There are many times where the insurance adjuster himself, commits a wrong against a policy holder. This is an important issue. Here is why. When an Insurance Law Attorney is representing a client in a claim there are a lot of strategies. One important strategy is to file a lawsuit in a court that is most favorable to achieving a favorable result. In that regard, State Court is almost always a better place to fight the insurance company than is Federal Court. Most insurance companies have home bases located out-of-state whereas 99% of adjusters will live in-state. This matters because the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that out-of-state defendants in a lawsuit be allowed to defend themselves in Federal Court unless there is more than one defendant and atleast one of the other defendants is an in-state resident.
For the reason explained in the first paragraph, it is important to be able to articulate a particular wrong that the in-state adjuster committed. The adjuster will be defended by an insurance company, usually the employer, thus a lawsuit against the adjuster in his individual capacity is not a futile act. Insurance company attorneys are going to always want to get the lawsuit removed to Federal Court if there is any way possible to do so. Repeating what was just said, this is because Federal Court is usually more favorable to the insurance company.
A case decided on October 27, 2009, discusses this issue. The case, Lakewood Chiropractic Clinic v. Travelers Lloyds Insurance Company and Sonja R. Victor, was a claim for benefits resulting from hurricane damages. Lakewood alleged that the adjuster, Sonja, violated several insurance statutes. Lakewood also alleged these same violations of Travelers. The problem here is that there was not a distinction made between what Sonja did and what Travelers did, that was wrong.
This is an example of where a full understanding of how the Texas Insurance Code allows for claims against an adjuster in her individual capacity. Texas Insurance Code, Section 541.151 gives guidance in this regard and points to other relevant areas in the Insurance Code and the Texas Business & Commerce Code, Section 17.46(b), that are helpful.
A failure to fully draw a distinction between the acts committed by an adjuster which are actionable in Texas, and the acts of the insurance company, will result in the case being tried in Federal Court. The advantage then will be in favor of the insurance company.
The above is just another example for why an experienced Insurance Law Attorney should be involved in any claims being made against an insurance company. Early involvement by an experienced Insurance Law Attorney is more likely to insure a favorable outcome to the policy holder.