Notice To An Insurance Company Before Filing A Lawsuit

Saginaw insurance lawyers have to know the requirements to filing a lawsuit against an insurance company. The company is entitled to a pre-suit notice and failing to give notice can result in the case being thrown out of court.
Just sending a letter is not good enough. There are requirements to the content of the letter.
As a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit seeking damages for wrongs believed to be committed, the insured must give written notice at least 60 days before filing the lawsuit. The notice must tell the insurance carrier the specific complaint, the amount of actual damages and expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred in asserting the claim. This requirement is found in the Texas Insurance Code, Section 541.154. Keep in mind it is not enough to just say, “hey you owe me $x.” The letter must be clear as to what the insurance company has done that is wrong and clear as to how any dollar figure asserted is calculated.
Notice before filing suit is not required in situations where the statute of limitations is about to expire or when asserted as a counter-claim. This is found in Section 541.154(c).
One remedy for not properly giving notice, according to Section 541.155, is for the lawsuit to be abated.
The reason for notice, according to Section 541.156(a), is to give the insurance company the chance to settle with the complaining person. An offer may be tendered by the insurance company within 60 days after receiving the notice. Section 541.156(b), gives the parties a statutory right to seek mediation to resolve the dispute. The statute sets out the procedures for requesting this mediation. If such a mediation is conducted, the defendant can tender a settlement offer within 20 days after the mediation. If there is no such mediation, the defendant can tender a settlement offer within 90 days after the party’s answer is due.
Section 541.157, tells us any settlement offer must include an offer to pay an amount to settle the claim, and an amount to pay the reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees.
Section 541.158(a) says an offer that is not accepted within 30 days is considered rejected. If the offer is rejected, the defendant may file with the court an affidavit certifying rejection of the offer. The trial court then can compare the offer to the amount of money the plaintiff recovers. If the offer is the same as, substantially the same as, or more than the recovery, the plaintiff is limited to the lesser amount, according to 541.158 and 541.159(a). If the court limits the plaintiff’s recovery, the court may also limit the attorney’s fees. The plaintiff’s recovery cannot be limited if the court finds the defendant could not have performed the offer or substantially misrepresented the offer’s cash value.

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