What Losses Can You Recover After an Auto Accident in Texas?

What Losses Can You Recover After an Auto Accident in Texas?

When you are injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault, you are entitled to financial compensation under Texas law. The amount you can recover is based on the amount you have lost (and will lose in the future). In order to protect yourself, you need to work with an attorney to calculate your current and future losses, and you must not settle until you are certain that the insurance company’s settlement offer provides adequate compensation for the costs of your collision.

Understanding Your Right to Insurance Coverage After an Auto Accident in Texas

The losses you can recover after an auto accident in Texas fall into two main categories: (i) financial and (ii) non-financial. The only exception to this is if you are limited to filing a claim under your own personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) policy. While PIP and MedPay are optional forms of insurance coverage in Texas, purchasing coverage allows you to seek compensation regardless of who is at fault in a collision. In exchange for providing “no-fault” coverage, however, the compensation available under PIP and MedPay is limited to certain financial losses only.

But, Texas law requires all drivers to carry auto insurance that covers other drivers’ and passengers’ losses when the insured driver is at fault. As a result, in most cases, recovering your losses after an accident involves filing a claim under the other driver’s policy. These types of claims allow for the recovery of both financial and non-financial losses; and, again, it will be important for you to work with an experienced attorney to make sure you receive the full compensation you deserve.

Financial Losses You Can Recover After an Auto Accident in Texas

Financial losses are those that involve either: (i) money coming out of your bank account; or, (ii) money not going into your bank account. They also include costs you incur that you are unable to afford. For example, if you go into debt because your injuries prevent you from working, you can recover the compensation you need to get back on solid financial footing (assuming someone else was at fault in your accident).

The specific types of financial losses you can recover after an auto accident in Texas include:

  • Medical Costs – You are entitled to compensation for all of the medical costs you incur as a result of the accident. This includes the costs of diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for any injuries sustained in the collision. If you have a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by the collision, then you can seek coverage for your additional treatment needs as well.
  • Prescription Costs – In addition to current and future medical costs, you are also entitled to coverage for all of your current and future prescription medication needs. Some prescriptions can be inordinately expensive, so it will be important to ensure that you have the financial resources necessary to cover your medication costs in the years to come.
  • Other Outof-Pocket Costs – Your auto accident claim can also include compensation for other out-of-pocket costs you incur as a result of your injuries. This includes costs such as transportation and the need to hire cleaners, landscapers, nannies, and other service providers.
  • Loss of Earnings – If you are unable to work for any length of time, you can seek compensation for your loss of earnings. This includes your ordinary wage or salary as well as tips, commissions, and benefits.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity – If you will be unable to work in the future, then it will be extremely important for you to seek compensation for your loss of earning capacity. While you may be able to apply for disability or other benefits, these benefits are not guaranteed, and most benefit programs do not provide 100 percent coverage for loss of income.

As our injury lawyer mentioned above, PIP and MedPay claim only provide compensation for certain financial losses. Personal injury protection insurance covers medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages, while MedPay covers medical expenses only—typically up to a few thousand dollars.

If the other driver has property damage coverage, or if you have collision coverage, then you can file a claim to get your vehicle repaired or replaced as well. The options you have available will depend on the specific terms of the policy that applies.

Non-Financial Losses You Can Recover After an Auto Accident in Texas

Non-financial losses are those that impact your life in ways other than reducing the size of your bank account or forcing you into debt. If the other driver (or someone else) was at fault in your accident, then you are entitled to seek compensation for non-financial losses including:

  • Pain and Suffering – “Pain and suffering” describes the ongoing physical impact of your traumatic injuries. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your pain and suffering could last for weeks, months, or years.
  • Emotional Distress – “Emotional distress” describes the psychological impacts of recovering from a traumatic accident and adjusting to life with a disabling injury.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement – If your injuries result in permanent scarring or disfigurement, this is considered a separate form of non-financial loss for which compensation is available under Texas law.
  • Loss of Companionship and Consortium – If the physical or psychological effects of your injuries impact your relationship with your spouse, children, other family members, or friends, you can seek compensation for loss of companionship or loss of consortium.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life – If your injuries prevent you from doing what you love, then you can also seek compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Plano, TX Auto Accident Lawyer Joel M. Vecchio

If you have suffered serious injuries in an auto accident in Texas, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Auto accident lawyer Joel M. Vecchio can help you understand your legal rights, calculate your financial and non-financial losses, and fight to recover just compensation on your behalf. To discuss your insurance claim with Mr. Vecchio in confidence as soon as possible, call 972-380-4444 or contact us online now.

