What to do After a Car Accident (Updated 2017)


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Auto Accidents are unexpected and stressful. Even the most careful drivers may be involved.  Hopefully these tips will give you guidance on what to do after a car accident.

Before the accident

Prepare the trunk of your car for a possible accident as well by making sure you have:

  • A set of cones;
  • Warning triangles; emergency flares;
  • A pen and a card with relevant medical information for you and your family.
  • A copy of our free accident form which can go in your glove compartment and/or our Car Accident App.

What to do after a car accident:

  1. Stay as calm as possible.
  2. Check for injuries. Life and health are more important than damage to vehicles. When in doubt, call an ambulance.
  3. If the accident is minor and there are no serious injuries (meaning only soft tissue injuries), move cars to a safe place, rather than risk being in moving traffic.  If there are serious injuries, do not move the seriously injured person until EMS arrives unless they are in more danger by remaining where they are.
  4. Turn on hazard lights. If warranted, and possible, use cones, warning triangles or flares for safety.
  5. Make sure you get the other driver’s name, address, and insurance information.
  6. Call the police, even if the accident is minor.
  7. Notify your insurance company about the accident immediately.
  8. Don’t sign any document unless it is for the police or for your insurance company.
  9. Make immediate notes about the accident including the specific damages to all vehicles involved.  If the name on the auto registration and/or insurance policy is different from the name of the driver, establish the relationship and jot it down. Get witness information, if possible, as well.
  10. Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the scene (preferably before the cars are moved), debris in the roadway, the vehicles (inside and out, all around), and the identification cards of the witnesses and other drivers.
  11. Be polite, but don’t tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was. Likewise, do not accuse the other drivers of being at fault at this time. Everyone is usually shaken up immediately after an accident, and it is wise to state only the facts. Limit your discussion of the accident to the insurance agent and the police. Even if the facts are embarrassing or detrimental to you, be truthful.
  12. If possible, do not leave the accident scene before the police officers and other drivers do.
  13. Finally, remember that while getting the facts is very important, investigating the accident should be left to the police officers, the insurance companies, and your lawyer.
what to do after a car accident pamphlet image

Hopefully these tips of what to do after a car accident will help you in after a car crash.  Other articles you may be interested in:

If you were involved in an accident in Texas, we’ll be happy to mail it to you (together with a host of other free stuff.) You can either email us, call us, or request one of our free consumer reports.

Questions You Should Ask the Insurance Adjuster


Last Updated on February 8th, 2019

Insurance Adjusters

I have been representing accident victims in their claims against insurance companies for the past 16 years. My office has handled hundreds of accident cases during this time. Over the years I have seen how the insurance industry operates. How they deal with accident victims after they begin the claim process following an accident. I have seen the kind of procedures that are in place for the insurance adjuster to follow. I have heard how they use their protocols and scripts.

Most insurance adjusters are highly trained adversaries, and very good at what they do. People do not think this is the case. At least not in the beginning of the claims process when the adjuster is acting like your friend. As I am sure you are aware, it is the insurance company’s job to make money. One way they do this is by settling claims for less than what the claim is worth. Insurance companies use sophisticated, yet simple methods to help it accomplish this goal. They also try to keep the money for as long as possible before paying the claim. This allows the insurance company to continue to earn interest on that money. You might think your claim isn’t big enough for this to make a difference, but when you multiply that by the thousands of claims across the country it does.

Here are some questions that can make the insurance company uneasy and nervous. They do not like it when you ask these questions because they cannot answer the question or, the answer is one they do not like to give.

Question 1: Isn’t it true that if I hire an attorney, I’m likely to receive more money in settlement than if I try to settle the claim on my own?

Answer: Don’t be surprised if the adjuster lies to you and says “no” to this important question. This is incorrect. Most accident victims received larger settlements if they hire an attorney.

