How to Deal With Insurance Companies After a Car Accident in Texas
Car Accidents

How to Deal With Insurance Companies After a Car Accident in Texas

What to do if you are in an accident with a car?

You might be eligible for compensation if you or your loved one were injured in an accident involving another driver in Texas. In most cases, the money will be paid by the insurance company representing the at-fault driver.

This may sound simple. It may sound simple. However, dealing with insurance companies following an accident in Dallas or Houston, San Antonio, or any other city in Texas can be complicated due to many reasons. It is essential to understand how Texas insurance works and your rights. You might not receive the compensation you deserve for your accident.

What is the Texas car insurance system?

Texas drivers must have car insurance, just like in other states. A minimum amount of liability insurance is required by Texas. This insurance covers your medical bills, repairs to your car or replacement cost, and other expenses related to an accident.

The Texas Department of Insurance states that the minimum state requirements for liability insurance include:

  • $30,000 per person to cover injury-related expenses
  • $60,000 for two people or more to cover injury-related expenses
  • $25,000 per accident to cover property damage

Insurance companies in Texas must offer two other types of insurance to drivers – personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. You must express your disapproval if you don’t want PIP or UM/UIM coverage. Below you can find out more about these types of insurance and other insurance options available to Texas drivers.

Drivers in Texas who don’t have car insurance could be subject to fines or other penalties. If a police officer stops you and asks for proof of insurance, the initial penalty for not having car coverage is $175 to $355. Drivers without proof of insurance can face additional fines of up to $1,000.

What kinds of insurance are available for Texas residents?

Texas drivers have the option to purchase additional insurance and liability coverage. There are many types of insurance that drivers can choose from:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance – Financial Compensation for medical expenses and 80 percent of lost wages.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance – Drivers without insurance or underinsured drivers will be compensated for any injuries they cause. Texas drivers must have the same minimum amount of U/UIM insurance for liability insurance.
  • $30,000 per person to cover injury-related expenses
  • $60,000 for two people or more to cover injury-related expenses
  • $25,000 per accident to cover property damage
  • Collision insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing a policy holder’s vehicle if it is damaged by an accident.
  • Comprehensive insurance – covers the cost of replacing or repairing a policy holder’s vehicle if it is stolen or damaged by other than a collision. This includes weather-related damage like hail, snow, and accidents involving animals and vehicle fires.
  • Insurance for medical expenses – Money to cover accident-related medical expenses regardless of fault.
  • Towing insurance and labor insurance – Money for roadside maintenance or compensation to tow a vehicle, such as jump-starting a car with a dead battery or changing a tire.
  • Car rental insurance-Money to rent a vehicle if the policy holder’s car was stolen or damaged in an accident.

Texas is considered an ‘at fault’ state. What does this mean?

Like many other states, Texas has an “at fault” insurance system for car accident claims. This system holds the at-fault party responsible for paying injury victims for accident-related expenses.

Tort-based insurance systems, which are at-fault systems, are commonly referred to. Tort refers to civil cases, not criminal ones, in which the at-fault party is legally liable for the payment of financial losses sustained by the claimant. In this instance, the victim would be the injured party.

The driver responsible for the collision is often the at-fault party. However, it may sometimes be another party, such as the vehicle manufacturer. Although the insurance company is not responsible per se for any damage done by the insured driver, they are responsible for covering the policy limit. In such cases, injured victims file an accident claim with their at-fault driver’s insurance company to be paid.

Do I need to contact my insurance company following an accident?

Yes. Yes. You must immediately notify your insurance company if you are involved in a car accident. You could be violating your insurance contract. It’s essential to be cautious about what you tell any insurance company, no matter how small, regardless of whether it is your own. Your comments should be brief and to the point. If you have any questions, please contact your attorney.

What should I do next after an accident?

If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by another driver, the Texas Department of Insurance suggests that you take these steps:

  • If anyone has been injured in an accident, or if the property damage from the crash exceeds $1,000, contact the police.
  • Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance information.
  • The other driver should have the same information.
  • Find the name and badge number of the investigating officer—also, the phone number where the officer can reach you.
  • Inform your insurance company about an accident.
  • Get a copy of the official report from your car accident, also known as a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report. Contact the investigating officer.
  • Send an official accident report to your insurance company.

