How To Deal With Insurance Companies After An Auto Accident
While every collision is unique, there are patterns to how crashes occur. Being aware of them could help you avoid an accident.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN AUTO ACCIDENT
What you do right after a car accident can be very important to your ability to file a claim and get paid. Even though you might not be able to do all of these things if you were seriously hurt, doing as much as you can will help you have the best chance of getting better.
First, if you or someone else is hurt, call 911 and wait for help to arrive. Even if you are not hurt badly enough to need an ambulance, you should still go to the hospital as soon as possible. If you don’t do this, your whole claim could be denied.
Second, gather as much proof as you can. Try to take pictures of the accident scene, get contact information from the other driver(s) and any witnesses, and keep track of all medical records related to the crash. Write down or take a picture of the other driver’s insurance information and make sure to get the driver’s contact information at the same time.
Third, call the police and ask for the number of the accident report. Then, you or your lawyer can ask the police for a copy of the accident report as soon as it is ready.
Fourth, when you can, write down as many details about the accident as you can remember. Try to be as exact as you can about what happened and when things happened, like when the police or ambulance came. As soon as possible after the accident, make these notes (when your memory is fresh).
After you have exchanged information with the other driver, don’t give them, their insurance agent, or their lawyer any more information. If you have a lawyer, just tell anyone who wants to talk to you about the accident to talk to your lawyer.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best thing you can do to protect yourself after a car accident. The insurance company is not required to look out for your best interests, but your attorney is. Working with an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer will give you the best chance of getting the money you deserve.
DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
If you weren’t hurt too badly in the accident, you might be tempted to try to work out a settlement with the insurance company on your own. Unfortunately, this doesn’t take into account the fact that an insurance company’s main goal is to pay out as little as possible on every claim.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Their goal is not to give you the money and care you deserve. Instead, they want to save money for their company. Even though this might be your first major accident, insurance adjusters deal with claims like yours every day. They know how to take advantage of people who have been in car accidents when they are at their weakest, and the truth is that they have no reason to be fair with a claimant who doesn’t have a lawyer.
A lot of the time, the first thing insurance companies do is try to be nice and tell you that everything will be covered in the end. They’ll tell you to keep getting treatment and send them your medical bills, but a few months later, when you’re already in over your head, they’ll completely change their minds. Their goal is to make the victim so angry that they will settle for a lot less than the case is worth.
At every turn, insurance companies will waste time and do it on purpose. Sometimes, they’ll say that they haven’t been able to reach the other person for weeks. They might say your injuries aren’t as bad as you say they are. They might even say you weren’t at fault when the facts clearly show you weren’t.
When you file a claim, insurance companies have teams of lawyers on staff who look for ways to deny your case or reduce their liability. They know that if you let them control the process (by persuading you that you don’t need a lawyer), they’ll always be on top. Having a lawyer on your side who looks out for your best interests is the only way to make things fair. You want a lawyer who will go to court if they have to and who has won cases against insurance companies before.
Our job at Montgomery Law is to help you. We’re here to take care of our clients’ claims so they can keep focusing on getting better. Our lawyers go after every claim aggressively to make sure that our clients get every penny they are owed.
TIME LIMITS & THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
In Texas, you only have a certain amount of time to ask the person who caused the accident to pay you money. This law, called the “statute of limitations,” says that people who have been hurt have only two years to file a claim before they can’t do anything about it. If you file a lawsuit after this date, it will probably be thrown out right away.
The two-year statute of limitations has a few important exceptions. First, claims for wrongful death must be made within one year of the date the victim died. Second, if the claim is against a government entity, like a city bus accident, the city will usually need to be notified between 45 and 90 days after the accident. If you don’t give notice in time, you lose the right to get paid.
Even though the statute of limitations seems harsh, it does have a reason for being there. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder to find evidence for a case. Memory fades, witnesses move away, and evidence can be lost or destroyed.