Insurers’ Conflicts of Interests in Accidents

If you were injured in an auto collision through no fault of your own, or if a loved one was killed in one of these collisions, you need to contact a lawyer. You must ensure that your rights are fully protected, including your right to seek compensation for your losses. The Law Office of Doug Goyen can help you if you need a Dallas auto collision attorney. Call our Dallas car accident lawyers; we have a long history of assisting injured victims and their families in Dallas and across Texas. Call (972) 599 4100 and we will begin working on your case right away.

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Liability Insurance Issues in Texas Creating Conflicts of Interests for Liability Insurers:

People who have been in an automobile accident frequently have difficulty getting their liability insurance to do what it is supposed to do in the automobile accident. The following are some of the most common issues people have with their auto liability insurance adjuster or adjusters:

1) I have a judgment against me as a result of a car accident. What should I do? (If you had insurance – or if you didn’t):

-If you had insurance but your insurance company failed to defend you, you may be able to sue the insurance company to cover the cost of the judgment as well as additional damages for what they did to you (in causing a judgment to be obtained against you).

-If you did not have liability insurance that would cover you, you have two options. 1) You can hire someone to try to work out a payment plan that will allow you to regain your license. 2) You have the option of declaring bankruptcy. Hiring a lawyer to negotiate a settlement or payment plan can often get you your license back faster and for less money than declaring bankruptcy.

2) I had insurance, but my insurance company made a mistake, resulting in a large judgment against me; what can I do?

-You have a claim against your liability insurance company if you had insurance but your insurance company handled your claim negligently, resulting in a judgment being taken against you. You should consult with a lawyer who has handled similar cases in the past. You may be able to seek restitution for the way your insurance company handled your case.

3) I admitted fault and instructed the insurance company to handle the accident, but now I’m being sued. Where did things go wrong? What can I do to safeguard my interests?

-This is most likely what happened. Your insurance company took a firm stance against the person with whom you were involved in the accident. Often, the problem begins with the other person’s car. The insurance company undervalues the other driver’s car damage. This drives the other driver to seek legal counsel. If the other driver has been to the doctor or is experiencing any symptoms of injury, the lawyer advises them to get it checked out to determine what, if any, injuries they may have. If there is a genuine injury, your insurance company simply filed an injury claim against you because they were being unreasonable about the property damage. The insurance company then takes a tough stance on the injury claim. This compels the injured person’s lawyer to file a lawsuit. “Why against me?” you inquire. “This is a dispute between the other driver and my insurance company.” “How come he’s suing me?” It’s because Texas law prohibits an injured person from directly suing another person’s liability insurance company. Lawyers are forced to sue the other driver, and the insurance company is forced to defend their driver by hiring a lawyer and “indemnifying” (paying for whatever their insured driver owes in the lawsuit) up to the policy limits.

Your insurance company is taking a risk here. They are betting that the judgment will not exceed the policy limits. The good news for the insurance company is that they are gambling with your money, not their own. You see, if you have a $30,000.00 liability policy and the other side’s lawyer gets a jury to award $250,000.00, your liability insurance only has to pay the $30,000.00. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE REMAINING $220,000.00.

The lawyers hired by the insurance company are typically referred to as “in-house” lawyers. That is, they are on the payroll of the insurance company. So they will tell you that they are “your” lawyers, but they are paid by the insurance company and report to a boss. Who do you believe they are really working for? What about you? Or the insurance company that pays their paycheck, provides them with health insurance, and provides them with retirement benefits? It is self-evident that you require the services of a lawyer to protect YOUR interests. It is in your best interest to ensure that the insurance company does not put YOU in jeopardy. If they do put you at risk and jeopardize your personal assets, or if you suspect they will, you need your own legal protection. We can help protect you for a small retainer, and if your insurance company makes a mistake that puts you in legal jeopardy, we may be able to force them to pay your damages and any additional damages for the harm they have caused you by failing to protect your interests.

4) I thought the insurance company had handled the accident, but now I’m being sued. What should I do?

– Contact us to protect your policy’s rights. Insurance companies look for three things: 1) coverage, 2) liability, and 3) damages. As you may have noticed, coverage is the first thing they look at. What does this imply? They are looking for ANY way to get out of coverage (payments, inconsistencies on your applications, exclusions, endorsements, situations that are not covered such as intentional acts or being on the job at the time of the accident, etc.). They will look for anything and everything to say “there is no coverage for your accident.” They have the right to deny coverage at any time during the claim. You may believe they are covering the accident, but if they discover information later, during the course of the investigation, they can always deny coverage. You will almost certainly need your own lawyer to go over the facts with you and ensure that the insurance company or their lawyer does not use leading questions to try to trick you into saying something that results in no coverage. You will need the assistance of a lawyer to protect your rights under your insurance policy.

