Yes, insurance companies do refuse to pay claims. So, what happens when an insurance company unfairly denies your claim, or offers far less than what you truly deserve? It’s time to contact a personal injury attorney. Whether your accident was with a standard vehicle or an 18-wheeler semi-truck, working with an attorney can spare you the headache of fighting the insurance company, so you can focus on healing and getting back to your life. Here’s a quick guide.
Do I file a claim with my own car insurance or the other driver’s?
You should always file a claim with your own insurance company after an accident. But whether and how much your own insurer will have to pay will depend on your degree of fault in the accident, and whether you live in a “no fault” state or a “fault” state. In a “fault” state, like Texas, the driver judged to be less responsible for causing the accident will recover insurance money from the at-fault driver’s policy. This is why it is always vital to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver after an accident.
Can I file an insurance claim after a car accident if I’m at fault?
Yes, you should file a claim if you’re at fault. Why? Because your insurance can help cover your own potential liability in an accident and help protect you from exorbitant out-of-pocket costs. That said, never automatically assume you’re at fault for an accident, or take the blame at the scene. The fact is that emotions run high after a car wreck, even if it’s only a fender-bender. Oftentimes, both drivers are shaken up and a bit disoriented, which is not the time to make any judgment calls about who is ultimately to blame for the collision. Besides, it is not your responsibility to determine who is at fault — that task will fall on insurance companies, attorneys, and potentially the court.
How can I make sure an insurance company doesn’t deny my claim?
In general, you can’t proactively stop an insurance company from denying a claim. Insurance companies will always look for every reason to argue that the accident wasn’t their driver’s fault. But some things you can do to make it harder for them to deny your claim are:
- Remain calm at the scene, and avoid emotional reactions.
- Exchange information and document everything you can. Take pictures. Get contact info from witnesses. Make sure the police are called. Note the weather and road conditions.
- Get medical attention right away, even if you feel fine. So many car crash injuries aren’t apparent or even felt right away, but they have expensive and long-lasting ramifications. If you wait to go to a doctor, it will be harder to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the accident.
- Delay getting any car repairs until the insurance company and/or your investigative legal team has had a chance to take pictures and gather evidence.
What can I do if an insurance company denies my claim after a car accident?
If an insurance company denies your claim after a car accident, they will issue you a letter explaining why. Keep this letter (or request a duplicate copy if you’ve misplaced it) and bring it with you to a free consultation with a reputable personal injury lawyer. You will also want to bring any photos, documentation, and other supporting evidence so your attorney can evaluate the strength of your case and advise you on how to proceed.
Whatever you do, don’t just lie down and accept the insurance company’s refusal to pay. That’s exactly what they’re hoping you’ll do — get tired and give up. They are counting on you failing to take legal action until the statute of limitations has already run and they’re basically home-free from liability.
Still, don’t waste your energy yelling over the phone or threatening a lawsuit. Insurance companies won’t take you seriously until you actually hire a lawyer and send a demand letter. It is only after that that they’ll suddenly change their tune.
Should I take a claim payout offer from an insurance company after a car accident?
Generally speaking, no — not without consulting a personal injury attorney first. In rare cases, an insurance company will offer a generous and appropriate claim payout. But in most cases, an insurance company will try to get away with offering you as little as possible to make you simply go away. And as a condition of the measly settlement they initially offer, they will try to have you sign a release form that says you won’t pursue any additional claims related to the accident. So if you have injuries that you later come to find out are more serious, long-term, and debilitating (such as spinal injuries or traumatic brain injuries) you won’t be allowed to seek additional compensation to cover your future medical bills.
What is the timeline for getting paid by an insurance company after a car accident?
- Notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident.
- In Texas, you must file a Crash Report (Form CR-2) within 10 days of a car accident with potential damages in excess of $1,000, but only if police were not called to the scene.
- In Texas, the statute of limitations on car accidents is 2 years from the date of the accident. So if you want to sue an at-fault driver for compensation and/or damages, you must do so within that time frame, or your case may be thrown out.
What if I was in a wreck with a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or big rig?
If you’ve been injured (or, God forbid, lost a loved one) in an accident involving a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or big rig, you will likely be entitled to more compensation, as the results of these crashes tend to be particularly catastrophic. Trucking companies also tend to carry massive commercial insurance policies to protect them from liability, meaning that the amount you stand to recover in an insurance claim or lawsuit is far above and beyond what you would expect to recover in a “normal” car accident.
In lawsuits involving accidents between commercial trucks and personal vehicles, plaintiffs tend to recover more if the truck driver was drunk, intoxicated, or willfully negligent, or if the driver rear ended them or hit them while they were stopped in traffic. In cases where two 18-wheelers crashed into each other, the trucking companies’ respective insurers often end up duking it out as to who was to blame and who should pay. We specialize in trucking accidents in our Texas practice, so whether you’re a commercial driver or a regular driver, please reach out to see how we can help you.
Do I need a car accident lawyer near me?
If you have been involved in a car or semi-truck accident in Texas, and an insurance company is refusing to pay or offering you less than what you deserve, we recommend finding the very best personal injury lawyer in your area to advocate for you. At Attorney 911, we are fully committed to getting you the full compensation you’re entitled to, and won’t settle for less. Come see us at our offices in Houston and Austin. We want to hear your story.
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Legal Emergency Lawyers™ legal services
Attorney911 Legal Emergency Lawyers™ legal services is a Texas-based personal injury and criminal defense law firm with offices in Houston and Austin, though we are proud to serve Texans from all over the state and represent clients in federal court. We handle a wide variety of legal issues — from car accidents to worker’s compensation to DUI/DWI offenses. Our staff is bilingual, friendly, and genuinely passionate about helping our clients, whether it’s a million-dollar case or a thousand-dollar case. We also understand that cost can be a prohibitive factor in hiring a lawyer, and are willing to work with you on structuring payment in a way that is fair and feasible. We do accept credit cards for our hourly fees, and take some cases on contingency, which means you don’t pay us unless and until you get paid yourself. We know that you have a choice in your legal representation, and we believe that what makes us stand out from the competition is our real emotional investment in our clients. We see you as a person — not a paycheck. And we will fight hard for you, because we truly care.