How do I know this? The Insurance Research Council (a nonprofit group funded by major insurance companies) conducted a study called “Paying for Auto Injuries”. This study found that the average total payout on claims that involve an attorney is 4.8 times greater than those claims where the injured victim settled on his or her own. This same study showed that individuals who use an attorney receive 3.28 times more money after the attorney’s fee is paid. Most insurance claims adjusters are aware of this study. To maximize profits the insurance company will train its claims representatives to go to great efforts to dissuade people from hiring an attorney. This keeps more money in the insurance company’s pocket. They have protocols and scripts to dissuade you from hiring an attorney. There is even a script for what to say if you start talking about hiring attorney. There is a reason why big buildings in every city have insurance company’s names on them.

Question 2: How can the insurance company ensure to me that the amount being offered to me is a fair and reasonable settlement?

Answer: It can’t and it won’t! The adjuster may tell you that settlement offer is reasonable and fair, but he can’t verify or prove it to you. He can’t tell you that everyone with similar injuries don’t receive more. Unless you are in the business of negotiating and settling injury claims there is little chance you will know whether the settlement amount that is being offered is fair. By negotiating and settling the claim yourself without using the assistance of a professional (i.e., personal injury attorney) you run the risk of accepting a sum that may turn out to be much less than what is considered reasonable for your type of claim. Having this knowledge is invaluable. An attorney has his personal experience along with data from most of the civil trials in the state of Texas to use to help evaluate your case and tell you what is reasonable.

Question 3: Why do I have to give you a recorded statement when you can get information about the accident from the police report?

Answer: Because the insurance company will try to use your own statements against you! In most accidents a police report will be filed and the insurance company has easy access to this report (it just takes a written request and a small fee). So why is a recorded statement necessary? Most companies have written policies in place which require the adjuster to get a recorded statement to see if there’s any information the accident victim might reveal which could be later used to either deny the claim or pay out less money when settlement occurs.

Now, as a practical matter the insurance adjuster needs to get your statement to settle your claim. If you are attempting to settle your case you will want to consider giving a statement. When this is done you must be prepared. The insurance adjuster takes statements on a regular basis. This may be the only one you ever give. I rarely allow my clients to give a recorded statement to the insurance company. The stakes are just too high. Make sure you understand the process and are prepared before you give a statement to any insurance adjuster, even from your own insurance company.

Question 4: If I give you a recorded statement, can I then get a recorded statement from you insured, i.e., the other driver?

Answer: No! It will not happen. This would be the fair thing to do. If you have to give a statement about the accident, then you would think you would be entitled to get a statement from the other driver. Yet, the insurance adjuster will never allow this. They could give it to you yet they cite company policy. You will not be able to take the other driver’s statement until a lawsuit is filed.

Question 5: Why do I have to give you an unrestricted medical authorization before I can settle the claim?

Answer: The adjuster can go on a fishing expedition into your past medical history and find anything about your prior health if you sign a medical authorization without restrictions. This would help the company either deny your claim or pay out as little as possible. You can collect your accident-related medical records and send them to the carrier for their review when you attempt to settle your case. If you are not represented by counsel the carrier will probably not accept this. The attorney can usually put limits on the amount of medical information that needs to be disclosed. You should speak with your attorney before signing the authorization for medical records. I will make sure the insurance company gives me a copy of everything they obtain and limit it under most circumstances to the records from the current accident.

Questions 6: Shouldn’t I wait to settle the claim until my medical treatment concludes or until I’m sure that I have made a full recovery?

Answer: The answer is yes, but the insurance company may tell you no. This is because the insurance company knows that the quicker you settle the claim the less money they will have to pay out. Once you settle the claim you can’t reopen the case if it turns out your injuries are more severe or if you need more treatment as recommended by your doctor. When it is settled it is over for good. Most insurance companies have in place written directives to its claims department to settle every claim as quickly as possible. This is so the accident victim can’t reopen the case later if the person’s condition gets worse or additional injuries are disclosed. When it is over, it is over.

Question 7: Why hasn’t anyone told me about Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage?

Answer: Many people do not know that they may have additional coverage under their own policies which will pay for the injuries and damages caused by a car accident. If the at‑fault driver has no insurance, or not enough insurance to pay for your damages, then your own insurance company is responsible for paying you additional compensation under the UM/UIM portion of your policy if you have this coverage. I have written a book on buying car insurance in Texas entitled “What You Don’t Know About Buying Car Insurance Can Hurt You.” Just visit the accident law video section to get your free copy. Many insurance companies don’t want you to know about this coverage because it may mean that you are entitled to more compensation!

