Dallas Bad Faith Insurance Claims Lawyer
What Do I Do if I’ve Been Treated Dishonestly by an Insurance Company?
You should call Ward’s office and describe the situation to him to find out if you have a potential bad faith claim. Ward knows the Texas insurance system and can tell you what it will take to win a claim against an insurance carrier for unfair settlement practices.
What is Bad Faith?
In summary, Texas law protects you from an insurance company doing the following:
1) Misrepresenting of pertinent facts of insurance policy provisions relating to coverage at issue.
2) Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably and promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising out of insurance policies.
3) Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies.
4) Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information.
5) Failing to confirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof of loss statement has been completed.
6) Not attempting in good faith to effectuate fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear.
7) Compelling insured to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amount ultimately recovered in actions brought by such insured’s.
8) Attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable man would have believed he was entitled by reference to written or printed advertising material accompanying or made part of an application.
9) Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application which was altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of the insured.
10) Making claims payments to insured or beneficiaries not accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under which the payments are being made.
11) Making known to insured or claimants a policy of appealing from arbitration awards in favor of insured or claimants for the purpose of compelling them to accept settlements or compromises less than the amount awarded in arbitration.
12) Delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring an insured, claimant, or the physician of either to submit a preliminary claim report and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof of loss forms, both of which submissions contain substantially the same information.
13) Failing to promptly settle claims where liability has become reasonably clear under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage.
14) Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation of the basis in the insurance policy in relation to the facts or applicable law for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement.
– From Sec. 541.060 of Texas Insurance Code – Unfair Settlement Practices. Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
How Does a Lawyer Help?
An insurance adjuster at another party’s carrier does not have to treat you the same as they do their own insured party. For example they are not required to provide as many details surrounding why a claim was valued in a certain way. However, they are still required to follow the rules above.
Your attorney will be required to find the points (however small) in an insurance company’s actions toward you which could be construed as violating these rules. He’ll then have to properly accuse the insurance company of bad faith on your behalf and prepare to prove the issue in court.
A bad faith claim can be a difficult case to win due to the complexities and nuances of insurance codes. However, if you’ve had any unfair treatment from an insurance company such as a delay in the claims process or a denial of a legitimate claim, often, your attorney’s ability to accuse the company of bad faith and touch on particular pain points can shake up management enough to override the decision of an adjuster and quickly award you an appropriate settlement.
In cases where there are gross bad faith violations, a truly experienced and dedicated attorney will push the issue through court and pursue damages that far exceed the original value of the claim.