Recovering from a serious auto accident can be a trying experience, and the process can be made by all the more difficult by unfair and bad-faith insurance practices. As a victim, there is a lot you need to know, and there are several steps you need to take in order to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
At The Law Office of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C., we are passionate about helping auto accident victims in Texas, and we believe that all victims should have access to the information, resources, and legal representation they need in order to recover. To help you get started on the road to recovery, here are seven important facts about protecting your legal rights after an auto accident in Texas:
Fact #1: You Need to Protect Yourself Against the Insurance Companies
Many people assume that the insurance companies will help them recover after an accident because this is what the insurance companies tell them. Unfortunately, the reality is that the opposite is often true. The insurance companies are not interested in helping auto accident victims recover their losses; instead, their interests lie in ensuring that they pay as little as possible.
With this in mind, if you have an insurance claim, you need to view the claims process for what it is—an adversarial process. You need to assume that all requests for information are designed to disprove your claim for coverage, and you need to make your own independent decisions rather than relying on the advice of the insurance adjusters.
Fact #2: You May Be Entitled to a Significant Financial Recovery
Why is it important that you take this approach to your auto accident insurance claim? The answer is simple: You may be entitled to a significant financial recovery. In Texas, auto accident victims can recover compensation for all forms of financial and non-financial loss. This includes direct out-of-pocket costs such as repair bills and medical expenses, current and future loss of earnings, pain, and suffering, and any and all other losses triggered by your accident-related injuries. If you let the insurance companies decide the outcome of your claim, you will almost certainly leave a significant amount of money on the table.
Fact #3: You May Be Entitled to Compensation Even if You Were Partially at Fault
Another assumption many people make is that they cannot file an insurance claim if they played a role in causing their accident. This assumption is flawed for a couple of reasons. First, unless you affirmatively declined coverage, you have personal injury protection (PIP) under your auto insurance policy. This is “no-fault” insurance, which means that you can file a claim even if you were partially (or fully) to blame.
Second, under Texas’s law of “modified comparative fault,” you can file a claim under the other driver’s policy as long as you were not primarily at fault in the accident. In order to determine if you have a fault-based claim, you will need to hire an attorney to investigate the accident and determine liability.
Fact #4: Filing an Insurance Claim Might Not Be Your Only Option
While most auto accident cases involve insurance claims, some do not. Some cases involve claims against vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, repair shops, road construction contractors, state agencies, and other entities. When investigating your case, your attorney will look for evidence of all possible causes to make sure that you can recover just compensation from all of the liable parties.
Fact #5: You Should Not Wait for Any Longer Than Necessary to Get Started
In addition to the steps we recommend taking in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, there are several other steps that you (and your attorney) will need to try to take quickly as well. For this reason, we recommend that you wait no longer than necessary to get started with your claim. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible, and you should be prepared to work with your attorney to make sure you are able to recover just compensation.
Fact #6: You May Need to Be Prepared to Go to Trial
Regardless of whether you have an insurance claim, a “third-party” claim, or all of the above, it is important to be prepared for the possibility that you will need to take your case to trial. Most auto accident claims settle – and yours probably will, too – but you cannot bank on receiving just compensation without going to court.
When we represent auto accident victims in Texas, we let them know upfront that we will do everything we can to settle their claim quickly, but that we cannot make any guarantees. Ultimately, negotiating a settlement requires good faith on both sides. If the insurance company (or a third party) is unwilling to offer fair compensation for your injuries, then you will need to go to court to recover the compensation you deserve.
Fact #7: Hiring an Experienced Attorney is the Best Way to Maximize Your Financial Compensation
Given everything we have discussed thus far, if you have been seriously injured in an auto accident in Texas, hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to maximize your financial compensation. An experienced attorney will be able to help you by:
- Dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf
- Conducting a comprehensive investigation to determine liability
- Helping you get your car fixed and receive appropriate treatment for your injuries
- Calculating your financial and non-financial losses
- Making sure you do not miss important deadlines or make other costly mistakes
- Negotiating for a fair settlement
- Taking your case to trial if necessary
Were You Injured in an Auto Accident in Texas? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you have been injured in a car accident and would like to learn more about your legal rights, we encourage you to contact us promptly. One of our Plano, TX auto accident lawyers will be happy to speak with you one-on-one about your case. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible, call us at 972-380-4444 or request an appointment online now.