If the defendant's insurance company is ultimately going to have to pay for my damages why are we making a claim directly against the defendant?
Texas law requires that a claim be made directly against the at–fault party. This is true even though the at–fault party will not ultimately pay any part of the settlement or verdict.
Many states have a "direct action" statute that allows an injured party to make a claim directly against the responsible insurance company. Thus far the insurance lobby in Texas has prevented Texas from having such a direct action statute.
This law infuriates many East Texans. As a Tyler injury attorney I’ve had a number of situations where the at–fault driver’s insurance company refused to make any reasonable settlement offers and forced my law firm to file a lawsuit against their insured and serve their insured with suit papers. Several times these insureds have called my offices and explained that they had insurance, that we mistakenly sued them, and if we are unhappy with their insured company that we should sue their insurance company. When I explained to them that under Texas law we had to sue them and that their insurance company got to hide behind them they were initially in disbelief and subsequently angry with their insurance company for getting them personally sued after having paid high premiums to their insurance company for many years.
Even Louisiana has a direct action statute pursuant to which auto accident victims may sue the automobile liability insurance company which will ultimately be responsible for paying the damages. Thus far, the Texas insurance lobby has prohibited Texas from having such a law.