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Texas Supreme Court Helps Insurance Companies Avoid being Sued

Posted 10-Mar-2015

In February 2015 the state supreme court chose to increase the protections afforded to insurance companies which began with a 1989 ruling that gave the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation the power to oversee insurers accused of bad faith by clients. The recent case unanimously decided against an injured worker who attempted to file a suit against Old Republic Insurance Company for denying him benefits.

The injured worker was hurt and suffered extreme burns in a 1998 smelting accident in which one of his arms required amputation with the other left badly mangled. The injured worker was ordered to utilize a gym a couple hours from his home as part of his rehabilitation. When insurance adjusters believed he was not using the gym, they filed a criminal complaint against him. A grand jury then indicted the worker and his wife for insurance fraud. The couple was arrested on fraud charges and alleged that the worker had forged travel reports.

The worker contended that he had not used the electronic swipe card to enter the gym due to injuries to his remaining arm and that gym employees had let him into the gym. When gym employees substantiated the worker’s story, the charges were dropped.

Texas Backs Insurance Companies

At the same time, the couple filed a multimillion-dollar suit against Old Republic for bad faith, malicious prosecution, and other transgressions, charging the insurer with continuing to deny the injured worker the medical benefits and treatments due him under Texas law. Justices threw out the lawsuit in late February, however. The ruling expands the jurisdiction of the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation to include acts of misrepresentation and malicious prosecution.

In removing potential means of obtaining a redress of grievances against insurers, the attorney for the injured worker alleged companies have less motivation to deal with injured workers in good faith.

If you were hurt in an accident, our San Antonio workers’ compensation attorney can take on your employer and insurance company to get you the compensation you need. Call today for a free case evaluation!

Categories: Workers' Compensation