Do you suspect you’ve been a victim of bad faith insurance practices in McAllen, TX? While insurance companies in Texas are strictly regulated, they don’t always play by the rules. If you’re struggling with losses, an experienced McAllen bad faith insurance lawyer can help you fight to hold the insurance company accountable.
At The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa, we have over 25 years of experience helping clients like you stand up to insurance companies. We’re ready to make a difference for you.
How Can The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa Help With a Bad Faith Insurance Claim in McAllen, TX?
Insurance contracts are complex. It can be tough to know whether the insurance company is acting unfairly. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters can be aggressive and uncooperative–and sometimes intentionally make settling your claim more difficult than necessary.
Consulting an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in McAllen is the best way to protect yourself.
You can count on our experienced team at The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa to:
- Explain your legal rights and options
- Conduct a full investigation into your claim
- Determine whether the insurance company has a pattern of unfair behavior
- Calculate the value of your losses
- Demand fair compensation from all responsible parties
- Handle all negotiations for a fair settlement
- Take your case to court to fight for a fair deal if necessary
When an insurance company fails to live up to its obligations under the law, it can be held liable for damages. Our McAllen personal injury attorney is here to help you fight for justice. Contact us today to schedule your free case review to learn more.
Overview of the Bad Faith Insurance Laws in Texas
Insurance companies are strictly regulated under the Texas Insurance Code.
When handling insurance claims, Texas insurance laws require the insurance company to:
- Make reasonable attempts to settle valid claims fairly
- Process claims in a timely manner without any unnecessary or unreasonable delays
- Provide the policyholder with a reasonable justification for denied claims
- Release settlement amounts without any unreasonable delays or unreasonable requests for information
- Give accurate information about the policy’s terms and coverage
Under Section 542 of the Insurance Code, insurance companies are subject to specific deadlines, including:
- Acknowledging receipt of the claim within 15 days
- Beginning an investigation into the claim within 15 days
- Notifying the insured about whether it has accepted or rejected the claim within 15 days of receiving all relevant information
- Paying the claim within five business days after notifying the insured that it has been accepted
Insurance companies generally have 60 days to make a claims determination. However, these deadlines can be extended under certain circumstances where the insurance company can show reasonable cause.
How Do I Know Whether I Have a Valid Bad Faith Insurance Case in Texas?
Many different scenarios can give rise to a bad faith insurance claim. In the most basic terms, insurance companies have an obligation to deal with people fairly when settling claims under a valid insurance contract.
Some examples of situations that may constitute bad faith insurance practices include:
- Failure to perform a complete investigation
- Misrepresenting the terms of the policy
- Pressuring the policyholder to forgo legal advice
- Engaging in tactics to unfairly delay settling a claim
- Failure to provide a valid reason for denying a claim
- Failure to respond to a policyholder’s calls, emails, and communications
- Failure to acknowledge a claim upon receipt
- Hiring biased third parties during the investigation process
- Delaying payment of a claim that’s been accepted
- Trying to change the terms of the policy once a claim has been submitted
- Pressuring you into accepting a lowball offer within an unreasonable time frame
- Paying only partial compensation
Any type of unfair or deceptive behavior can give rise to a valid bad faith insurance lawsuit.
If you suspect you were a victim, it’s important to speak with an experienced McAllen bad faith insurance attorney. With experienced legal representation, you’re much more likely to hold the insurance company accountable.
Our Experienced McAllen Insurance Lawyer Handles All Types of Bad Faith Claims
Bad faith insurance practices can occur when handling any type of insurance claim.
At The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa, we handle bad faith insurance litigation cases involving:
- Homeowners insurance
- Personal injury protection (PIP) claims
- Car insurance coverage for property damage and expenses
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Renters insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Commercial insurance
- Loss of use coverage
- Flood insurance
- Fire insurance
- Boat insurance
- Personal property insurance
- Business liability insurance
- Professional liability insurance
Bad faith insurance claims are also classified as either first-party claims or third-party claims.
