incurred by thousands of families. However, it is not clear whether travel insurance will cover the losses from a man-made event such as the cutting of electrical power. Even if travel insurance covers some of the losses, under North Carolina law we believe that the construction company responsible for this incident is still liable to the vacationers for their losses. The company should not benefit because the vacationers spent their own money on premiums for travel insurance.
The North Carolina Vacation Rental Act provides some information about legal rights following a mandatory evacuation. Unfortunately, the language of the Vacation Rental Act suggests that if a vacationer chose not to purchase travel insurance, the landlord or renter is not required to refund any money paid for the vacation rental when there is a mandatory evacuation. Most renters probably declined travel insurance since this time of year is not known for significant hurricane activity. However, this statute would not affect the ability of a vacationer to seek compensation against the responsible construction company.
The lawyers at Hendren Redwine & Malone have now filed a class action lawsuit against the contractor responsible for the power outage on Hatteras and Ocracoke Island. This lawsuit seeks recovery for vacationers and homeowners who were deprived of the use and enjoyment of their homes as a result of this incident. For those of you who believe you may have been affected, we encourage you to keep any receipts that you believe may be related to losses from this incident as well as a copy of your rental agreement for your vacation property. If the proposed class action lawsuit reaches a point of resolution, these items may be required in order for you to recover your damages.
Our firm is currently investigating additional claims arising from this incident. If you have questions about your legal rights following this incident, contact us today.