You should also consider the following steps:

  • Get immediate medical attention. Do not attempt to diagnose yourself. Get a professional to examine you immediately.
  • Follow the advice of your doctor. You could lose your injury claim if you fail to follow your doctor’s advice.
  • Keep copies of all bills related to your accident and medical bills, and vehicle repairs bills.
  • Get in touch with an experienced attorney familiar with Texas car accident cases.

What should I do if my insurance company contacts me by the other driver?

Many injured victims decide to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer and seek financial compensation. Texas law requires that you file a claim and notify the insurance company of the at-fault driver within 15 days after filing it.

The accident is usually investigated by the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Do not be surprised if your insurance company calls you by phone, in person, or in writing to request additional information.

Do not respond to the insurance company contacting you if they contact you. The insurance company can use anything you say or write to reduce or deny your claim for an accident.

Employees and investigators from insurance companies are adept at gathering information about injury victims to use against them. They shouldn’t be intimidated. Before speaking to them, you have the right to legal counsel.

If the insurance company contacts you, we recommend that you take the following steps:

  • Answer their questions in writing or verbally.
  • Get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
  • Tell them to contact you again if they contact you.

Do I have to accept a settlement?

According to Texas law, you have 15 days when an accident claim is filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to either accept or deny your claim. The insurance company can request more time, sometimes up to 45 days, to determine whether or not to accept your accident claim. However, the company must inform you why they require more time in writing.

You might be tempted to accept the settlement offer made by the at-fault driver’s insurance company if they accept your accident claim. This is especially true if you owe significant money for vehicle repairs and medical care.

What may seem fair at first turns out to be far less than what your injury claim is worth. You can’t ask for more money after you have accepted a settlement, even if future expenses related to an accident are significantly higher than you anticipated. This is something insurance companies are well aware of. Insurance companies know this and often offer low-ball settlements soon after an accident.

What should you do if your insurance company offers a settlement? It’s best not to discuss the matter over the phone. Instead, ask them to mail it to you. Your attorney should also review the settlement offer. You can often negotiate for more, but the settlement offer must be accepted. Before you sign, consult a lawyer.

What is the value of my accident?

Motor vehicle accident claims and settlements are not fixed in dollars. According to insurance company research, the average settlement for a car accident is $19,000. However, this is average. Some claims can be worth several thousand dollars. Some claims are worth significantly more.

You should receive financial compensation for all accident-related expenses. You might not know how many expenses are covered under your accident claim. This doesn’t just cover short-term expenses such as emergency medical care and repairing or replacing your car. It is important to receive money for long-term costs related to an accident. These expenses could include:

  • You should keep track of your recovery by attending regular doctor appointments.
  • You may need physical therapy, particularly if you suffer from chronic pain or other long-lasting effects due to your accident injury.
  • If you are experiencing mobility problems or other long-term health issues due to your injury, follow-up surgery is recommended.
  • If you cannot work due to injury, you can get replacement income.
  • Future income is lost if you cannot return to work because of a permanent disability caused by your accident.
  • In certain situations, pain and suffering can be caused.

Insurance companies will try to lower the compensation offered to accident victims. Do not believe them. Don’t be afraid to disagree with them. Get a free consultation with an experienced attorney to review your case and give you an estimate of the potential value.

What happens if an insurance company is acting in bad faith?

Bad faith refers to the inaction or inaction of insurance companies to not honor a contract with policyholders or make payments. Bad faith can come in many forms.

  • Refusing negotiations in good faith with injury victims and their attorneys
  • Refusal to honor a legally binding agreement
  • Refusing to handle a claim or not complying with legally-defined deadlines.
  • Refusing to accept a fair settlement offer.
  • For no valid reason, deny an insurance claim

If you feel that an insurance company is acting in bad faith in Texas, there are several options. You can file a formal complaint to the Texas Department of Insurance. An attorney is also available. An experienced lawyer can assist you in dealing with insurance companies and holding them responsible for bad faith.

What can a lawyer do to help with dealing with insurance companies?

An attorney can help you deal with insurance companies more effectively after a car accident. Instead of telling them what to do next, you can direct what you want. A lawyer can assist you in many ways.

  • Communicating with your insurance company.
  • Examine any settlement offers they send you.
  • Negotiating a better settlement for your case
  • If necessary, file a lawsuit or take other legal action.

Many car accident cases have high stakes. Your injury claim can easily amount to thousands of dollars or more. Do not let the insurance company representing the at-fault driver push you around. You have the power to take back control. Find a lawyer to fight for your rights.

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