Dallas Texas Lawyers > Dallas Insurance Bad Faith Lawyers

Dallas Texas Lawyers is here to help you find a Dallas insurance bad faith lawyer or Dallas insurance bad faith attorney to represent you in Dallas, Texas. We have listings of Dallas insurance bad faith lawyers, Dallas insurance bad faith attorneys, and Dallas insurance bad faith law firms, as well as legal resources, government resources and legal research material. This web site is not intended as a source of legal advice
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Insurance bad faith

Christian Hill And Associates - Houston Personal Injury Lawyer. At Christian Hill & Associates we care about you and your well being. Here, you are not just a case number.
Street & Ragsdale - Dallas Personal Injury Lawyers. Dallas law firm Street & Ragsdale has more than 37 years experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases. 
Law Offices of Jeff Rasansky - Dallas personal injury lawyer Jeff Rasansky goes to work each morning with one mission in mind: to fight for the rights of personal injury victims.
Polewski & Associates - Dallas Personal Injury Law Firm. At Polewski & Associates, we represent clients in all types of personal injury, malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits.
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Insurance Bad Faith

Insurance companies have a duty to act in "good faith and fair dealing" towards their policyholders. This means an insurance company is required to:

  • Pay or deny your claim within a reasonable period of time
  • Respond to your inquiries in a prompt manner
  • Cooperate with you with regard to resolving your claim
  • Provide written notification the reasons why it is not paying or reducing your claim.

Texas law requires insurance companies and HMOs to pay first-party claims promptly. A first-party claim is one filed by you against your insurance company or HMO. Prompt-payment does not apply to liability insurance claims against another person's insurance company. It also does not apply to claims involving self-funded plans; workers compensation; mortgage guaranty or title insurance; fidelity, surety, or guaranty bonds; or marine insurance (other than inland marine).

Texas' prompt-payment law requires licensed insurance companies and HMOs to:

  • Acknowledge claims, begin investigations and request any needed information within 15 days after receiving a claim. Surplus lines carriers have 30 days to complete this process. A surplus lines carrier is an out-of-state company not licensed in Texas but allowed to insure hard-to-place risks.
  • Notify you in writing of the acceptance or rejection of your claim within 15 business days after receiving all required information. This deadline may be extended an additional 15 days in the event of a "declared" weather-related or natural disaster. If the company cannot accept or reject your claim within the time limit, the company must tell you why it needs more time to process your complaint. The company will then have up to 45 additional days after this notice to accept or reject your claim.
  • Give the reason in writing for rejecting your claim.
  • Make payment within five business days after notifying you that your claim will be paid. Surplus lines carriers must pay your claim within 20 business days.

If you win a lawsuit for the violation of the prompt-payment law, the court can require the company to pay your attorney fees and a monetary penalty.

Insurance companies act in bad faith by failing to honor legitimate claims. They may inadequately investigate a claim, or delay investigation, fail to pay or delay paying a valid claim, treating the insured as an adversary, decieve or evade insured's questions, conceal facts, show a pattern of denying all claims, lie, cheat, etc.

The size and prominence of an insurance company is not a judge of their character. Insurance companies as large and "upstanding" as Allstate and State Farm have been shown in court to have acted in "bad faith".

Dealing with insurance bad faith in Texas

Most insurance companies operating in Texas are required to have toll-free telephone lines for customer assistance. The toll-free number should be listed on your policy.

Have your questions and policy number available when you call the company.

If you have a dispute with your agent or company, put it in writing. This encourages a written response. State your complaint and how you expect the company to handle it.

Include with the complaint copies (not originals) of letters, notes, invoices, canceled checks, or advertising material that support your complaint.

Contact an attorney if you feel like you are being treated in bad faith.

Any time you have an insurance claim, and suspect bad faith, you should follow several simple rules:

  • Put everything in writing
  • Request the insurance company put everything writing
  • Read your policy. A policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. Don't rely solely on your agent to determine what your policy covers. You need to understand your policy's coverages
  • Read the Consumer Bill of Rights. Insurance companies must include the "Consumer Bill of Rights" with personal automobile, homeowners, and credit life policies or renewals. It explains your rights and responsibilities
  • Keep copies of all correspondence between you and the insurance company.Write down information about your telephone and in-person contacts, including the date, the name and title of the person you spoke with, and what was said. Also, keep a record of your time and expenses
  • Ask the company for the specific language in the policy that is in question.
  • Be prepared to negotiate to get a fair settlement, if necessary
  • Don't rush into making a settlement.
  • Contact an attorney if you feel like you are being treated in bad faith

Auto and Homeowner Claims

  • Auto and homeowners policies may require you to make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Your policy covers the cost of these repairs, so keep all receipts. Also, keep the damaged property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making repairs. Don't make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before it inspects the damage
  • If possible, determine what it will cost to repair your property before you meet with the claims adjuster.
  • Provide the adjuster with records of any improvements you made to your property.
  • Ask the claims adjuster for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer. For homeowners claims, this should include depreciation, holdback depreciation, and sales tax. Holdback depreciation is an amount of money withheld from your claim settlement until repairs are finished or the items are replaced. Ask which price guide the adjuster used to make estimates.
  • Contact an attorney if you feel like you are being treated in bad faith

Accident and Health Claims

  • Ask your physician to provide your insurance company with details about your treatment, medical condition, and prognosis.
  • If you suspect a provider is overcharging, ask the insurance company to audit the bill and verify whether the provider used the proper billing procedure. If you still owe a large balance, your provider may submit the bill to the local medical society peer review committee to review the charges.
  • If your health insurer or HMO refuses to pay for a treatment because the insurer or HMO determined that the treatment is not medically necessary or appropriate, you can request binding review by an Independent Review Organization (IRO). You may request review by an IRO only on claims denied on or after September 1, 1997.
  • Contact an attorney if you feel like you are being treated in bad faith

If you are not satisfied with how your insurance company handles your claim:

You may wish to consult an attorney to discuss your concerns.

You may also request alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to settle complaints with your insurance company. ADR uses a neutral third party to help settle a dispute outside a formal court of law. Using ADR to settle your insurance claim can avoid the delays and costs of a trial.

If you use ADR, you do not surrender your right to insist on full and fair compensation. In most cases, ADR also does not eliminate your ability to sue or go to trial. You do not need an attorney to use ADR, although you may wish to hire one.

Remember, the job of the adjuster is not to pay you...it's to save the insurance company money. They are not on your side, and they are not trying to help you. You need an experienced insurance lawyer to get what you really deserve. The Insurance Companies already have lawyers, you should have one too.

Insurance companies that have committed acts of bad faith may be required by law to pay original benefits, legal costs incurred by the insured party, damages for any harm incurred because of claim denial, and in some cases, punitive damages.

There is a time limit, or statute of limitations, in bad faith claims. Act as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.

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