Few events in life come as out of the blue as car accidents, and few events cause so much pain and stress. In an instant, your world changes – sometimes forever. If you’re not badly injured, one of your first impulses is to call the insurance company. Unless the accident is quite minor and no one was hurt, wait to call the insurance company until you have spoken with an attorney. You do have to contact the insurance company within a reasonable amount of time to report the accident, but you do not have to accept any settlement at that time. Do not accept any appraisals or settlements until you have contacted a lawyer.
Texas Auto Insurance Law
Texas isn’t a no-fault state – in every accident, someone is found responsible, wholly or partially, in causing the collision. That individual must compensate the other party for medical costs associated with the accident and vehicle damage.
What to Do After the Car Accident
After any accident, stop the car. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. Call 911 if medical treatment is needed for any injured party. If both drivers are relatively unhurt they should exchange:
- Contact information
- Vehicle registration numbers
- Drivers’ license numbers,
- Names of the respective insurance companies.
Even if no one is hurt, by law you must call the police if the vehicle damage likely exceeds $1,000. In reality, you should call the police for all but the most minor of accidents. Even then, if the accident was very minor but the other driver has no insurance, the police require notification. Insurance companies want to see police reports if you are filing a claim.
If you aren’t hurt, take photos or videos of the scene. Get the phone numbers or email addresses of any witnesses. If you aren’t in any condition to take pictures, try to have a friend or family member visit the scene as soon as possible to record it.
Understanding Insurance Companies
When an insurance company representative contacts you, he or she is not focused on your best interests. Their primary concern is the best interest of the insurance company. They would like you to settle a claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. Once you agree to their offer, that’s it. You can’t demand more money later on.
People recovering from car accidents are vulnerable, and insurance companies know they can take advantage of accident victims. That is why hiring a lawyer is so important at this difficult time. Your attorney handles the negotiations with the insurance company and knows whether the company’s compensation offer is fair or not.
Seeking Damages for Injuries
People harmed in a motor vehicle accident may seek damages for their injuries. These damages – or compensation – include lost wages and pain and suffering. Texas law allows for modified negligence. That means as long as a person is not determined responsible for more than 50 percent of his or her injuries, it is still possible to collect damages.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact Dashner Law Firm today for a free consultation. We will review your claim and advise you of your options.