5) My auto liability insurance company says they won’t cover my accident because I didn’t report it to them. What should I do?

– You are aware that you filed the claim. You assumed they handled the claim. You’ve been sued or have had a judgment entered against you, and you call the insurance company to find out what happened. They claim you “failed to cooperate” with their investigation, so they decided not to cover the accident. You are well aware that this is a lie. You told them what happened right away, and they assured you that they would handle the other person’s claim. You now have a judgment or a lawsuit pending against you, and your insurance company is refusing to assist you. You will need the assistance of a lawyer to protect your rights against the insurance company.

6) The insurance company claims I did not notify them of the lawsuit, but I did. They have now denied coverage and are refusing to pay the claim. What should I do?

– You received your lawsuit paperwork. You contacted the insurance company and informed them of the situation, asking them to handle it. You found out months later that you have a default against you. The insurance company claims you never told them anything. But you KNOW that isn’t the case. You talked to them and told them, but they didn’t listen and did nothing. You now have a judgment against your record, and they refuse to correct it. You have legal rights. Please contact us if you need assistance navigating your rights against your insurance company. We can assist you in ensuring that your insurance company does not take advantage of you.

7) The insurance company claims I missed a payment, but I have proof that I did not – I have a returned check proving my payment was received. What should I do?

– Obtain copies of all payments and insurance company paperwork that you have saved. Obtain all letters from the insurance company, including the one in which they canceled your policy AFTER the accident. We may be able to assist you with your insurance coverage issue and ensure that your insurance company does not defraud you of what you have paid for… coverage.

8) My liability insurance company is requiring me to attend depositions and respond to discovery. This seems like a waste of my time. What is the point of doing this? Is there anything I can do to help? I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this.

– You were involved in an accident. It was your fault. It’s not like you did it on purpose. It was an unintended consequence. You called your insurance company, thinking they’d take care of it and that was the end of it. Isn’t that the reason you bought insurance in the first place? So you wouldn’t have to waste time and money dealing with an accident you caused. That’s why you bought the policy in the first place, isn’t it? Now, the insurance company has messed up the entire claim, causing the other person to file a lawsuit against you. The insurance company is now requiring you to respond to written “discovery” (written questions) and to provide them with copies of your license and other documents. They are requesting that you take time off from work for depositions. They’re telling you that you might have to miss a few days of work in the future for a trial. What is going on? Why haven’t they just settled it and taken this case off my hands? I have to work and can’t afford to take all of this time off to handle a claim that the insurance company should have paid for a year ago.

You can retain the services of a lawyer to represent your interests. The insurance company’s lawyer is almost certainly a “in-house” lawyer. He is employed by the insurance company. He receives his benefits, including health and retirement, directly from the insurance company. He is under pressure to do what they want rather than what you want. You need to hire someone to protect your rights and force the insurance company to stop causing headaches in your life, as well as to stop dragging out this lawsuit and forcing you to miss more time at work and in your personal life. Hire your own attorney to direct the insurance company to do what YOU want them to do and to protect your rights.

9) My liability insurance company is pressuring me to deny I was at fault, even though I know I was. They simply refuse to pay and are now making my life difficult by forcing me to defend this lawsuit unnecessarily. Is there anything I can do to help?

– Of course. This is known as “witness tampering,” and it is a felony. We can assist you in reporting this abusive behavior to the appropriate authorities. We can also file a lawsuit on your behalf against the insurance company for their abusive behavior, requiring them to pay for any harm done to you or your rights by attempting to force you into perjury. You should hire a lawyer to protect your rights and to protect you from the insurance company’s unethical behavior.

The Law Office of Doug Goyen – (972) 599 4100 – we handle personal injury claims against insurance companies in auto accidents. Call us today to speak with a Dallas personal injury attorney about your case.

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We offer a free consultation and a free strategy session in personal injury cases. Our strategy session includes a summary of your case, identification of the legal issues involved, and identifying the legal issues that maximize the recovery in your case. We email a copy of this strategy session for you to keep. 

Contact the Law Office of Doug Goyen at (972) 599 4100 to discuss your insurance issues regarding your personal injury claim. Our injury lawyer can determine how we can help in your situation.

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