Understanding Insurance Bad Faith Tactics
Dec. 28, 2022
In 2021 alone, there were 19,448 people who sustained a serious injury from a car accident in the state, according to data put out by the Texas Department of Transportation. When this happens to you or someone you love, the cumulative medical expenses after a car accident can quickly add up. All too often, the payout from the insurance claim isn’t enough to adequately cover all your costs. Sadly, many providers engage in bad faith insurance practices designed to save them money and reduce the amount they’ll have to pay you after a car crash claim.
If this has happened to you, The Fostel Law Firm can help. The firm is located in Houston, Texas and serves those in Texas and the Southeast New Mexico area, but they are also a nationwide practice and are willing to review cases from any state for no charge. Set up a consultation today.
Lowball First Offer
Insurance adjusters will often throw out a lowball first offer, hoping it will be accepted. However, you should never accept a first offer because you likely won’t know the accumulative expenses you’re facing which can include physical or rehabilitative therapy or future lost wages. You’ll also want a good idea of your maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is an insurance term used when an individual isn’t expected to improve anymore with medical treatment, and it could mean you’ll be eligible for temporary or permanent disability payments.
Even though Texas law requires an insurance company to either approve or deny your claim within 15 days of its submission, adjusters may also deliberately delay their responses or communication for your claim. They may be hoping that you’ll lose energy or motivation to negotiate and will then accept whatever offer they propose.
Failing to Conduct a Thorough Investigation
Another tactic related to deliberate delays is failing to conduct a thorough investigation. This can be especially true if you or the other driver is claiming comparative negligence (meaning the fault for the accident is shared between the two parties). For example, if you saw that the other driver was on their phone when the accident happened and therefore did nothing to prevent it, but the adjuster fails to look into this more, they won’t be able to determine who’s truly at fault.
If an adjuster is found misrepresenting the policy’s coverage, this would be considered a bad faith tactic. For instance, they may try to convince you that you can’t file a claim if you shared any liability for the accident, even when state law clearly allows this.
Texas’s Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act
Fortunately, Texas has laws on the books that can protect you from such deceptive practices. The Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act guards against acts like deliberate delays, incomplete investigations, refusing to pay claims, failing to fully explain denials, or knowingly misrepresenting the policy.
What Is Your Attorney’s Role in Settlement?
When you work with a personal injury attorney, they can ensure the insurance company is following all laws and that you’re getting the service and timely communication you deserve. They can also help you negotiate, fight against denials, file appeals, or pursue lawsuits. By teaming up with an experienced attorney, you can better focus on your own healing without the added headache of going back and forth with an insurance adjuster.
Skilled Legal Advocacy
If you’re trying to get fair compensation for a car accident but feel the insurance company is using deceptive or bad faith tactics, you need a car accident attorney who can help you defend your rights. Reach out to The Fostel Law Firm today, located in Houston, Texas but serving all of Texas and the Southeast New Mexico area.