Question 8: If you are claiming that my medial treatment is excessive or unreasonable, will you pay my doctor to write a detailed report explaining why my treatment has been appropriate and related to the accident?

Answer: Of course not! The insurance company will always refuse this request. The claims adjuster has absolutely no medical training. This doesn’t stop him or her from arguing that your treatment was excessive or unreasonable. Most insurance companies will pay to have your records reviewed by one of their own doctors though. They will gladly pay for this because they know what the report will say in most instances, And it will hardly ever help your case. This is one way the carrier will try to decrease the value of your claim hoping you will accept a much smaller settlement than what you may be entitled to. An experienced personal injury attorney on your side will help to solve this problem!

Question 9: What is your insured’s policy limit?

Answer: We won’t tell you. That’s right – even though you can get this information after you file suit, the insurance company will almost never tell you how much insurance their insured is carrying. They want you to give them information – but they don’t want to give you any information.

IMPORTANT

In the Republic of Texas you only have two (2) years from the date of your accident to settle your claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is called the statute of limitations. The insurance company may intentionally delay and drag out the settlement process. Before you know it, the statute of limitations is right around the corner. The insurance company knows that you only have a certain amount of time to settle your claim and if you’re backed up against the SOL, there is a good chance no reasonably good attorney will take your case. You will then be forced to accept a settlement that is virtually pennies on the dollar of the true value of what the claim is worth. Don’t fall into this trap! The bottom line is to be prepared. By knowing the processes you will help protect yourself and increase the value of your accident case.

Click Here to Download this Report

When Should I Notify My Insurance Company


Last Updated on October 16th, 2018

Two common questions I answer in this video are “Do I need to notify my insurance company if I’m not at fault?” and “When should I notify my insurance company after an accident?”

Don’t forget – if you have any questions, you can call us at (512) 246-9191 or order our free books for accident victims.

Handling Your Auto Property Damage Claim


Last Updated on October 16th, 2018

Texas Auto Property Damage Damage Claim Help

In this video, I’ll talk about what your rights and options are in Texas when dealing with the insurance company to repair or replace your car.  Many adjusters try to take advantage of either your lack of knowledge when it comes to repairs, or abuse the law when it comes to replacement – watch the video and hopefully you’ll gain some insight into Texas accident law which may help you dealing with the insurance adjusters.

We Provide Our Clients Free Help With Their Car Claim

Please note that we do assist our clients with their property damage claim for free, but we do not take on accident cases where no one was injured.  In other words, we cannot assist you with just property damage claims.  However, if you were injured in wreck in Austin, Texas and would also like us to assist with the claim for the damage to your vehicle, we’ll be happy to help.

Subrogation


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Insurance Subrogation

Insurance Subrogation Claims

Subrogation is the legal technique where one party, usually the insurance company or insurer, steps into the insured’s shoes, so as to have the benefit of the insured’s rights and remedies against a third party such as a defendant.  Subrogation most commonly arises in relation to policies of insurance, but the legal technique is of more general application.

So, let’s say you are in a car accident and you are insured by a certain auto insurance company.  Your insurance company will pay in full to have your car repaired and will then sue the person who hit you for negligence in order to get that money back.  So, we can say that your insurance company has stepped into your shoes because you have given your insurance company the right to pay for the damages as well as go after the defendant (or the right of subrogation).

Here’s another example:

Suppose you’re in a car accident and it is clearly not your fault.  Your car is wrecked and your neck and back have been injured.  You are covered for both the damage to your car and your personal injuries, and so you call your insurance company and they pay all of your expenses relating to the accident.  Later, your insurance company, realizing that the other party at fault also has insurance that will cover the damages, seeks out reimbursement from that insurance company since its insured was actually at fault for the accident.  This is called subrogation.

Subrogation refers to an insurance company seeking reimbursement from whoever is legally responsible for an accident after the insurer has paid out money on behalf of its insured.  After paying your claim, your insurer is “subrogated” to the rights of your policy and can “step into your shoes” to go after or sue the negligent party on your behalf.  Not all insurers subrogate for medical bills.  If they do, it could be against the other driver’s insurance, but it could also be against your own separate health insurance policy or any other medical insurance that would cover your treatment.

