Insurance gives people peace of mind knowing the things that are most important to them, including their real property, are protected in the event of a disaster.
While insurance companies have the right to investigate the legitimacy of claims, many carriers use bad faith tactics to avoid paying claims. When this happens, a Houston bad faith insurance lawyer can handle the bad faith insurance case.
Insurance is supposed to provide protection and security. Unfortunately, insurance companies create obstacles in an attempt to avoid paying claims, including delaying payments past statutory deadlines, refusing to pay for contractors they previously approved, requiring the insured to resubmit paperwork multiple times, and denying claims for frivolous reasons, among other bad faith tactics. When this happens, you need a dedicated and dogged bad faith lawyer by your side to pursue the fullest compensation available under your insurance policy. Feldman & Feldman has the experience necessary to pursue claims against insurance companies operating in bad faith.
When you make an insurance claim, the law in Texas places a duty of “good faith and fair dealing” upon the insurance company during claims investigation. Yet all too often, insurance companies seek to profit by dealing in bad faith with their insured by unfairly denying, delaying, or underpaying benefits without a reasonable basis. If your insurance company has treated you unfairly and failed to fulfill its legal obligations, it is important to consult with an experienced bad faith attorney.
Bad Faith Tactics
Insurance companies often go to extreme lengths to minimize or completely deny claims. Some of the most common bad faith tactics used by insurance companies in Texas include:
- Causing unnecessary delays throughout the claims process
- Causing unreasonable delays
- Failing to confirm or deny coverage in a reasonable period of time
- Hiring biased third parties to handle portions of the claims process
- Making threatening statements
- Misrepresenting the law
- Misrepresenting the terms of an insurance policy by stating some items are not covered when in fact they are
- Offering less money than a claim is worth
- Performing haphazard investigations of property damage and other insurance claims
- Refusing reasonable requests for documentation
- Undervaluing claims
- Wrongfully claiming damage is due to inadequate maintenance
- Wrongfully claiming damage is due to normal wear and tear
If you experience any one of these bad faith tactics, you need to immediately contact an experienced bad faith lawyer. Insurance companies are first and foremost a business, so they are never in a rush to pay out on claims. Oftentimes, insurance companies take advantage of the fact that most policyholders are completely unaware of their rights. However, all policyholders are legally entitled to a thorough, prompt, and fair investigation of their claims.
Although insurance carriers should honor valid claims, our attorneys know some companies underpay or simply refuse to pay claims. At Feldman & Feldman, we understand these denials have devastating financial consequences for claimants whose business or residential properties are in need of urgent repair.
Bad Faith Damages
When you file an insurance damage claim and it turns into a bad faith insurance claim, a bad faith insurance attorney can help you actually obtain compensation at an amount higher than the original face value of your policy. If you have a bad faith insurance claim case, your insurer may be required to pay damages far beyond what’s listed on your insurance claim. You can actually recover three times your actual damages (known as “treble damages”) if you can prove the insurer “knowingly” violated Chapter 541 of the Texas Insurance Code.
For example, in addition to paying the full cost of damages to your property, an insurer may be required to pay for the following:
- Statutory Penalties
- Statutory Interest
- Liability for Judgments in Excess of Policy Limits
- Attorneys Fees
- Emotional Distress
- Economic Loss
- Punitive Damages
Specifically in Texas, the following damages are available in a bad faith lawsuit:
- The amount of actual damages
- Court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees
- Any other relief the court deems proper
There’s one thing in common across all bad faith insurance claims: the more reprehensible an insurer acts, the greater the damages possible for the policyholder. The worse your insurance company treats you, the more compensation you can win in bad faith litigation.
Get Help From a Houston Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
When you or your business have carefully selected insurance coverage to suit your specific circumstances and faithfully paid your premiums, you don’t expect to find a lack of coverage – especially at a time when you probably need it the most. When your insurance company denies your insurance claim with little or no explanation, unreasonably delays paying, or offers only a pittance compared to what you have coming, you need experienced legal help from a Houston bad faith insurance lawyer.
At Feldman & Feldman, we take great pride in helping victims. Policyholders that regularly pay their premiums deserve full protection under their policies. If your insurance company is acting evasively, offering you much less than you anticipated, or flat out denying your claim, don’t wait to call us. We can analyze your situation, provide accurate estimates of damages and losses, and pursue your rightful compensation. Contact Feldman & Feldman today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
FAQs: Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Is bad faith the same as negligence?
These terms both refer to a party not fulfilling contractual obligations. However, for a party to act in bad faith, they have to knowingly or maliciously refuse to fulfill a contractual obligation. In situations of negligence, the party may be unaware that they are not adequately fulfilling their contractual obligations.
Can I sue an insurance company for bad faith?
Yes. If you believe an insurance company is purposely not fulfilling their obligation to you, such as failing to pay you for a claim, you can file a lawsuit against them. A bad faith attorney can help you pursue legal action against the insurance company and possibly enable you to receive greater compensation than you were originally seeking due to statutory penalties and other additional available damages.
How is bad faith committed?
There are a few different ways that insurance companies will commit bad faith. Some examples include failing to properly investigate a claim, purposely delaying the claims process, denying benefits clearly stated on the insurance policy, offering less money than a claim is worth, and other dishonest tactics.
What constitutes a bad faith insurance claim?
When an insurance company fails to promptly reply to a policyholder’s claim, it is considered to be acting in bad faith. This can come in the form of failure to pay out on a claim, refusing to reply to the policyholder when they attempt to contact the insurance company regarding their claim, and other bad faith tactics.
How do I prove I have a bad faith insurance case?
These cases can be difficult to prove, which is why you need the help of experienced bad faith attorneys. Feldman & Feldman can review the facts of your situation and determine whether the insurance company acted in bad faith. If so, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Can a third party sue for bad faith?
In some cases, a third party may have reason to sue an insurance company for bad faith. This is only possible in certain situations and the details are complicated. Consult with a bad faith attorney to determine whether or not you have the right to sue.
What is the statute of limitations for bad faith in Texas?
In the state of Texas, you have two years from the date of the bad act to file a lawsuit. In some cases, you may get an additional 180 days with proof that the insurance company influenced you in some way to refrain from filing a lawsuit.
What are examples of a bad faith insurance claim?
- Your claim is denied with no reasonable explanation.
- The amount paid for your claim was much less than what it was worth.
- The insurance company took an unreasonable amount of time to pay your claim.
- The insurance company purposely delayed the processing of your claim.
How do you file a bad faith insurance claim in Texas?
The best way to file a bad faith insurance claim in Texas is to contact a first party insurance coverage attorney. Feldman & Feldman can help you file your claim and handle every step of the process until you get compensation.
How do you win a bad faith insurance claim?
A key element in winning a bad faith insurance claim is hiring an experienced insurance attorney. You need someone who has a thorough understanding of the law surrounding insurance claims and bad faith tactics. The trial attorneys of Feldman & Feldman have been representing clients in bad faith insurance cases for decades, helping them get justice against insurance companies.