New Laws To Change Texas Personal Injury Litigation?

Updates on Pending Bills

Mark Twain noted that “no man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Here we are in that scary time of alternating years when plaintiff lawyers hold their breaths to see how the Texas legislature will continue to curtail the rights of injured people to recover their damages.

The final day for the legislature is still five weeks away and there are too many to write up in this short space, but here is the status of several significant ones being considered in Austin:

SB 1628 will be debated on the Senate floor this week. If passed, protections for policyholders against low, slow, or no payments from their insurance company will be slashed.

HB 335,
which protects drivers from “named driver” insurance policies, has been voted out of committee and has a chance of passing. These “junk policies” need to be eliminated so that motorists don’t get stuck holding the bag. 

Other proposed bills on this list from the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, of which I am a proud member and where I serve on the board of directors, include:

HB 241 – Substituted service of citation through Facebook or other  social media.

HB 409  – Liability insurance for persons holding certain alcoholic beverage permits.

HB 419  –  Federal income tax liability for certain damages awarded in certain civil actions.

HB 770 –  Civil liability for the provision of an alcoholic beverage to a minor. 

HB 735 –  Availability and use of certain evidence in connection with an award of exemplary damages.

HB 820  –  Liability for injury arising from certain motor vehicle accidents. 

HB 969  – Availability and use of certain evidence in connection with an award of exemplary damages.

SB 1166  – Recovery of damages for delay of payment of certain insurance claims.

HB 1319  – Use of health information technology in this state; creating a criminal offense. 

HB 1638 – Limitations on settlement agreements with a governmental unit.

HB 1639 – Nonpreferred provider claims under a preferred provider benefit plan related to emergency care.

HB 1692 – Doctrine of forum non conveniens.

HB 1733 – Automobile liability insurance for drivers providing transportation network services.

HB 2077 – Immunity of a governmental entity for damage to certain utility facilities.

HB 2211- Agreed venue selection in civil actions.

HB 2375 – Liability of a governmental unit for personal injury and death caused by the governmental unit’s negligence.

HB 2379 -Liability of first responders who provide roadside assistance.

HB 2440 – Regulation of transportation network companies; imposing and authorizing fees; requiring an occupational permit.

HB 2633 – Release of information regarding motor vehicle accidents.

HB 3394 – Direct action against an insurer and insured by third parties and required provisions of a liability insurance policy.

HB 3646 – Insurance claims and certain prohibited acts and practices in or in relation to the business of insurance; amending provisions that are or may be subject to a criminal penalty.

HB 969 – Availability and use of certain evidence in connection with an award of exemplary damages.

I will report on the final outcome of these bills at the end of the legislative session on June 1st.

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