Texas First-Party Insurance Claim Attorneys
Understanding How First-Party Insurance Works
When a natural disaster hits, you need to know that you have a plan set in place that will sufficiently allow you and your family to recover from the damaging aftermath of a hurricane, wildfire, or another catastrophic event in your life. The most common way to do this is by establishing an insurance policy that will allow you to recuperate after the fact, such as first-party insurance.
First-party insurance is a type of policy in which the insured individual (referred to as the first party) is protected in the way of financial payments by their insurer (referred to as the second party). In theory, first-party insurance can be used in the event of an unexpected accident, a serious injury, or a natural disaster. It can be applied to cases in which damages and injuries were caused by the first party or by someone else (referred to as the third party).
Unfortunately, obtaining first-party insurance is not always enough to fully protect you in the wake of an accident or catastrophic event. Insurance companies are notorious for practicing bad-faith behaviors like denying insured individuals the compensation they need after an accident or delaying payment to a policyholder in need.
You may have taken the appropriate steps to insure yourself in the event of a disaster, but your insurance company may be less than willing to make good on the claim you filed. When insurance claims are not upheld to the standard they should be, you are rightfully entitled to take legal action. With the help of a lawyer, you actively work to make sure that your insurance company is held to the standards it should be. When legal counsel is on your side, an insurance company will be hard-pressed to argue their reasoning for denial or late payout of your claim.
Bringing a Lawsuit Against an Insurance Company
An insurance policy is a contract between two parties; if its terms are not met, either party can sue. When an insurance company does not fulfill contractual obligations, the insured party can sue for breach of contract. An insured party seeking to recover damages must be able to prove that the insurance contract existed and was in force at the time of the loss, that the insured party was in compliance with the terms of the insurance contract, or that the insurer has breached the terms of the insurance contract.
First-Party Insurance Claim FAQ
Who Can File a First-Party Insurance Dispute?
The insured individual and/or a named or intended beneficiary can sue an insurance company for bad faith practices.
I Haven't Made a Payment on a New Policy Yet. Can I Still File a Claim?
Once an insurance contract is in effect, the insurer must accept and cover legitimate claims. Before making the first payment, some bills and expenses may be excluded, depending on the terms of the policy, but that should not keep you from filing.
I Didn't Get a Rejection Letter for Months. Is that Bad Faith?
In most cases, insurers must respond within 15 business days, informing you whether your claim has been accepted or denied. Unless the insurer has requested an extension to review the claim, and informed you, the long delay is not allowed. It may be considered bad faith.
What Evidence Do I Need to Sue My Insurance Company for Bad Faith?
To prove that an insurance company has acted in bad faith, you must be able to show:
- The insurance policy was valid and paid in full at the time of the loss for which you are filing a claim;
- The insured party complied with the terms of the policy; and
- The insurance company breached the terms of the contract by delaying/failing to make payment.
Most insurance companies retain serious legal counsel right away, so the sooner you secure representation, the better for your case.
What Are My Rights If My Claim Isn't Paid on Time?
Insurance companies must respond to claims quickly. If your insurance company does not respond promptly or does not pay your valid claim, you can sue. If the court finds your insurer failed to meet its obligations, you can file for damages above and beyond policy limits.
My Claim Wasn’t Denied, But I Think I Was Underpaid. What Can I Do?
Sadly, insurance companies often try to underpay claims because they know they can get away with it when a policyholder is not aware of their rights. This can be considered bad faith if the insurance company fails to pay what they owe to an insured and breaches their agreement.
What Are Common Bad Faith Insurance Practices?
One of the fundamental ways to know that an insurance company has violated your rights is actually to know your rights. Understanding what is considered bad faith insurance practices can help you quickly take legal action if you have been mistreated.
Some of the most common types of unlawful insurance practices include:
- Intentionally misrepresenting policy provisions
- Failing to respond to claims in an adequate timeframe
- Performing inadequate claim investigations
- Underpaying or denying valid claims
How Can I Afford an Attorney if My Claim Hasn't Been Paid?
Insurance companies often count on the fact that delaying or denying payment of claims will limit the insured party's ability to pursue a legal remedy. At Arnold & Itkin, we understand you may be short on funds. For that reason, we work on a contingency basis—our clients do not pay a penny unless we are successful in recovering compensation on their behalf. This gives you 100% peace of mind when you call on us.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
In bad faith claims, there are specific damages that may be made available to individuals who have been victims of unlawful insurance practices.
The three primary categories of recoverable damages include:
- Contract damages refer to the benefits you were owed under your policy,
- Extra-contractual damages refer to additional compensation based on the insurer’s tortious actions. This may include emotional distress and economic loss suffered by the insured while waiting for the claim to be resolved (such as attorney’s fees).
- Punitive damages are awarded to punish the insurance company for their actions, aiming to curb such actions in the future.
Why Contact a First-Party Insurance Lawyer?
Just because you have paid for insurance does not mean you can expect to have your claim paid in full. Insurance companies are more concerned with profits than with helping their policyholders and will do everything in their power to minimize or deny claim payments. Insurance law can be complicated, and the amount of information and documentation required to prove a claim has been unfairly denied can be overwhelming.
Insurance companies play games with their policyholders, hoping stalling tactics and legal run-around will coerce individuals into settling, if for no other reason than to end their insurance battles. At Arnold & Itkin, we deal with insurance companies on a daily basis in a variety of situations, and we understand what it takes to assist a policy holder in seeking fair payment of covered damages. Our attorneys have successfully handled many first-party insurance claims, from fire damage to losses incurred by hurricanes.
If you or a loved one has had a covered claim wrongfully denied by your insurer, you may be entitled to compensation above and beyond the initial terms of your policy.
Call (888) 493-1629 to Schedule a 100% Free Consultation
If you are a policyholder of first-party insurance, then you have already taken the appropriate measures necessary to protect yourself in the wake of an accident. Now, it is up to your legal counsel to ensure that your insurance claim is not only recognized by your insurance company but made good on as well. Disputes that arise between a policyholder and an insurer often concern matters that relate back to the accurate documentation of the accident and injury. You do not want to lose your entitlement to recover funds because an adjustor failed to document your losses and the details of your case correctly. Therefore, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side to prevent this from happening.
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, no matter the type of insurance claim you are facing, you will be paired with an attorney who is prepared to take on all of the nuances of your case.
When it comes to filing an insurance claim and successfully obtaining the monies owed to you, there is no better team to trust. Contact us today to learn more.