Subrogation may also be employed when your insurer settles your collision claim for damage to your vehicle due to another driver’s negligence.  Generally, your insurer will have you sign a subrogation release that assigns your right of recovery against the person responsible for your loss to them. Insurers may not stall settling your claim until they get paid from the person at fault. Subrogation usually occurs some time after the original claim is settled.  Some insurers will include the deductible when they subrogate and you will get your deductible back when the other driver or their insurance company pays the subrogation claim.

There are several categories of subrogation including:

  • Indemnity insurer’s subrogation rights
  • Surety’s subrogation rights
  • Subrogation rights of business creditors
  • Lender’s subrogation rights
  • Banker’s subrogation rights

All the various types of subrogation are conceptually the same, but they each have subtle distinctions in relation to the application of the law of subrogation.

What if the accident was your fault?

If the accident was your fault, you are responsible for the damages caused. If the accident was only partly your fault, you may be only responsible for a portion of the damages. The other driver’s insurance company will likely subrogate against you or your insurance company to pay for the damage to their insured’s car and/or their medical bills. Keep in mind that often you can negotiate the amount of damages that is being claimed and pay out the amount over time. If you don’t have insurance and a claim is being subrogated against you, it is a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer to make sure you are not getting taken.

 

If you were involved in an accident in Texas, we’ll be happy to mail it to you (together with a host of other free stuff.) You can either email us, call us at (512) 343-2572, or fill in the form to the right.

Pain and Suffering


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

What is it and how is it measured?

In a personal injury case, it is extremely difficult to determine the amount of pain and suffering inflicted upon the client.  Every injury, every injured person, every accident, and every case is different so it is difficult to “measure” the amount of pain and suffering in a personal injury case.  Two people can have the same injury and one can suffer little while the other suffers a great deal; or one offers better proof than the other with more complete documentation or better witnesses; or they can be in two different parts of the country and get completely different settlements or awards.

There are many factors that must be taken into account to determine how much money someone will get for their pain and suffering.  Juries and insurance companies look at:

  1. The credibility of the witnesses.
  2. Were the injured person’s actions consistent with those of someone who was in pain?
  3. Were there any pre-existing injuries?
  4. Were they able to do what they normally do in their everyday lives, or were they forced to change or reduce their activities.
  5. What is their tolerance for pain in general?
  6. What do they do for a living?
  7. What is their marital status and family situation?
  8. How sympathetic a witness do they make?
  9. How skilled is their attorney at presenting their case?

All these factors go into the evaluation of pain and suffering.

Job and income, age, community and lifestyle, attorney, geographic location, attitude and witness quality, pre-existing injuries or conditions, and amount of medical treatment are all factors in determining pain and suffering.  The amount of money awarded for pain and suffering is not just pulled out of a hat.  There are some tools that insurance companies and lawyers may use to help them arrive at a figure or at least a range for the purpose of determining how much to “demand” from the other party or how much to ask a jury to award.  As your experienced personal injury attorney I can help you to assess the value of your pain and suffering—what factors to include and what resources to utilize.

Medical treatment post-accident is extremely important. If the amount and type of treatment appears to be reasonable and necessary for the injury, the injured party comes across as much more honest to the jury.  More or less treatment does not necessarily mean more money for pain and suffering, but it’s definitely a factor that is considered.  Of course, running up the bills unnecessarily is looked at with a fair degree of suspicion.  Stretching out treatment for a minor injury may look like greed to a jury and certainly to an insurance company.  It is important, though, to continue treatment for as long as necessary.  If you are still in pain, a jury will still be less likely to award you a large amount if you did not continue to be seen by medical providers.

