A Victory for Texas Auto Insurance Policyholders: Allstate v. Irwin

June 29, 2021 Vehicle Wrecks

Is it worth purchasing uninsured/underinsured coverage (UM/UIM) under your auto insurance policy?

Having UM/UIM coverage under your insurance policy can benefit you if you ever find yourself in a situation like Sarah’s. Three years ago, Sarah was driving back home from her job after a long day. She slowed down due to oncoming traffic on the highway. The driver behind her failed to come to a complete stop because he was distracted by his phone, which caused him to rear-end Sarah’s vehicle. The at-fault driver only had the minimum coverage required by Texas law. Since the at-fault driver’s minimum coverage was not enough to pay for Sarah’s medical expenses, she was able to make a UIM claim with her own insurance company to help cover the costs of her medical bills. Sarah benefited from having purchased UIM coverage.

Insurance companies are notorious for using abusive tactics in handling UM/UIM claims. The second you make a UIM claim with your insurance carrier, they may start to behave like the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies are not your friends. Insurance companies look out for their interests and make decisions that will save them money in the long run. Resolving a UM/UIM claim on your own can be difficult. Let our UM/UIM attorneys help you!

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and need to file a UM/UIM claim against your insurance carrier, immediately call the Terry Bryant law firm at 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to advocate for you. We are available 24/7 to take your call. Let our car accident lawyers help you get the fair compensation you deserve!

The Tables Have Turned.

In 2006, the Texas Supreme Court rendered a ruling in its Brainard v. Trinity Universal Insurance Company case, in which it held that UM/UIM insurance carriers do not have a contractual duty to pay UM/UIM benefits until their insureds have obtained a judgment establishing the liability and underinsured status of the at-fault driver. Since then, UIM carriers have been using the Court’s Brainard decision to their advantage by making unreasonable offers on UIM claims to force their insureds to go to trial and prove their damages before the UM/UIM carrier pays up. Insureds who did not want to proceed with trial and wait another year or two for their UIM claim to be resolved would often be forced to accept the unreasonable offer.

UM/UIM insurance carriers had nothing to lose and were not subject to any penalty for their conduct towards their insureds. However, the tables have turned. A recent ruling from the Texas Supreme Court has changed the mechanics on how UM/UIM claims are resolved, exposing UM/UIM carriers to pay an insured’s attorney fees if the insured files suit against their carrier.

What does the Court’s decision in Allstate v. Irwin mean for me and my loved ones

In the Allstate v. Irwin decision that the Texas Supreme Court handed down early this year, the Court held that if an insured ends up having to sue their own UM/UIM carrier and is successful, the insured may be able to recover their attorney’s fees that they incurred in prosecuting the UM/UIM claim. Further, the Court affirmed that an insured may use the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act to establish the perquisites to recovery in a UM/UIM claim. This is a huge victory for auto insurance policyholders in Texas.

The Allstate v. Irwin decision now gives carriers an incentive to deal fairly with their insureds because the failure of doing so can open them to having to pay attorney’s fees if their insureds proceed with prosecuting the UM/UIM claim. If your case involves your attorney spending hundreds of hours working it up for trial, the cost of attorney’s fees may greatly exceed the policy limits. This now puts pressure on UM/UIM carriers to deal reasonably with their insureds.

Let our UM/UIM lawyers advocate for you.

Our attorneys at the Terry Bryant Law Firm are ready to help you! If you’ve been recently injured in a motor vehicle accident and have sustained serious injuries, contact our legal team at 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000. Our attorneys will fight for your rights – whether dealing with the adverse driver’s insurance company or your very own.

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