What Is the Car Accident Claims Process in Texas?
After a car crash, seeking a payout from the at-fault party’s insurance company is crucial to ensuring that you have the compensation you need to cover accident-related expenses and losses. Yet, you might not be sure how to get started on getting financial recovery and what to expect throughout the process.
Understandably, the unknowns of the claims process can make your experience even more stressful. At Goline & Roland Law Firm, one of our top priorities is relieving the burdens and worries of the people we serve, allowing them to focus on their health and recovery. As such, we have outlined the car accident claims process to give a better idea of what to expect. Of course, the blog cannot cover every nuance, which is why our Denton team is here to answer your questions and provide the legal guidance you need every step of the way.
Documenting Your Accident
In essence, the claims process begins immediately after your accident. It is imperative at this point that you gather and preserve as much evidence as possible following the collision. The information you collect will be used to support your claim that the other party was at fault.
Below are a few of the things you should do after a car accident:
- Take photos of the scene from every angle. Make sure you get more than just images of your and the other driver’s vehicles. You’ll want photos of the road in front of and behind you, as well as street signs and traffic lights.
- Record details of the accident. You’ll want to log the date, time, and place of the accident. Be sure to note what the road and weather conditions were like at the time of the crash.
- Get the other driver’s information. When filing an accident claim, you will go through the at-fault party’s insurance. As such, it’s necessary to get the driver’s information as well as their insurance company’s name, phone number, and policy number.
- Exchange information with witnesses. If other drivers or pedestrians saw the accident, make sure to get their names and numbers. Witnesses can give an objective account of what happened and help establish fault.
- Get medical care. Even if you do not feel like you suffered injuries, see a doctor. You may have sustained harm that is not immediately apparent. Forgoing medical care might mean that you would not get the compensation you need to cover accident-related costs.
Contacting an Attorney
After you have received medical attention for accident-related injuries, reach out to a personal injury lawyer. They can guide you through the claims process and help you more efficiently navigate the next steps.
Investigating the Accident and Assessing Damages
Your attorney can review the information you collected following your accident (for example, witness statements, pictures of the crash scene, and the police report). They will analyze the evidence to determine fault and build a case for you.
Your lawyer will also examine medical records and bills to assess damages and determine how much compensation you should seek.
Sending a Demand Letter
After the evidence and medical information have been reviewed, your attorney will send a demand letter to the other party’s insurance company. It tells the company what settlement you expect to receive.
The demand letter contains the following information:
- The details of your accident
- Why the other driver is liable
- The severity of your injuries
- What medical treatment you received and what is still needed
- Other damages you sustained relevant to your case
Waiting for the Insurance Company’s Response
After you submit a claim with the other party’s insurance company, it will conduct its own investigation. It will be looking for evidence to refute your claim and justify offering a lower settlement than what you requested or denying your claim altogether.
Under Texas law, an insurance company must accept or reject a claim within 15 to 45 days, depending on the circumstances. It must send you written notification concerning the delay and why it denied your claim (if it was rejected).
If the insurance company makes a low-ball counteroffer, you do not have to accept it. Your lawyer can seek to negotiate a fair settlement. Also, even if your claim is denied, that does not necessarily mean the end of your case. If you believe that your claim was rejected in error and the other driver was clearly at fault, you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
Taking Your Case to Trial
To have a judge or jury determine your case, you can file a lawsuit. If your case is taken to trial, your attorney will present evidence in court to attempt to prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident and should be held financially accountable. Note that most cases are settled out of court, and your matter may not need to be litigated.
Discuss Your Case Today
In Texas, you have only two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The time limit does not refer to the deadline to file a claim with the insurance company. Rather, it concerns having your case heard in court. Still, it is important to keep the deadline in mind at the beginning stages of the claims process, as delays early on could result in your missing the time to pursue a lawsuit. If you miss either the claims process or lawsuit deadlines, you would have no recourse for recovering compensation.
Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case is timely processed.
Call Goline & Roland Law Firm at (940) 400-0475 or submit an online contact form to get started on your case.