Property and Casualty Insurance Pitfalls with Jason Byrd

Episode 489 Scott: I am honored and excited to have my oldest friend and a distinguished attorney who is just an amazing guy and done some amazing things as well in his life. He’s the host of an amazing…

Property and Casualty Insurance Pitfalls with Jason Byrd



Episode 489

Scott: I am honored and excited to have my oldest friend and a distinguished attorney who is just an amazing guy and done some amazing things as well in his life. He’s the host of an amazing and hot new podcast called The Byrd Chronicles as well. All the way from Beaumont, Texas, the one, the only, the man, the myth, the legend. It’s Jason Byrd.

Jason: Thanks for having me, Scott. That’s quite an auspicious introduction. That’s a nice thing anybody said about me in a long time. I appreciate it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been anybody’s treat, but from a world internet-famous guy like you, I’ll take it.

Scott: Jason and I had been friends since before the summer of our fourth-grade year.

Jason: We were about nine years old.

Scott: That’s in a small town at Ingleside, Texas. We’re Ingledinks from Ingleside, as we’d like to say. There are about 3,500 people. My dad owned the local hardware store, Ingleside Hardware. Your family owned the local car lot, Byrd Automotive. Who knew that this small kid who comes skipping into the hardware store to buy some nuts and washers and talking trash we’d still be friends to this day? It’s hard to believe, 33, 34 years ago.

Jason: It’s been something like that. We’re getting old.

Scott: Why don’t you share a little bit about what you do and what you’re doing, your main gig?

Jason: I’m a lawyer. I’ve heard you had lawyers on and they’ll talk about some legal issues. My practice doesn’t particularly tailor or play into a lot of what you do. A lot of your work is on the business side, on the backend. I want to say I grade those guys’ papers, so whenever there a problem that’s when I get involved. I do a lot of litigation. It’s hard to pigeonhole my practice. I call it commercial litigation. Within that, there’s a broad spectrum of things that we do. I’ve always done a lot of insurance litigation and what I call the first party. Simply, you’ve got first-party claims and third-party claims. I’ll give you an example of a third party. Let’s say you’re driving your Honda and you crash into me and I’m mad and I have to sue you. I deal with your insurance company, that’s on a third-party basis, i.e. it’s your insurance company. The first-party claim is let’s say I have my own insurance company and I have my own client and I make a claim and I’m not happy with the outcome where they don’t treat me fairly or whatnot. Most of my practice insurance-wise involves all lines but involves first-party clients.

I liked that particularly for a variety of reasons. Number one, to oversimplify it, but generally, in a third-party context, the insurance company doesn’t have to treat you fair. They owe you no duties, they can lie to you. They can do whatever. On a first-party basis, you paid for that product. They have to treat you fair. When they don’t, the avenues available under common law and under the statutory structure, at least in Texas and not every state but most states, allows for little more leverage points. We’ve got that and then do other things. I call it fighting with the government and that’s pretty broad. Most people got a view of, “The government does something, I could use the legal process to fix it.” It’s not always that easy. Typically, the government operates under the structure of sovereign immunity. It goes back to the English system and the king. The king can do no wrong. That still applies now. The government’s immune from anything unless they say they’re not. Most notably, those are constitutional issues. A big one we’re dealing with right now is some eminent domain cases.

As a government, I can’t come to take your property unless I have a public reason to do so. If I do, I have to pay you fairly. That harkens back to taxing colonists for tea and crap like that. It goes back to taxing people on tea and not giving them representation and things like that, and so we deal with that. Sometimes there are other constitutional issues that deprive people of life, liberty, ability and happiness. I have a pretty interesting case to go. One of those where it turns out I have a client who was sexually assaulted by a police officer. As it has come out, it isn’t his first rodeo. Since we got a little notoriety on the case and a little bit of news coverage locally, I know over a dozen other victims have come forward and contacted us.

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