New Laws Ensure Courts Are Used for Justice

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Hail Storm, ADA Lawsuit Reforms Take Effect Sept. 1, Protect Consumers

Texas has built a reputation for being the leader when it comes to lawsuit reform, and two wins this Legislative Session helped reinforce that: hailstorm lawsuit reform and ADA lawsuit reform. New laws taking effect Sept. 1 include hail storm lawsuit reform (HB 1774) and ADA lawsuit reform (HB 1463).

“Both laws aim to preserve Texans access to courts for legitimate claims, ensuring our courts are used for justice – not to line the pockets of some personal injury lawyers,” said Jennifer Harris, executive director of Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse.

Hail Storm Lawsuit Abuse (HB 1774)

Harris said HB 1774 is a common-sense reform that will limit lawsuit abuse, by giving insurance companies 60 days to resolve a claim before being taken to court. It also preserves Texas homeowners’ right to sue, while ensuring that natural disasters aren’t used for financial gain driven by personal injury lawyers.

These reforms are especially timely, in light of the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey that is impacting the Texas Gulf Coast and greater Houston area.

“We pray for those who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and we want to remind consumers of their rights and remedies under Texas law as they work to recover from the devastation,” said Harris.

Harris added, “As is often the case in the aftermath of natural disasters, there’s been considerable misinformation on how the new law (HB 1774) will impact homeowners. The bottom line is the normal insurance claims process has not changed, and a homeowner’s ability to file suit and receive full damages for unpaid claims does not change when the law takes effect on Sept. 1.”

TALA noted that Texas has some of the strongest consumer protections against insurers that unfairly deny or delay claims and, Harris noted, that won’t change on Sept. 1. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, TALA reminds homeowners that the new law is intended to stop unscrupulous personal injury lawyers, public adjusters and contractors from preying on Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“If you need to make a claim, Texans should contact their insurance companies directly and be wary of individuals claiming to help you get more from your insurance company. They may be motivated by greed, more than ensuring you and your family’s property is repaired and made whole,” said Harris.

ADA Lawsuit Abuse Reform (HB 1463)

HB 1463 requires a business must be given notice that they are in violation of the American with Disabilities Act and be given an opportunity to fix any issues with accessibility before a lawsuit can be filed.

“These new laws solidify Texas’ reputation for common-sense reforms that keep Texas open for business, ensure access to our courts and rein in lawsuit abuse,” said Harris.

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Learn more about Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse online at tala.com or via Twitter at @TexasTALA. Media contact: Jennifer Harris, 512 773 7168 or jharris (at) jwhcommunications (dot) com.