How Should You Best Deal With The Insurance Companies After a Car Accident in Texas?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have a lot on your mind. If you’re wondering how you should best deal with the insurance companies after a car accident in Texas, you’ve come to the right place. Our law firm specializes in helping clients who have been injured in traffic accidents. We know all of the tricks that insurance companies use to get you to settle for less than you need, and what to do if they try to deny your claim altogether.
You need to focus on recovering from your accident — not on filling out paperwork and fielding phone calls from insurance adjusters. Consider consulting one of our Dallas car accident lawyers to help you navigate the system and ensure you get the best possible compensation for your injuries.
Based on our decades of experience going up against insurance giants, we’ve developed some questions and answers on how to best deal with insurance companies after a car accident in Texas that we think you’ll find helpful.
When Should You Talk to an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident?
If you’ve been involved in an accident in Texas, you should report it to your own insurance company right away. It is most likely required as part of your auto insurance policy. Reporting your accident right away, especially if you’re not at fault — can help when it comes time to seek damages from the other driver’s insurance.
If the other driver’s insurance company calls you, know that you don’t have to talk to them. If you’ve already hired a lawyer, refer all questions to your lawyer. They may even call you while you are in the hospital, and will use anything you say about the accident to try and blame you for the accident, to lower the amount of money they might be responsible for paying out.
What Should You Say When You Talk to the Insurance Company?
When you talk to your own insurance company, be polite, but remember that there are things you should say, and things you shouldn’t say. But before you say anything other than hello, write down the insurance adjuster’s name, title, company, phone number, and address so you know exactly who you’re speaking to. You want to make sure it’s your own insurance adjuster, and not the adjuster for the other driver. It’s also helpful to write down the day and time of day you spoke with the adjuster, for future reference.
Now is not the time to get chatty. All you are required to tell your insurance adjuster is:
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your phone number and possibly your email
- Where you are employed and your job title
- When and where the accident happened
- The type of accident (rear end, car vs bicycle, etc.)
- The vehicles involved in the accident
- The names and contact information for any potential witnesses that you are aware of
If the adjuster asks any questions you are uncomfortable with, don’t answer, and say the accident is still under investigation. If you filed a report with the police, tell them.
Should You Ever Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Adjuster After Your Accident?
An insurance adjuster may call you and say they want to record your statement, and ask you if it’s OK. Unless you have consulted with a car accident lawyer, and even have them in the room with you, it is generally not a good idea to give a recorded statement to an insurance company. It doesn’t matter if it’s your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.
Both companies may try to get you to say the accident was partly your fault, or that you don’t remember exactly what happened. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and they do that by denying claims or reducing payouts. So anything you say can be used against you in court. They do this by comparing what you said in the police report to what you said to the insurance adjuster. If things don’t match up exactly, they may accuse you of lying, or of not remembering what happened.
Should You Accept an Accident Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company?
If an insurance adjuster calls you in the hospital offering an accident settlement, politely decline an immediate settlement, and say you need to consult with a car accident lawyer first. The vast majority of the time, that first settlement is a low-ball offer, which the insurance company makes in the hopes that you will accept.
Talking with a car accident lawyer will allow you to come up with a reasonable settlement figure that will cover your medical bills and property damage. If the first offer was indeed a low-ball offer, you and your lawyer can make a counter offer, and begin negotiations. You want to make sure you don’t settle for too little, but you also want to make sure you aren’t dragging out negotiations if both sides are close to the same figure.
Do You Have to Sue to Recover Damages After You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident?
In a perfect world, the insurance company would give you a generous settlement that would cover your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the cost of car repairs. Many times, a car accident lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement with the insurance company(ies) that covers all of those things.
But sometimes, you may want to sue for damages because an insurance settlement offer won’t come close to covering future medical costs, or pain and suffering. In this case, you will definitely need a car accident lawyer to represent you in your lawsuit. In the state of Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a car accident is two years.
Talk to Experienced Pintas & Mullins, a Dallas car accident law firm, for Free
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you would be well advised to meet with a Dallas car accident lawyer before talking with the other driver’s insurance company, or accepting an insurance settlement. We can meet with you in our office, your home, your hospital room, or anywhere else that is convenient for you.