Dealing with an insurance company after you’ve been injured in an accident may be the last thing on your mind. The insurance claims process can be complicated and frustrating, especially if you are already concerned about mounting medical expenses. Although insurance companies are required to act in good faith, it is not uncommon for them to try and take advantage of people by denying a claim without reason or attempting to pay out less than is fair. If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to be aware of some of the bad faith tactics you could face in the insurance claims process.
Call the Houston personal injury attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500 to find out how they can help you deal with insurance companies.
First Party vs. Third Party Insurance Claims
An insurance policy is essentially a contract between the insured (referred to as the policyholder or first party) and the insurance company (referred to as the second party). There are various types of insurance policies, but all insurance claims fall into one of two categories: first party claims and third party claims.
First party insurance claims are between the insurance company and the policyholder/first party. Third party insurance claims are made by someone other than the insured or insurer. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you will either need to file a first party or third party insurance claim to seek compensation for your losses.
Texas Bad Faith Law
Insurance companies are required to investigate, negotiate, and settle claims in good faith. If an insurance company operating in Texas acts in bad faith, you may have a claim for breach of the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing and a statutory claim under the Texas Insurance Code. Under Texas Insurance Code Section 541.060, some examples of bad faith (also known as unfair settlement practices) include:
- Denying a claim without a legitimate reason
- Failing to make a good faith attempt to offer a fair, prompt, and equitable settlement
- Failing to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of a claim
- Failing to promptly acknowledge and respond to a claim
- Failing to approve or deny a claim within a reasonable timeframe
- Failing to promptly provide to a policy holder a reasonable explanation for the insurer’s denial of a claim or offer of a compromise settlement of a claim
- Failing to inform the insured of an appeals process
- Refusing, failing, or unreasonably delaying a settlement offer under applicable first-party coverage on the basis that other coverage may be available or that third parties are liable.
Proving a bad faith claim against an insurance company can be difficult, which is why it is advisable to work with a skilled personal injury attorney immediately following an accident. If your claim has been denied or you believe the insurance company has acted in bad faith, it is important that you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away to discuss your legal options.
How Our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our team of knowledgeable Houston personal injury attorneys can take on the burden of negotiating with the insurance company while you focus on recovery. We have represented many accident victims throughout the Houston area, and we will fight to obtain the maximum compensation possible in your case.
We offer a free initial consultation and charge no fees unless you recover compensation. Contact us today by calling (281) 283-8500 to find out how we can help.