When Can Auto Insurance Companies Deny Coverage in Texas?

When Can Auto Insurance Companies Deny Coverage in Texas?

When you get injured in an auto accident, recovering your losses usually means filing an insurance claim. All drivers are required to have auto insurance under Texas law, and Texas’s Consumer Bill of Rights for Personal Automobile Insurance is intended to ensure that all accident victims receive the insurance coverage to which they are legally entitled.

But, even if you clearly have an auto insurance claim, this does not necessarily mean that you will receive coverage. There are several steps you must take in order to assert your legal rights effectively, and there are also several reasons why auto insurance companies can validly deny auto accident victims’ claims in Texas.

10 Common Reasons for Auto Insurance Claim Denials

When seeking insurance coverage after an auto accident, it is important to have an understanding of the types of issues that can lead to denials of coverage. It is also important to understand what you can do to reduce your risk of facing a denial—and how to know when denial can be challenged.

1. You Did Not File Your Claim On Time

When you have an auto insurance claim, there are two deadlines you need to meet. One of these is the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit, which is two years from the date of the accident.

However, your auto insurance policy establishes a deadline for submitting a claim as well—and this deadline is almost certainly much earlier than the two-year statute of limitations. Claim deadlines vary between insurance companies; and, if you wait too long, it is possible that you could lose your right to seek coverage. With that said, many policies merely require that a claim be filed within a “reasonable” amount of time, and this does not establish a hard-and-fast deadline. As a result, if your insurance company attempts to deny coverage by asserted that you waited too long, you should discuss your legal rights with a Plano, TX auto accident lawyer.

2. You Did Not See a Doctor Promptly

In order to secure coverage for your medical expenses (and other injury-related losses), you need your medical records to show that your injuries resulted from your accident. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more difficult it will become for your doctor to confirm that your injuries are accident-related. If you cannot prove that your injuries are covered, then the insurance companies may be justified in denying your claim.

3. You Did Not Submit Proof of Fault

Unless you purchased optional personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage, securing auto accident insurance coverage will require proof that someone else was at fault in the accident. In fact, even if you have PIP or MedPay, you may still need proof of fault since these policies only provide minimal “no fault” coverage. While the insurance companies are obligated to investigate all claims, as a claimant, it is up to you to prove that you are entitled to compensation.

4. You Did Not Submit Proof of Your Losses

In addition to submitting proof of fault, you must also submit proof of the amount you are entitled to recover. If you do not provide the insurance companies with proof of your “damages,” they will not have any way of determining what constitutes “just compensation” for your injuries. With that said, you also need to independently calculate your losses, and you need to make an informed decision about when (and if) to settle your auto insurance claim.

5. You Were At Fault (or Partially At Fault) in the Accident

Auto accident insurance companies routinely deny coverage on the basis that the claimant was fully or partially at fault in the accident. In Texas, in order to have a claim, you must be able to prove that you were less than 51% at fault in the collision. If you have been denied coverage on the basis of fault, you should consult with a personal injury attorney promptly to determine if you should challenge your denial.

6. The Condition of Your Vehicle Played a Role in the Accident

In addition to speeding, distracted driving, and other forms of fault, the insurance companies may also attempt to deny coverage on the basis that your vehicle was not in good operating condition at the time of the crash. These denials can often be overcome as well, but you will need an experienced injury lawyer to prove that the condition of your vehicle was not a factor in your collision.