In addition to physical pain endured from an accident, there is also the calculating of lost wages.  If you work full-time and miss any amount of time due to the accident (i.e. doctors appointments, hospitalization, feeling ill, doctor’s orders etc.), you are entitled to be reimbursed for the wages you would have earned had you been at work.  All the insurance company wants is documentation to support your claim and you should be paid for your loss.  If say, your doctor tells you to take off two weeks, documents it with a signed authorization your employer writes a letter to say how much money you lost, and your doctor documents when you may return to work, even if you used vacation or sick time, you should be reimbursed for the time you lost from work.  It becomes more difficult when time off work becomes months or even up to a year or more.  In this instance, the company you work for may not be willing to hold your job.  So, it not only becomes an issue of your wages lost for your current place of employment but also your future earnings.

All these things factor into determining the amount of pain and suffering in a case.  The details of each case always differ from one case to another and so it is your job to keep as much documentation as possible.  Then, your attorney can do his/her best to get you the awarded settlement you deserve.

 

If you were involved in an accident in Texas, we’ll be happy to mail it to you (together with a host of other free stuff.) You can either email us, call us at (512) 343-2572, or fill in the form to the right.

Paid or Incurred


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Governor Perry and Supreme Court of Texas Reverse 100 years of Texas law

When being involved in a personal injury case, you may receive money to pay off the medical bills for the treatment you have already received. In addition, your attorney may go further and try to win you an additional amount for those bills that may be incurred in the future in regards to the accident you were in.

Recently in Texas, it has become official that House Bill No. 3281 was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. That bill would permit an individual in a personal injury lawsuit (other than a medical malpractice claim) to recover more money for medical expenses than actually was or will be paid. So, for someone who was billed $20,000 by a hospital, but whose insurance company negotiated the bill down to an actual amount paid of $12,000, could still submit the original $20,000 bill to the jury as if their insurance company actually paid that amount. Perry thought this would deceive the jury as to the true amount of actual medical damages. Therefore, the law now states that the plaintiff will only be able to recover medical damages in the amount charged to the insurance company after negotiation.

According to Governor Rick Perry, “our civil justice system holds a defendant accountable for economic damages caused, including medical bills. A person should not be allowed to recover, and a defendant should not be required to pay, an inflated amount of actual medical costs. If the defendant has caused damage in addition to medical expenses, those damages should be addressed and recovered under the rules of our civil justice system, rather than inflating medical bills to cover them.

The goal in a civil lawsuit is to make an injured individual whole by reimbursing the actual amount they have been deprived by the defendant’s actions. Therefore, according to the new Texas law, it should not be used to artificially inflate the recover amount by claiming economic damages that were never paid and never required to be paid.

For example, if a person’s total medical charges incurred after an automobile accident were $5,000, they may not ask for $7,000 in the claim for pain and suffering, mental aguish, or future medical expenses.

Of course, this reasoning doesn’t really work in the real world. In the real world, insurance adjusters and juries base pain and suffering awards partly on the amount of the medical bills, so not being able to ask for the full medical bills will also reduce the impression of pain and suffering.

Additionally, what about people with medicare or medicaid? It is common knowledge that government insurance pays far less than real insurance. These people will suffer more than people with standard insurance because they paid amount will be far lower than that incurred and fewer lawyers will represent them.

This decision punishes people who are injured and carry insurance and rewards people who don’t carry any insurance? How? Because people who don’t carry insurance will owe the full amount of the bill and be able to recover the full amount.

If you were involved in an accident in Texas, we’ll be happy to mail it to you (together with a host of other free stuff.) You can either email us, call us at (512) 343-2572, or fill in the form to the right.

Frequently Asked Questions Following a Collision


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

What Should I Do After a Collision?

The first thing you should do following an accident is to call the police so that an accident report will be prepared. Although the police do not always prepare an accident report they will always require the other driver to properly identify herself and her insurance company. This will ensure that the person who hit you correctly identifies herself. If for some reason the police cannot come to the scene of the accident, write down the license plate of the vehicle that hit you, the name of the driver and vehicle, the driver’s license number of the responsible driver, and her insurance company. Also get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the collision.

What Should I do if I am Injured?

The first thing you should do is seek medical treatment from the health care provider of your choice. It is important for you to try to receive treatment as soon as possible following the accident. You have the right to the treatment of your choice. For example, you may choose a medical doctor, a chiropractor, an osteopath, a podiatrist, or another type of health care provider.

