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Articles Posted in Auto Insurance



If you have been injured in a car or truck wreck in North Texas, you may think you know how the insurance claims process works. But you might be operating under assumptions that are not accurate. Berenson Injury Law tries to keep the public informed about important car and truck crash topics. We have seen that too much wrong information is spread about how personal injury law works. We want to help debunk widely believed myths about car accident claims so injured people can make the best decision on how they should proceed.


Myth #1 – The insurance company is going to be fair


This belief is out of a fairy tale book. Insurance companies are in business to make large profits. The best way is for them to do this is to question and fight every claim.

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Broken Leg in CastHow Texas Personal Injury Protection can help you

If you have been injured in a car or truck wreck, you can receive additional money from your insurance company if you purchased Texas Personal Injury Protection (PIP). You never expect to be in a car accident but if you unfortunately are, PIP is designed to make sure that you have money available to pay for your medical care and lost wages. Under Texas law, every driver automatically has $2,500 in Texas Personal Injury Protection benefits available unless he or she has specifically rejected it in writing. Many people have it and don’t know it so they leave a lot of money on the table when they are settling their insurance claims. This post will answer your questions about

  • How PIP works;
  • How much PIP can pay you;
  • Who can file on PIP; and
  • How you can recover PIP benefits even if you did not purchase it

We wanted to write about this important topic because yesterday we obtained a large settlement for our client, after obtaining his $10,000 PIP policy, then reduced his medical bills to make sure he maxed out his settlement funds.

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Rare court victory for injured drivers fighting their insurance companies

The Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio issued an important decision on Wednesday that awarded an injured driver his entire underinsured motorists (UIM) benefits. The holding in Allstate Insurance Company v. Irwin is only the second time that an appellate court has allowed a plaintiff to obtain Texas UIM benefits without first filing suit and obtaining a judgment against the adverse driver. Further, it is the first time that the recovery of attorney’s fees and costs has been allowed.

Background: Mr. Irwin was seriously injured in a car crash in 2016. He suffered a herniated disc in his lumbar spine and had to undergo various procedures to alleviate his pain. The total cost of his medical treatment was substantial. He settled with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for her policy limits of $30,000.00. He then demanded that his liability insurance company pay his underinsured policy limit of $50,000.00 for his remaining damages. However Allstate refused and only offered an additional $500.00 claiming that his injuries were preexisting, that he was over 50 years old, and that he worked as a construction worker. The man filed suit for the money his company owed him from his UIM policy.

After hearing the evidence, the jury awarded him $498,968.36. The court signed a judgment awarding the plaintiff his policy’s limit of $50,000.00, attorney’s fees, and costs. Allstate appealed.

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If you have been injured in a car accident, you may think you can just pick up the phone and get a good settlement. Good luck with that! While some jobs are do-it-yourself, knowing how to develop and argue a personal injury claim, negotiate with shrewd Texas car insurance adjusters, and try your case in a courtroom are not things you can master by watching a You Tube video. You won’t know how to proceed in the complicated legal, medical, and insurance worlds. So you are bound to make mistakes that will cost you a lot of money, time, and frustration.

We get calls almost daily from people after 3 months, 12 months, or even several years since their car crash asking us if we can take over handling their cases. They have gotten little if any response from the other driver’s or their own insurance companies. Or they received another stalling demand for information. Or after waiting forever, they finally got a low-ball offer.

They have no way to pay for their needed medical treatment and may still be not able to work. These people are justifiably angry and overwhelmed by the amount of work involved and the poor results.

We understand how frustrated they are. But like they say, if it were easy, anyone could do it.

So many mistakes may have been made that we often are not able to help them get the results they want. We wish they had contacted us or another good personal injury law firm immediately after the car accident. We have many in the DFW area. The choice can be hard, so here are tips to help you decide who to hire.

Like it or not, Texas car insurance adjusters are trained to take advantage of people. Each one has 500 claims just like yours. While it’s your life, you are just a computer file to them.

The adjusters have a lot of secrets they won’t tell you. Here are some of them.

1. They will act friendly but do everything to cheat you out of your damages.

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blog-pic-of-car-on-top-of-coinsIf you have been in a car wreck, you naturally assume that the at-fault driver has liability insurance and will pay your damages. But a shocking 20% of Texas motorists — or about 3.5 million people — are not insured. And based on the number of times we see this happening, we think this number is higher. Almost everyone who has insurance carries the state-required minimum amount which only pays a maximum of $30,000 for the injuries to one person, $60,000 for the injuries to all people, and $25,000 for all vehicles damaged. This is often not enough, especially with the high cost of medical care. And that’s not to mention the multiple claims filed by drivers and passengers in chain-reaction car accidents. That is why you must purchase an uninsured/underinsured coverage policy to protect you and your family.