7. You Made False Statements When Filing Your Claim

Making false statements to the insurance companies is considered a form of insurance fraud, and it can be a valid basis for denying coverage. However, if you inadvertently omitted information or mischaracterized certain details, this is not a mistake that warrants non-payment of just compensation.

8. You Have Not Paid Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Non-payment of auto insurance premiums can also justify the denial of certain types of coverage. However, untimely payment is not an automatic bar to filing a claim, and an attorney can help you fight to secure coverage in this situation as well.

9. You Have Not Responded to Requests for Information about Your Claim

When you file an auto insurance claim, you need to stay in communication with your insurance company (or hire an attorney to stay in communication for you). If you ignore letters, emails, or voicemails from your adjuster, this could lead to a denial.

10. You Have Not Done Everything Necessary to Protect Your Legal Rights

Finally, in addition to everything we have discussed above, there are many other steps you need to take (and mistakes you need to avoid) when seeking auto insurance coverage after an accident. In order to make sure that you do not unknowingly put your insurance claim at risk, you should discuss your claim with an attorney promptly.

Discuss Your Auto Insurance Claim with Plano, TX Car Accident Lawyer Joel M. Vecchio

At The Law Office of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C., we help auto accident victims in and around Plano, TX recover the financial compensation they deserve. To discuss your auto insurance claim in confidence, call 972-380-4444 or tell us how we can help online now.

What NOT To Do After a Car Accident in Texas

What NOT To Do After a Car Accident in Texas

When you are involved in an auto accident, there are several steps you need to try to take as soon as possible—including steps you should ideally take at the scene of the accident. We provided an overview of these steps in a previous article. However, there are mistakes you need to avoid as well; and, in many respects, avoiding these mistakes can be just as important for protecting your legal rights.

10 Mistakes to Avoid After Being Injured in a Car Accident in Texas

You were involved in a car accident. You were injured, and your injuries require medical treatment. You are going to miss time from work, and there is a chance that you could suffer from chronic pain and/or long-term physical limitations. In order to protect your legal rights, here are 10 critical mistakes you need to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not Seeing a Doctor Promptly

If you intend to seek financial compensation for your injuries, you need to see a doctor promptly. Recovering financial compensation requires proof that your injuries are accident-related; and, the longer you wait to seek treatment, the more of an opportunity the insurance companies will have to argue that your injuries could have resulted from an intervening cause.

Mistake #2: Not Following Your Doctor’s Advice

In addition to seeking medical treatment promptly, you also need to carefully follow your doctor’s medical advice. Another common insurance defense tactic is to accuse accident victims of failing to do what is necessary to promote their own recoveries. If you skip follow-up appointments, decide not to fill your prescriptions, or return to work too soon, these are all mistakes that could jeopardize your financial recovery.

Mistake #3: Assuming the Insurance Companies Will Treat You Fairly

While it would be nice if you could simply file your insurance claim and wait for a check to come in the mail, this is not how the claims process works. The insurance companies utilize a variety of different tactics to deny accident victims’ claims; and, as an accident victim, it is up to you to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Mistake #4: Assuming that You Were Partially at Fault

At some point during your claim, the insurance companies may try to blame you for causing your own injuries. If this happens, you should not assume that you were fully – or even partially – at fault. Rather than relying on the insurance companies to tell you if you have a claim, you need to hire an injury lawyer to conduct an investigation and assess your legal rights with your best interests in mind.

Mistake #5: Failing to Appreciate the Extent of Your Injuries

Car accidents can result in serious injuries; and, even if you feel relatively okay initially, this does not necessarily mean that everything is fine. If your symptoms change, worsen, or simply do not go away, you need to make sure that you are receiving the treatment you need in order to recover.