What Losses can I Recover from the Person at Fault?

The types of damages for which you can seek a recovery from the person who caused the accident are expansive. The following is a list of some of the types of damages for which you are allowed to seek a recovery:

  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Punitive Damages

Does the Insurance Company for the Person at Fault Have to Make Me a Fair Offer?

Although the individual who caused the accident is responsible for your damages, his or her insurance company has no obligation to treat you fairly or in good faith. Insurance companies employ adjusters to handle these claims who are trained professionals. They are free to offer you arbitrarily low amounts of compensation and force you to either accept it or file a lawsuit. While the better adjusters attempt to maintain the appearance of a friendly and trusting relationship with their claimants, you should not interpret this as a sign that they are looking out for your best interests.

You should note that if the insurance company for the negligent driver fails to offer you adequate compensation for your injuries, you will be forced to file suit against the negligent driver if you want to fully recovery your damages. It is important that you recognize that your suit must be filed against the negligent driver and not his or her insurance company. In Texas this must be done within two years from the date of the accident (the statute of limitations applicable to personal injury claims). Although your suit would be filed against the negligent driver, the insurance carrier for this driver will hire an attorney to represent the negligent driver. The fact that this person has insurance will not be admissible at trial and the parties will be ordered by the judge not to inform the jury that the negligent driver has insurance.

Should I Talk to the Insurance Company for the Person at Fault?

You have no obligation to contact the insurance company which insures the person at fault. You also have no obligation to talk to this insurance company if they call you. In most cases the insurance adjuster for the person at fault will attempt to contact you immediately following the accident in order to take a recorded statement. This is usually the time that persons are upset or still in shock following the collision. When this is combined with the fact that you may be questioned in detail by an adjuster who is trained to ask questions which may benefit their denial or reduction of your claim, you may give an inaccurate statement which will severely affect your right to achieve a fair settlement of your claim. We recommend that you consult an attorney prior to contacting the insurance carrier (order our free report to learn more). There are many attorneys who are willing to give you a free consultation in order to assist you at this stage of your claim.

What Can I Recover for the Damage to my Vehicle?

You have the right to recover the cost of repairing your vehicle. You have the right to choose the repair shop and the brand, type, kind, age, or condition of parts or products used to repair your vehicle. Although the insurance company for the responsible driver may perform an estimate of the cost of repair, you should also have an independent body shop perform an estimate of the damage. Most body shops will do this free of charge. If the cost of repair is more than the value of the vehicle just prior to the accident you are entitled to recover the pre-accident value of your vehicle plus the amount you would pay in sales taxes and title transfer fees to purchase a vehicle of the same value.

What if I need Medical Treatment, but Can’t Affort It?

Although you have the right to recover the cost of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses from the person responsible for the collision, the insurance company insuring the person responsible for the collision has no obligation to pay for these medical expenses as they are incurred. This can place a severe hardship on an individual with no health insurance, personal injury protection insurance, or medical payments coverage. As a result, some persons feel forced to accept a low settlement of their claim in order to pay their medical providers. This does not have to happen. You should contact your doctor or an attorney for advice as to what programs and deferred payment plans may be available to allow you to complete treatment prior to settling your claim.

What if the Person who hit me has not Insurance?

Although the law requires every driver to have insurance, many do not. Unfortunately, if you are hit by an uninsured motorist your options may be limited. If your insurance policy contains collision coverage then you can recover the cost of repairing your vehicle or, if it is totaled, the value of the vehicle. If you have uninsured motorist coverage you can also recover that amount of your personal injury damages that does not exceed your policy limits. You should never accept a negligent driver’s statement that he has no insurance without first contacting a lawyer.

What if the Person who hit me was DWI, on Drugs, or Left the Scene?

If the police report or witnesses indicate that the driver of the vehicle that hit you was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or left the scene, then you also may be entitled to punitive damages. It is difficult to determine the extent of these damages but they may be substantial. In order to properly evaluate these damages it is recommended that you consult an attorney for his or her opinion as to how much this will increase the value of your claim.

What if my Damages Exceed the Amount of the Insurance of the Person at Fault?