If you are injured in an all-too-common uninsured/minimally insured driver accidents, this post will answer your questions including

  • When can you use your policy?
  • What should you do if your insurance company does not make a fair offer of settlement?
  • Do you have to file a lawsuit and testify at a trial?

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blog-pic-of-car-on-top-of-coinsSubrogation Can Make Big Difference In Final Payment

If you have been in a car wreck, hopefully you have good health and automobile insurance policies. They can get your vehicle damage, medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses paid quickly before the other driver’s insurance company pays you money. But people are often angry to learn that they may have to pay this money back when they settle with the other driver’s insurance company or the jury returns a verdict. The concept is called subrogation and it can throw a wrench into a car accident settlement or recovery of money.

Subrogation is a long-standing equitable doctrine that allows insurance companies to recover money they have paid to someone else. In personal injury cases, a subrogation lien is asserted in two situations:

  • for medical bills paid by your health insurance company and
  • property damage and other claims paid by your auto insurance company.

Consider a typical wreck when you are crashed into by a driver who runs a red light. You tell the ambulance, hospital, and doctor that you are covered by an Aetna plan and hopefully they file your bills with your health insurance carrier and are paid. But your health insurance company can file a subrogation lien or the hospital can file a lien if certain legal requirements are met and not tell you.

Further, your automobile insurance company may also pay your property damage and assert its right to repayment from the at-fault driver.

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If you have been in a car crash, you need to understand that the auto claims process is designed to cheat you. Insurance companies use tactics designed to keep you from getting your damages paid back for car repair, medical bills, lost wages, pain, and other items. This includes not just the other driver’s  insurance company but your own if you have purchased collision, rental car, personal injury protection, medical payments, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist benefits. This post will explain what you can do to protect your rights and make more money.

Auto Claims

Insurance companies are obviously in business to make as much money as possible. They make less profits if they pay out substantial amounts in claims. So an  adjuster looks for ways to save his company money.

Even if he seems friendly, he is trained to use often abusive tactics that guarantee that he (or a jury if you take your case to trial) pays less than what a claimant deserves. Smart people know this and seek immediate help from a personal injury specialist.

People are unfortunately hurt in car crashes in Fort Worth and Dallas every day. And to compound their injuries, enormous medical bills add up quickly.

Who pays for the ambulance, emergency room, diagnostic tests, doctors, and prescriptions — the other driver’s automobile liability company, your auto liability company, your health insurance company, government agencies, or the other driver? When? In full or will you have to pay some of the bills up front?

This can become a nightmare if it is not handled correctly from the start.

What should you do?

The problem begins when you cannot direct the ambulance driver to a hospital that takes your insurance or might accept you for financial reasons, such as John Peter Smith or Parkland. You probably don’t even know which hospitals are in-network on your insurance plan. And you may not even have a health insurance policy, or if you do, you might not have met the annual deductible yet or can’t afford the co-pays and other expenses.

But the EMTs are trained to rush you to the nearest ER so you can be diagnosed and treated for your injuries. Especially when computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance images (MRIs) are needed, your first day’s medical expenses can easily be $5,000 — and often $10,000 or more. There are horror stories like this all over the internet.

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President John F. Kennedy wrote a revolutionary Consumer Bill of Rights in 1962 which would have given Americans the new rights to be safe, informed, able to make good choices, and be heard as consumers.

Texas Bill of Rights

The U.S. Congress never approved it but the Texas Department of Insurance fortunately created its own version for insurance policyholders. The Texas Bill of Rights gives you rights that help you when you are:

  • Buying insurance
  • Cancelling or not renewing a policy
  • Filing a claim on your insurance
  • Enforcing your rights

Furthermore, insurance companies are prohibited from discriminating against you or unfairly using credit information to decide who to insure or how much of a premium to charge.

Did your automobile liability company give you a copy of the Texas Consumer Bill of Rights along with your policy? If it didn’t, it has already violated one of your rights as the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) requires all insurance companies to issue a copy to all of its policyholders.

The Texas Bill of Rights is not part of your policy but your insurance company must nonetheless abide by the rules it contains. It is extensive and filled with important information. You should review it before buying or amending your policy or if you think you have been treated unfairly.

When you are filing your claim and enforcing your rights as a consumer, how does this help you? Continue reading

After you received auto accident injury treatment, the hospital may file a lien against your settlement. This lien gives the hospital the right to take funds to pay your outstanding bills. Because insurance companies often refuse to pay medical bills for accident injury care, the liens can equal thousands of dollars.

Frustratingly, you might negotiate a fair settlement only to have the insurance company write a check to you and the hospital. This ensures the hospital gets the money it claims it’s owed. But, this common practice can create headaches for you as you try to reach a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In addition, this practice complicates recovery of your settlement funds if the lien was invalid. Continue reading

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