Common Car Insurance Questions Asked of Our Injury Attorneys
Some of the most frequently asked questions the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner receive about auto accidents involve dealing with the insurance companies. We’ve compiled a few examples of the most common types of questions here:
Q: How long does a claims process in a car accident case usually take?
A: There is no set timeframe for a car accident claim. It depends on damages, the adjuster, the particular insurance company, the amount of coverage, cooperation of the insured, and on and on. In Texas, the insurance company for the person that hit you has no obligation to treat you fairly or for thA: at matter timely. There are too many times where the insurance company intentionally delays, hoping you give up.
Q: How long do I have to settle a personal injury claim in Texas?
A: In Texas, the statute of limitations for auto accidents is two years. Insurance companies intentionally ignore and delay hoping you will miss the deadline to file suit.
Q: Can the at-fault driver’s insurance company deny or delay my claim?
Yes. More importantly her insurance can deny coverage based on her failure to cooperate with the defense. Even if she gives a statement and cooperates with her insurance company, they can still deny and delay paying your claim. Her insurance company has no obligation to treat you fairly or promptly. This is the reason so many claims are denied and lowball offers are made.
Q: What can I do if the at-fault’s driver’s policy limits are not enough to cover my expenses?
A: There are many situations where the insurance available from the responsible party is not sufficient to cover the harms and losses suffered in a crash. If the responsible person does not have enough insurance coverage or personal assets to cover the damages, then another option is to file an additional claim under your own UIM/UM insurance coverage.
However, since the Brainard decision from the Texas Supreme Court, your own insurance company has no obligation to pay your alleged claim until there is a finding from a judge or jury as to liability of the at fault driver and the amount of damages sustained. It is recommended you contact several personal injury attorneys to discuss your options.
Q: I do not have personal injury coverage. What costs am I facing if I go to doctor, out of pocket?
A: Unfortunately, you are not alone in this situation. This happens on a regular basis to people with no health insurance, no personal injury protection (PIP) and the at-fault driver’s insurance delays taking responsibility.
The insurance company will claim you are not hurt if you don’t see a doctor because of financial reasons. They will argue you could have gone to the ER.
Q: Can I pursue the at-fault truck driver in small claims court?
A: It really depends on the amount of damages you are seeking. Small claims court is exactly what it sounds like, for small claims. If you are only seeking property damage you might be okay. If you are seeking personal injury damages also, I would not recommend filing in small claims court. The reason the insurance company is telling you two years is because that is the statute of limitations deadline. If you do not file a suit before then, you will be forever barred from making a claim. We recommend contacting a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.
Q: Can a car insurance company suspend my driver’s license?
A: In Texas, there is a statute which allows the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to suspend a person’s driver’s license for an unpaid JUDGMENT. Until you have been sued and a formal judgment taken against you, they cannot suspend your license. What you are receiving is the latest extortion from insurance companies. They pay a claim for one of their insureds and then turn around and send a collections letter to the other driver.
They do not consider fault, agreements such as the one you have in place with the other driver, or the fair debt collection statute. The first thing you need to do is send a letter in writing, certified mail, return receipt requested to the “collections” agency and demand proof of the debt. They will not be able to provide proof of the debt because at this point, they have no valid debt, just merely allegations from an insurance company you owe this money.
Q: Can an insurance adjuster deny part of my claim?
A: One of the biggest misunderstandings people have is thinking the at-fault person’s insurance company has an obligation to pay you anything.
In Texas, the claim is against the at-fault driver, not his or her insurance company. The insurance company’s obligation is to defend and ultimately indemnify their driver if you file a lawsuit and obtain a judgment. Until that time, they can offer you whatever they want and if you do not like it, then their position is sue their insured. They rationalize this behavior by correctly assuming most people just give up and they will not be able to find an attorney to take a case of this size.
From a financial standpoint, if an insurance company saves $1,000 on 1,000 claims a month, that is a million dollars in savings on claims paid. There is a reason all of the major insurance companies spend billions on feel-good advertising, because they know how bad they truly screw people making claims.
What this adjuster is doing is arguing that a jury will not believe the second round of treatment was reasonable and necessary as a result of the crash. It is the insurance company’s way of calling you a liar and fraud.
One option you have is to file a claim under your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your policy. This should be able to get you up to $2,500 to pay for the therapy.
Q: Do I need an attorney to settle my insurance claim?
A. Yes, you should consult with an attorney. Insurance “guidelines” for settlement are just that, insurance guidelines. They are not looking out for your or trying to do the right thing. They are trying to close a claim for the least amount possible. Contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.
Additional Auto Accident Resources
- 10 Things to Know When You’re Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Accident
- Texas Auto Insurance Coverage Explained
Please remember that while some questions are common, every case is unique based on the specific facts. For information specific to your situation, please contact one of the experienced Texas personal injury attorneys in our Houston office. Call 713-396-3964 or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation.