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!