If the insurance company fails to fairly handle a claim you filed, it’s called a first-party claim.
For example, if you file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance policy and the insurance company denies your claim without justification, you have a first-party claim.
When someone else files a claim against your insurance company, you may have a third-party claim.
For example, assume you caused a car accident, and the other driver files a claim with your insurance company. Assuming the claim was valid, the insurance company has an obligation to fairly settle the claim. If the insurance company acts in bad faith, you may have a valid third-party claim even though you didn’t actually file the claim.
Can a Texas Insurance Company Ever Legitimately Deny My Insurance Claim?
Insurance companies aren’t required to blindly pay all insurance claims.
Some legitimate reasons for denying a claim may include:
- The damage, risk, or insured person wasn’t covered under the policy
- The policy lapsed because premiums were not paid on time
- There was an error in the paperwork, or the claim was incomplete
- You failed to respond to reasonable requests for information
- You missed the deadline for filing a claim
- Violations of state law
- Legitimate disputes exist about whether the insurance company is responsible
Insurance companies are required to tell you why they’re denying your claim. If your claim was denied, you also have the right to appeal.
Our insurance claims lawyers in the Rio Grande Valley can help you understand your legal rights if your insurance claim was denied. Call our law office today to learn more about how we can help.
What Types of Compensation Are Available to Victims of Bad Faith Insurance Practices in McAllen, TX?
If your insurance company was found liable for bad faith insurance practices, it will be required to pay the amount of the original claim. However, you may also be entitled to additional damages.
Like any car accident victim, you can seek compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. The nature of those damages will depend on the specific losses you have suffered.
Common examples of economic damages include:
- Interest on the amount of the claim (under Texas law, an 18% interest rate is specified)
- Prejudgment interest
- Reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs
- Property damage that occurred because of the delayed payment
- Lost wages if you missed work due to the insurance company’s acts
- Medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
You may be entitled to any type of relief that the court deems appropriate. That makes it important to carefully document the specific losses you have suffered because of the bad faith insurance practices.
In situations where you can prove that the insurance company knowingly violated the law, you may receive three times your actual damages. These “treble” damages are similar to punitive damages in the personal injury context. They’re generally awarded to punish the insurance company for their unfair acts.
How Much Is My McAllen Bad Faith Insurance Case Worth?
Your case value depends on many different variables.
In general terms, your compensation will depend on:
- Whether the insurance company’s actions were willful or part of their general business practices
- The types of losses you suffered due to the unfair dealings
- The amount of interest you incurred if you paid the expenses out-of-pocket
- Whether the ordeal has had any significant impact on your well-being
Our McAllen bad faith insurance attorney is dedicated to helping our clients get every dollar they deserve. Contact us today to learn more about this area of law.
How Much Time Do I Have To File a Bad Faith Insurance Claim in Texas?
Victims of bad faith insurance practices generally have two years to take legal action under Code Section 541.
The two-year statute of limitations starts to run on:
- The date the unfair practice occurred, or
- The date you discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, the unfair act
The deadline may also be extended in situations where the insurance company acted to convince you to refrain from legal action. Additionally, exceptions may exist, and it’s helpful to initiate your case sooner rather than later. Contact our law firm for more information.
Contact a McAllen Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer for a Free Consultation Today
You pay your policy premiums on time. If the insurance company isn’t dealing fairly, contact The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa today. A McAllen bad faith insurance lawyer can help you fight for just compensation. Contact our law firm in McAllen, TX or call (956) 815-0055 for a free case evaluation! We serve Hidalgo County and its surrounding areas.
Visit Our Personal Injury Law Office in McAllen, TX
The Law Office of Lino H. Ochoa
6316 N 10th St Building D, Suite 102
McAllen, Texas, 78504
Hours: Monday to Friday,
from 9 am – 5 pm