Our Texas governor determined that an emergency session was necessary to get legislation passed which limits the amount of damages TWIA will have to pay. The main arguments they made to take away Texas citizens’ rights were:
first — the insurance company needed to be able quantify how much they would owe and they couldn’t do that under the current laws second – to keep premiums affordable.
The problem is the first issue (while true) is not a legitimate reason to take people’s right to recover their damages. If TWIA would have done the job they were supposed to do they would have been able to quantify how much they would have owed for claims. The problem is they denied legitimate claims which resulted in their policy holders having to file suit to recover the damages they were legally entitled to recover. That included recovering the damages for attorney fees and damages to punish them for their misdeeds. Those damages and fees were required by law when the company violated their duty to their policy holders.
So what do our current elected officials do to correct this violation of public trust and dishonesty by the TWIA? They protect them from legitimate claims by limiting their exposure, in effect they told them — we know you lied, cheated and stole from your policy holders, but we want to make sure that you are protected from having to pay for the mess you caused.
The only time people hire a lawyer is to help them with an insurance claim is when the company isn’t doing what they should. So your insurance company is not taking care of your claim (the claim your premiums have been paid to handle) you have to hire an attorney, you prove your case, and recover damages.
Now because of this “emergency” legislation, the damages the jury determined to be fair might be reduced. The only cases it will impact are the legitimate cases – it like all the other “tort reform” legislation has absolutely no impact on the so called frivolous cases.
The second claimed reason to keep premiums affordable is laughable.
The governor signed his “emergency” legislation and less than 24 hours the TWIA raised premiums 5% for its policy holder which is the maximum allowed. So the TWIA now has been able to limit their exposure for their own misdeeds, which increases their profits and at the same time have raised the premiums their policy holders have to pay increasing the profits even more.
Hopefully all those who determined this was an emergency have been properly rewarded for their work for TWIA.
It is unfortunate that the individual policy holders who have been and will be impacted by this legislation did not have a lobbyist, but they do have a vote and hopefully will remember how you treated their concerns and rights.
The drunk driver had prior DUI’s and one DUI after he hit our client. He was excluded from the insurance on the truck according to the insurance company, so no coverage. It is clear that jail does not seem to change his attitude; hopefully a multimillion dollar judgment against him will convince him to stop drinking and driving.
We have previously proposed anyone convicted of a DUI be required to have and maintain insurance coverage of at least $100k to get their license back and have an interlock in their car. If they are stopped and found not to have valid coverage it would be a probation violation. The combination of an interlock and insurance coverage can not stop them from driving drunk, but it would hopefully make it more difficult and provide the people they injure with some compensation for their injuries.
Driving while drunk is not always some other guy or other family. Driving drunk not only can hurt others, but can have serious life changing impacts on the your life, including being arrested, losing your job and having a criminal conviction. Think before you drink and drive.
What are your thoughts?
Allstate spends millions and millions of dollars in advertising to convince people that they are there for them when they are needed. The good hands people. My experience is that Allstate continually denies or undervalues valid claims which results in their insured being sued. If that is not bad enough, many times they file answers which deny facts that their own insured later admits in their sworn testimony. The sad part is that this is so common that most attorneys are not even surprised at the tactic. This action not only results in their insured being sued for an accident which everyone knows was their fault, causing them to miss work and go through the stress of litigation but can result in the Allstate insured potentially being personally liable for a large verdict in excess of the policy limits. That is exactly what happened in Houston this week.
A young girl was hit by a man who ran a red light. He was insured by Allstate. The police listed him as the cause of the crash. She had over $16k in past medical and needed additional medical care which would cost $22,500.00 which was undisputed. The Allstate insured only had $25,000.00 in insurance coverage which the girl offered to accept. Allstate refused. Their insured gets sued, has to answer discovery, give a deposition, miss work and stress over this lawsuit. The day the trial is to start the lawyer for the young girl offers again to settle for the policy limits which would not only end the lawsuit, but protect the Allstate insured from any risk of an excess verdict. You would think they would jump at the chance to settle and protect their insured. That is why we pay premiums and they are the “good hands” company. Allstate instead choose to offer $12,500.00, which was refused. Jump to the next day, the jury returns and find the man 100% at fault and a verdict against in for $202,942.70. Now he faces the possibility of being personally liable for almost $200,000.00 all because Allstate decided to refuse to settle a claim that anyone who has any sense knew they owed. If you are in a wreck, never assume that your insurance company is going to do what is in your best interest. Require them to copy you on all letters and offers. In the last few years we have had more and more situations in which we have represented the insureds personally to make sure the insurance company did what they should to protect their insured. Will Allstate take notice and begin to fairly evaluate claims to protect their insureds from being sued? I doubt it. Based upon their history, I would expect them to just increase the advertising budget, blame the juries, judges and lawyers. Anything but take responsibility. Why should they when they can just drop their insured in the grease. Let me know your comments.