Who Can Sue For A 1st Party Claim?

Insurance lawyers in Grand Prairie can answer the above question for you. This issue was also discussed in the 1994, Texas Supreme Court case styled, Allstate Insurance Company v. Watson. Here is brief information relevant to the opinion.
Watson was injured in a car accident. Watson brought suit against the insured under an automobile liability policy issued by Allstate and also brought suit against Allstate alleging unfair claim settlement practices under Texas Insurance Code, Section 541.060, for failing to attempt in good faith to effectuate prompt settlement where liability had become reasonably clear. Watson also brought suit under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, breach of contract, and the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing. The trial court granted Allstate’s Motion for Summary Judgment against Watson. The Court of appeals reversed and remanded the trial court, holding that Watson, as a third-party beneficiary, could bring an action under Section 541.060 without first proceeding directly against the named insured of the policy.
The Texas Supreme Court held that Section 541.060 does not confer upon third-party claimants a direct cause of action against an insurer for unfair claim settlement practices. Under Section 541.060 is an exclusive list of statutory unfair or deceptive acts or practices. However, this section does not define unfair claim settlement practices as an unfair or deceptive act or practice. It provides a private cause of action for any practice defined by Section 17,46 of the DTPA as an unlawful deceptive trade practice. However, unfair claim settlement practices is not among the enumerated items defined by Section 17.46.
Finally, the duty of good faith and fair dealing is not expanded to third-party claimants. This duty is premised upon a special relationship between the insured and the insurer, a relationship that does not exist between the insurer and a third-party claimant. More importantly, expanding the duty to third-party claimants would undermine the duties to insurers owe to their insureds. The insurer would be faced with co-extensive and conflicting duties which the insurer owes to its insured.

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