Mistake #6: Failing to Understand the Costs of Your Injuries

In addition to ensuring that you have a clear understanding of the extent of your injuries, you need to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the costs of your injuries as well. If the other driver (or anyone else) was at fault in the accident, you are entitled to full compensation for the financial and non-financial costs of your injuries under Texas law. This includes costs such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Prescription costs
  • Other out-of-pocket costs
  • Lost wages and earning capacity
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of society, companionship, and enjoyment of life

Mistake #7: Giving Too Much Information to the Insurance Companies

Beyond the basic information required in order to file your claim, you generally should not be giving any additional information to the insurance companies—at least not right now. When it comes to dealing with the insurance companies, you should rely on your attorney to decide what information to provide and when to provide it. At this stage, any information you provide will only be used against you, and you do not want to make any guesses or assumptions that could end up jeopardizing your financial recovery.

Mistake #8: Posting about the Accident on Social Media

While your auto accident claim is pending, you should avoid discussing your accident on social media. Anything you post is fair game for the insurance companies; and, even if you think that what you are posting is harmless, there is a good chance that the insurance companies will find some way to try to use it against you. For now, keep the details to yourself, and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve before you post about the accident online.

Mistake #9: Settling Your Insurance Claim Too Soon

When it comes to recovering your losses after a car accident in Texas, you only get one opportunity. Once you accept a settlement, your claim is over. With this in mind, you need to be careful to avoid settling your insurance claim too soon. You need to have a clear and comprehensive picture of the costs of your injuries; and, before you settle, you need to be certain that the settlement amount reflects just compensation for your financial and non-financial losses.

Mistake #10: Not Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Given the challenges involved with recovering your losses after a car accident, and given the risks involved with making mistakes while your claim is pending, it is strongly in your best interests to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. At The Law Office Of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C., we do not charge any up-front fees or costs, and we do not charge anything unless we recover just compensation.

Request a Free Consultation with Plano, TX Personal Injury Lawyer Joel M. Vecchio

Have you been injured in a car accident? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly so that we can help you recover just compensation. To discuss your case with Plano, TX personal injury lawyer Joel M. Vecchio in confidence, call 972-380-4444 or request a free consultation online now.

What are Texas’s Auto Insurance Laws?

What are Texas’s Auto Insurance Laws?

Auto insurance is mandatory for all drivers under Texas law. This requirement is intended to ensure that accident victims will have access to the financial resources they need in order to recover. However, while Texas law requires all drivers to be insured, the state’s mandatory insurance requirements are relatively minimal. As a result, it is a good idea to purchase certain types of optional coverage as well; and, when you are involved in an accident, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover the full compensation you deserve.

What Auto Insurance is Required in Texas?

Under Texas law, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance. As the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) explains: “Liability coverage pays to repair the other driver’s car if you caused the accident. It also pays the other driver’s and his or her passenger’s medical bills and some other expenses.” Liability insurance provides fault-based coverage. This means that in order to file a claim after an accident, you must be able to prove that the insured driver was negligent in causing the collision.

By law, all drivers in Texas are required to carry liability insurance with “30/60/35 coverage.” This means that the policy must cover:

  • $30,000 in compensation for personal injuries per person;
  • $60,000 in compensation for personal injuries per accident; and,
  • $25,000 in compensation for property damage per accident.

Additionally, in Texas, all drivers are required to carry proof of insurance. If you get pulled over or are involved in an accident, you must be able to provide documentation to prove that you are insured as required by law.

Otherwise, Texas law does not impose any additional requirements with regard to auto insurance for most drivers (there are additional requirements for commercial, rideshare, and delivery drivers). As long as a driver has 30/60/25 coverage, then he or she can legally drive.

What Auto Insurance is Optional in Texas?