Many drivers carry minimum liability insurance and your claim may exceed the value of these limits. When this occurs the negligent driver’s insurance company may offer to settle your case for the amount of the available insurance. This offer should not be accepted until a thorough investigation is completed. Often times, other insurance can supplement your recovery. We have found many creative ways to help our clients in circumstances where it appeared that the coverage was insufficient.

How is My Insurance Involved?

You may have a right to pursue a claim with your own automobile insurance company for all or part of your damages. Your rights in this regard are dependent on what coverage you had in effect at the time of the accident. After an accident you should look at a copy of the insurance policy in effect at the time of the accident which covered you and/or the car you were in at the time of the collision in order to determine what rights you have with regard to any of this insurance. Depending on this coverage you may have the ability to recover all or a portion of any damages to your vehicle, your medical expenses, your lost wages and other damages.

If you had collision coverage in effect, you will be able to recover from your insurance company for the damage to your vehicle less your deductible. This is true even if the accident was your fault. If the accident was not your fault you can still make a claim under your collision coverage. In such a case your insurance company will then have the right to pursue the responsible driver or his or her insurance carrier for these damages.

If your policy includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments coverage you will also be able to make a claim for medical expenses related to the treatment of injuries you received in the accident up to the limits of this coverage. If you have Personal Injury Protection coverage you may be able to recover 80% of your lost wages related to this accident provided that the combination of the medical expenses and 80% of lost wages submitted under your PIP coverage does not exceed the limits of your PIP coverage.

What is UIM and PIP Coverage on my Car Insurance and Should I Pay for the Coverage?

If you’re hurt in an auto accident, no matter who is at fault and no matter what vehicle you are in, your personal injury protection insurance (PIP) will pay your medical bills, expenses and up to 80% of your lost income up to the limits of your PIP coverage. Uninsured or under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage helps compensate you in the situation where the negligent driver had no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover you claim. In the case of an underinsured driver your UIM coverage will make up the difference between a negligent driver’s insurance policy limits and the total damages you suffered from your injuries, depending on the amount of your damages and the amount of your coverage. UIM coverage is important because the emergency room bill alone could easily be many times higher than the minimum coverage Texas drivers are required to carry. When buying car insurance, it is highly recommended to purchase this coverage. You may never need it, but if you do, it could make the difference in keeping your family afloat while you’re down. For more information, order our free guide to buying car insurance in Texas

What’s the Difference between PIP and Med-Pay Coverage?

There are two significant differences between Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Med-Pay. PIP will cover 80% of any lost wages while Med-Pay only covers medical bills. Also, PIP payments do not have to be paid back to your insurance company if you make a recovery from the negligent third party. However, with Med-Pay, if you obtain a settlement from the liable party your insurance company may seek reimbursement out of your settlement for any payments they made under your Med-Pay coverage. PIP is recommended over Med-Pay.

 

If you were involved in an accident in Texas, we’ll be happy to mail it to you (together with a host of other free stuff.) You can either email us, call us at (512) 343-2572, or request one of our free accident reports.

Insurance Company Liens


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Here is an excellent video of how insurance companies use ERISA to swoop in and take injury victim’s recovery money.

Progressive Spying on Car Wreck Victims


Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

In August, the Atlanta Journal Constitution broke a story about
Progressive Insurance Company’s use of private investigators in a
shocking manner. The story, which is unfortunately no longer available
online, stated as follows:

When a new couple arrived at Southside Christian Fellowship
in August 2005, members welcomed them with open arms. Soon, the new
couple talked their way into private group support sessions…During
the private talks, church members confessed abortions, sexual
orientation issues, drug addictions and other dark secrets. No one knew
the couple wasn’t actually interested in joining the church. Instead,
they were private investigators hoping two church members…would spill
something they could use to discredit the pair in an ongoing lawsuit
over a traffic accident. The private eyes even tape-recorded the
sessions.

Immediately after the story broke, the Progressive CEO offered an apology, calling the situation “appalling.”

But Progressive is now singing a different tune. In a lawsuit filed by the personal injury victims, Progressive is now asserting that the conduct was “reasonable.”

It will be interesting to watch and see how this story plays out.