With sincere slogans like you’re in good hands and you can rely on us, commercials for insurance companies make them sound like they are your best friends.
But they are businesses whose primary purposes are to make money. How do they do that? By denying or minimizing payments on claims.
That’s why you’d be smart to hire a good personal injury lawyer to explain how the often complicated automobile accident process works before you pick up the phone after your wreck.
If you have collision coverage, personal injury protection, or have to file on your own uninsured motorists benefits because the at-fault driver is not insured or you were involved in a hit and run, you must notify your insurance company.
And if you know which insurance company the at-fault driver is covered by, you want to immediately call them to demand they pay your medical bills, fix or total your car, and get you a rental car.
They will routinely ask that you give them a recorded statement. But you don’t have to give one to the other driver’s company, and you should not give one to your own company right away.
In Texas, the standard insurance policy only requires that you promptly notify your own company, and there is no time deadline on advising the other driver’s carrier. You are likely to feel anxious and be in pain, and possibly affected by painkillers prescribed to treat your pain.
What to say
Recalling the facts of your accident may be difficult. You may not be aware of certain details and your memory may be affected by your shock during the frightening event. I suggest writing everything down so you can discuss the details with your lawyer and refresh your memory before talking to your insurance company.
Even if a misstatement is accidental, an insurance adjuster is trained to use it against you. I’ve seen the answer to a simple “how are you” answered by “fine” used against my client.
Do not admit fault
Under Texas’s proportionate responsibility laws, you are not entitled to any monetary damages if you are more than 50 percent to blame for your injuries. Furthermore, your damages are reduced by the amount to which you were to blame. Therefore, if you were found to be 20 percent at fault, you would be entitled to 80 percent of the total damages.
Have a qualified lawyer by your side
An experienced injury lawyer can guide you through the process of negotiating with your insurance company. Your insurance company has qualified lawyers on its side, and so should you.
Berenson Injury Law has exclusively handled car and truck accident cases for the past 35 years. I know all the tactics employed by insurance companies to reduce payouts and I take the necessary steps to anticipate and counter their actions. I protect your rights to fair treatment and I negotiate for the full compensation to which you are entitled.