Insurance and Consumer Litigation
As a Tyler Accident and Injury Attorney, I know the corporate and insurance world continues to engage in many heavy handed or simply illegal practices based on the assumption that the amounts of money involved will not result in legal action.
The Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Texas Insurance Code, and the common law doctrines regarding breach of contract all provide relief for consumers and small businesses in situations involving moderate amounts of damages. The Texas Insurance Code provides for the recovery of not only actual damages but also statutory penalties and attorneys' fees for many violations of the insurance code regardless of the amount of money at issue. The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act not only sets out a long list of specifically prohibited practices but also generally prohibits false, misleading or deceptive trade practices. The DTPA is a particularly potent consumer protection tool because of the additional damages authorized by the Act. The additional DTPA damages are triggered by a 60 day demand letter. If the demand is not paid within the time allowed by the statute and a violation of the DTPA is found then the Act authorizes the trebling of the damages if a "knowing" violation is found, and requires the payment of reasonable and necessary costs and attorneys' fees. Most material misrepresentations made in connection with the sale of a good or service qualify under the DTPA for treble damages, costs and attorneys' fees.
The common law doctrines regarding breach of contract also offer remedies where a Defendant fails to perform as promised and usually includes the payment of attorneys' fees. The parties to a Texas contract have a duty of "good faith and fair dealing" in connection with the performance of the contract. The breach of this duty is often referred to as "bad faith". Bad faith claims are often asserted in connection with construction contracts, health and liability insurance policies, residential real estate contracts, and a variety of service contracts.
These special Acts and doctrines are valuable tools which we have used to force corporate wrongdoers to "do the right thing" and pay damages and attorneys' fees in situations involving smaller amounts of damages.
After more than thirty years and thousands of personal injury cases there is virtually nothing that we haven't seen and successfully handled. There is no substitute for experience. If you want the assistance of an experienced Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney in the Tyler / Longview / East Texas area contact us today.