We often know whether a car wreck claim has a chance of being resolved without the necessity of a lawsuit simply by knowing what insurance company insures the other driver. Some insurance companies will make reasonable offers, giving cases a chance to settle, but with other insurance companies we know we’re not going to get a fair offer until we file a suit and get the case ready to be tried.
A story in today’s Dallas Morning News talks about two of the worst offenders. According to the article, the Morning News analyzed Texas Department of Insurance complaints and found that Fred Loya and Old American County Mutual (which is owned or run in part by Loya) both far exceed other insurance companies under the state’s “complaint index.” And then the article gives some examples showing the shoddy treatment that people in wrecks had received from these two companies.
When you’re hit by another driver, you don’t get to choose what insurance company they have. You’re at their mercy, and the company (and even the individual adjuster signed to your claim) can make a big difference in how the case proceeds.
But you do get to pick your own insurance company, and you should factor in how that company might respond. For example, I recently filed a case against Fred Loya on an underinsured motorist claim (uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is coverage you may purchase on your own policy in case the person that hits you doesn’t have any or enough insurance ). Fred Loya told me that they were denying coverage because the driver of the car was excluded under the policy. But when I requested that they provide copies of the policy or other documents to support that claim, they would never respond. So I filed suit. Surely you’d expect your own insurance company to get back to you, but that wasn’t the case here.
The article was important for another thing — pointing out that the insurance department has little power over the insurance companies. As the article said:
For example, the department cannot force a company to pay a disputed claim if there is no violation of the law. Also, the agency cannot decide who is at fault in an accident.
That means that those of us that are trial lawyers are the last defense you have to help wrong these rights.
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