In my personal injury practice, we receive calls every day from individuals who have been in a car accident for the first time and are very frustrated because of the attitude of the adjuster for the negligent party.
For the innocent victim injured and whose vehicle has been wrecked the situation is stressful and when you add an abusive adjuster to the equation it can be downright ugly. Not all insurance adjusters are aggressive or abusive and some are very friendly and nice, however, with the failure of Texas to regulate claims handling practices by insurance companies, the number of nice adjusters continues to drop.
People are not only frustrated with how insurance companies are handling injury claims but also angry about how they are treated dealing with the property damage claim. Delays, denials, unreasonable offers and abusive tactics and demeanor all have led to a record dissatisfaction with insurance companies in Texas.
Computer Valuations of Claims
And the use of computer programs to value a claim in lieu of a human adjuster has tied the hands of many insurance claims adjusters who themselves are frustrated at the process.
More and more often, the innocent car accident victim finds himself or herself in a position of needing a personal injury lawyer to help them with their claim. A growing number of cases are now filed as lawsuits due to the inability of the insurance company to settle for a reasonable amount. Some of the blame for the increased number of lawsuits comes because of “tort reform” which has given the insurance companies legal incentive to say; “sue us” more frequently than ever before.
Insurers Force Litigation
Unfortunately, this puts their insured in a box, because it forces litigation on everyone, by refusing to pay a reasonable claim. The forced litigation strategy is Being implemented in Texas because it is profitable. By using employee “in-house” attorneys to defend these claims insurance companies keep their legal costs to a minimum.
By delaying paying the claim if possible, the insurance company gets to keep their money and put it to work drawing interest instead of quickly and fairly settling a claim.
Finally, in most of these cases, the defense attorneys simply fight all evidence and use a strategy to make the proof expensive on the victims and the victim’s attorneys.
Texas Needs Remedies for Insurance Companies Abuses
Much of the problems that Texans are having in dealing with insurance companies relates to the inadequate remedies in Texas available to the consumer when the insurance carrier uses abusive claims handling practices. In other states, the insurance commissioner will regulate the conduct of the carriers and also the premiums charged, and most do not face the same problems that Texas families are forced to deal with every day.
One of the sad things in Texas is that under current law, families are often forced to file expensive lawsuits to get any reasonable offer from their own insurance company.
How Tort Reform Hurt Texas Families
And Texas had “tort reform” which had the unintended result of actually increasing lawsuits because of unreasonable positions taken by insurance carriers–in effect the “take it or sue us” mentality and costs of lawsuits have also increased to the detriment of Texas families.
Texans pay some of the highest car insurance and homeowners’ insurance in the country yet insurance companies doing business in Texas are reaping record profits and paying out only a small percentage of the revenue collected in actual claims. Many states regulate the minimum amounts of payouts based on premium dollars collected by the insurance companies to keep premiums paid by its citizens to a reasonable level. Texas has yet to adopt that approach and Texas families are stuck with the high cost of insurance.
Call Your Representative and Demand Action
If you are angry at how you are treated by an insurance company or how high your insurance premiums are for home or automobile insurance, contact your state representative and demand insurance reform for Texas.
Only when insurers can be held accountable not only for the insurance coverage, they sell but also for improper claims handling procedures will the public be treated fairly.
Unfortunately, many people only learn they need a personal injury attorney when they first talk about the value of the claim with the adjuster on their case. By then, often the damage has been done to the claim and the victim has trouble finding a quality attorney to take his or her case.
Speak with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you would like to speak with a highly regarded Houston personal injury attorney called the Baumgartner Law Firm for no obligation consultation at 281-587-1111.