When policyholders buy homeowners and life insurance coverage, they agree to pay premiums on time in return for an agreement by the insurance company to promptly pay claims. People buy insurance to protect themselves from risk that could otherwise be financially devastating.
But sometimes that insurance contract can seem like a one-way street when it comes time to make a claim. Soon after a hurricane tears the roof off of a garage, the homeowner is told by an adjuster that the policy won’t cover the replacement cost of the same grade of materials used in construction. A letter states that no legal defense will be provided due to an alleged code violation after an accident that injured a neighbor child. Or worse, the insurance company refuses to pay out a surviving spouse’s life insurance benefits due to a technicality in the insurance company’s contract.
Consumers may feel helpless when they face unexpected delays in payment, outright denials of coverage or a refusal to further discuss an issue. But Texas law provides remedies for people who are determined to fight for their interests.
Hiring an Attorney to Pursue a Bad Faith Insurance Claim
Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith and deal fairly with their customers. When their failure to pay a claim violates that standard, policyholders have a right to sue for breach of contract and for violations of the Insurance Code and have their dispute resolved in a court of law.
Clients who seek damages from insurance companies should keep several factors in mind when they choose a law firm to represent them. Because you may already be facing financial hardship due to denied payment, be aware that many firms will represent you on a contingent fee basis. This means that you do not pay attorney fees unless the firm is successful in recovering compensation on your claim.
Another important component of bad faith insurance claims in Texas is the availability of monetary penalties and attorneys’ fees for violations of Texas Insurance law to plaintiffs who prove a company’s failure to live up to its duties. This means that the plaintiff may be awarded a sum greater than the amount due under the insurance policy. An initial consultation with an experienced insurance trial lawyer can help you assess your options and chances for recovery.