Pearland Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer
You pay your insurance premiums on-time every month like clockwork. So you reasonably expect that if you suffer a covered loss, your insurance company will be just as diligent in processing and paying your claim. Of course, we all understand that in the real world, that is not how things always work.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. This means that they are ultimately beholden to their shareholders, not their policyholders. And in many cases, insurers will act in an unreasonable–and illegal–manner when denying or processing a claim. If you have been the victim of such conduct, a Pearland insurance bad faith lawyer can help. Attorney Keith B. French has assisted many clients in suing insurance companies that intentionally fail to uphold their obligations under a policy. Texas law enables such policyholders–and in some cases even third parties–to recover substantial monetary damages for such behavior.
Understanding the Difference Between First-Party and Third-Party Bad Faith Claims
An insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and the policyholder. Like all such contracts there is an “implied covenant of good faith” mandated by Texas law. This means that your insurer is required to treat you honestly and fairly.
An insurer can deny a claim if it has a valid reason. But if an insurer does not have a valid reason and denies a claim anyways, or the insurer engages in certain other acts considered “unfair” or “deceptive” under the law, that is considered bad faith. If you decide to pursue litigation against your own insurer for bad faith, that is what is known as a “first-party claim.” If bad faith involves a liability policy, the person you hurt may also have grounds for bringing a “third-party claim.”
Third-party claims often arise in the context of personal injury lawsuits. For example, say you are involved in an auto accident where the other driver was clearly at-fault. You (or your attorney) then sends a letter to the negligent driver’s insurance company, demanding they cover your losses up to the limits of the policy. If the other driver’s insurance company refuses to settle your claim without a valid reason, or alternatively refuses to provide a legal defense to the policyholder, you could file a third-party bad faith claim against the insurer.
If you can prove a bad faith claim, a Texas court can award three times the amount of actual damages if there is evidence that the insurer “knowingly” violated the Texas Insurance Code. An insurer may also be on the hook for any excess judgment obtained in a personal injury lawsuit against the policyholder.
Contact Keith B. French Law Today
There is a high bar to proving insurance bad faith in Texas because the claimant must prove that liability was “reasonably clear” under the circumstances. This is one reason it is critical to work with a Pearland insurance bad faith lawyer who has dealt with these types of cases before. So if you need to speak with an attorney, contact Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today to schedule a consultation.