While no other types of auto insurance are required in Texas, several other types of insurance are available, and purchasing additional coverage is a good idea. Purchasing additional coverage not only helps to ensure that your coverage will be adequate in the event that you cause an accident, but it can also help ensure that you will have adequate access to compensation in the event that you are seriously injured in a collision. Optional types of auto insurance in Texas include:

  • Medical Payments (MedPay) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage – MedPay and PIP provide coverage for your (and your passengers’) medical bills regardless of who is at fault in a collision. PIP also provides coverage for lost income and certain non-medical expenses.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage – UIM coverage protects you in the event that you are seriously injured in an accident and the at-fault driver either (i) does not have insurance, or (ii) does not have enough insurance to fully cover your losses.
  • Collision Coverage – Collision coverage provides protection in the event that your vehicle is damaged in a collision and you do not have a claim under another driver’s liability policy.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – Comprehensive coverage provides protection in the event that your vehicle is damaged by fire, flood, theft, or a run-in with an animal.
  • Towing and Rental Reimbursement Coverage – These policies cover the cost of towing and getting a rental car if your vehicle is undrivable, and they usually only cost about $100 (or less) per year.

Although PIP and UIM coverage is optional under Texas law, they are automatically included in all auto insurance policies issued in the state. As a result, unless you have expressly opted out of paying for PIP and UIM, you should have these coverages under your policy.

What Are Your Legal Rights as an Insured Driver in Texas?

As an insured driver in Texas, you have the right to take full advantage of your insurance coverage in the event that your vehicle is damaged or you are injured in an accident. You also have the right to seek fault-based coverage under the other driver’s policy if you are involved in a collision (technically, this is true regardless of whether or not you are insured). Regardless of the policy (or policies) under which you seek coverage, you have the right to have your claim handled in good faith; and, if an insurance company engages in bad faith insurance practices, you are entitled to additional compensation under Texas law.

Additionally, all drivers in Texas are protected by the state’s Consumer Bill of Rights for Personal Automobile Insurance. Under this document, your rights include:

  • The right not to be misled with false or deceptive statements regarding the coverage that is available to you;
  • The right to opt-out of paying for PIP and UIM coverage should you choose to do so;
  • The right to purchase the 30/60/25 coverage required by law through the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA) if you have been denied overage by two or more insurance companies;
  • The right to pay your auto insurance premiums in installments (although you may be charged an additional fee);
  • The right to a written explanation if you are denied coverage for any claim (including, “the precise incidents, circumstances, or risk factors that disqualified you”);
  • The right not to have your coverage canceled after 60 days unless you fail to pay your premiums, file a fraudulent claim, or lose your driving privileges;
  • The right to receive at least 10 days’ advance notice of cancellation;
  • The right to choose the repair shop that works on your vehicle, and the right to choose the replacement parts that are installed;
  • The right to reject any settlement offer you receive when you file a claim, and the right to go to mediation, arbitration, or court to seek full coverage; and,
  • The right to be treated equally and not face discrimination on the basis of your race, color, religion, or national origin.

Do You Have an Insurance Claim After an Auto Accident in Texas?

If you have been involved in an accident and need help understanding your right to coverage under your or the other driver’s insurance policy, our injury lawyer encourages you to contact us for a free consultation. To speak with our experienced Plano, TX auto accident lawyers in confidence, please call 972-380-4444 or request an appointment online today.

Auto Insurance Claim – When Should You Settle Your Texas Auto Insurance Claim?

Auto Insurance Claim – When Should You Settle Your Texas Auto Insurance Claim?

In most cases, recovering your losses after an auto accident means accepting a check from the insurance companies. But, while you may be anxious to get your vehicle repaired and move on, you need to be very careful to make sure that you do not accept a check too soon.

Why? Because once you accept a check-in settlement of your claim, your claim is over.

Many people do not realize that accepting an insurance check can waiver their legal rights. While some insurance companies will make partial payments without requiring a waiver, others will not. If you waive your rights by accepting a check – even if you do so unknowingly – you will not be able to seek additional compensation for your accident-related losses.

7 Tips for Making an Informed Decision about Your Auto Insurance Settlement

With this in mind, how can you avoid settling your auto accident claim too soon? Here are seven tips from our auto accident lawyers in Plano, TX:

Tip #1: Make Sure You Know Your Legal Rights

First and foremost, you need to make sure you know your legal rights. Your insurance adjuster will not explain your rights to you, and he or she is not going to handle your claim with your best interests in mind. Insurance adjusters get paid to ensure that the insurance companies pay as little for accident claims as possible, and, as a claimant, it is up to you to make sure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.

Where can you learn about your legal rights? Our article, 7 Important Facts for Auto Accident Victims in Texas, is a good place to start. For personalized legal advice, you will need to speak with a personal injury attorney.

Tip #2: Make Sure You Know the Total Cost of Your Medical Needs

If the other driver was at fault in your accident, you are entitled to compensation for the full cost of your current and future medical care. Before you settle your insurance claim, you must obtain a comprehensive assessment of your long-term treatment needs. Your health insurance might not cover all of your accident-related medical expenses, and, if it doesn’t, you will be looking at paying out of pocket unless you obtain the auto insurance coverage you deserve.

Tip #3: Make Sure You Know How Much It Will Cost to Repair or Replace Your Vehicle

In addition to taking care of your medical bills, you need to make sure that your insurance settlement takes care of the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle as well. The insurance companies use many different tactics to avoid paying accident victims the full amount they are owed, from sending accident victims to “preferred” repair shops to not disclosing the full amount of coverage available.

You have the right to take your vehicle to the shop or dealership of your choosing; and, if your vehicle has been totaled, you have the right to a replacement. The available coverage will determine the answers to questions such as whether you are entitled to new OEM parts (as opposed to refurbished parts) and how much you are entitled to receive toward purchasing a replacement vehicle.

Tip #4: Make Sure You Know the Other Financial Costs of Your Auto Accident

Beyond your medical bills and vehicle repair or replacement costs, if the other driver was at fault in your accident, you are entitled to compensation for your other financial costs as well. This includes both direct out-of-pocket costs and loss of income, and it includes both costs you have incurred to date and costs you will incur in the future.

For example, let’s say your accident-related injuries prevent you from working. Maybe you have a broken arm, and you will be out of work for a minimum of six months. Losses you may be entitled to recover through your auto insurance claim include:

  • Your lost wages or salary to date
  • The wages or salary you will lose over the next six months (or longer)
  • Your lost benefits for the entire period you are unable to work.
  • Your transportation costs for getting back and forth from your doctor’s office
  • The cost of prescription medications and medical supplies
  • The cost of physical therapy and rehabilitation

Tip #5: Do Not Overlook Your Right to Compensation for Your Non-Financial Losses

One of the biggest mistakes auto accident victims make is failing to seek just compensation for their non-financial losses. If you are entitled to compensation for your injuries’ financial costs, you are entitled to compensation for the non-financial costs as well. This includes costs such as:

  • Emotional trauma (including post-traumatic stress)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of comfort, companionship, and consortium
  • Loss of services, society, and support

In many cases, these non-financial costs are calculated as a multiple of accident victims’ financial losses. This means that your compensation for your emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other non-financial losses could very well account for the majority of your auto accident insurance settlement.

Tip #6: Do Not Sign Anything (Including a Check) Until You Speak with an Attorney

If you don’t sign anything, you can’t waive your legal rights (unless you wait too long to assert them). With this in mind, you should not sign anything – including a check – unless an attorney tells you that it is safe to do so.

Tip #7: Consult with an Auto Accident Attorney Before You Deal with the Insurance Companies

Ultimately, the best way to avoid settling too soon is to hire an auto accident attorney to represent you. An experienced auto accident attorney will be able to (i) make sure you do not waive your rights, (ii) calculate your financial and non-financial losses, and (iii) deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. Your injury lawyer will be able to determine if you have other compensation claims as well and will be able to take all necessary steps on your behalf to recover the full financial compensation you deserve.

For A Free No-Obligation Consultation in Plano, Texas Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyer

Do you need help protecting your right to just compensation after an auto accident in Plano, TX? To speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer at The Law Office of Joel M. Vecchio, P.C. in confidence, call 972-380-4444 or request a free consultation online now.

7 Important Facts for Auto Accident Victims in Texas

7 Important Facts for Auto Accident Victims in Texas

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 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 up front 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 our injury lawyer 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.

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