COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS IN TEXAS
Dec. 6, 2021
Being injured as the result of a car accident can be a traumatizing experience. Not only do you have to take care of your emotional and physical needs, but you also have to deal with claims adjusters who’ll try to get you to settle for less than you deserve. At the Law Office of Steve Brannan, our attorneys have helped countless clients in the Odessa, Texas region work through the complexities of this ordeal, and we can help you, too. Our firm has been serving this community for over 40 years, and we’re committed to educating our clients so they can better help themselves. Below are some misconceptions that people often have about car accident claims.
#1. My own insurance will be responsible for covering medical costs and damages to my car.
This will be true for some people, but not for others. Texas is an at-fault state, which means the responsible party will be held liable for paying all damages including medical bills and property damage. However, you’ll still need to prove fault, and the state’s comparative-fault laws allow for liability to be shared between parties. For example, if it’s determined that the at-fault party was only responsible for 75% of the accident, they will only be required to pay 75% of damages. In this case, your own insurance would be asked to cover the remaining 25%.
#2. I feel okay so I don’t need to seek medical attention.
It is always the best choice to seek medical care, even if you don’t think you’ve sustained any injuries. Many times with accidents involving cars, you may not notice anything is wrong for days or even weeks afterward, and only a qualified medical provider can assess your health. Also, most insurance claims will require you to submit official documentation of a medical diagnosis as part of your claim. In some cases, if you don’t see a doctor right away, a car insurance company may use this fact against you, claiming you’re only seeking medical compensation now to get more money.
#3. If the accident is minor, it’s not necessary to report it.
You should report every accident to local law enforcement, and Texas law requires you to do this for any accident that resulted in the injury or death of someone, or property damage to a car that prohibits its safe use. Reporting the accident right away also increases your chances of a successful claim since some insurance providers require it to be done within two days of the accident.
#4. I was partially at fault for the accident, but that won’t affect the damages I can recover.
Wrong. Since Texas is a modified comparative fault state, you will be responsible for whatever percentage you’re found to be at fault. Additionally, if the investigation finds that you hold the majority of fault (over 50%), you can’t seek any damages from the other driver.
#5. I don’t need to hire an attorney to file a personal injury claim.
You have enough on your plate to deal with after an accident, and claims adjusters will take advantage of this fact. They want you to settle quickly and for the lowest amount possible. An experienced attorney can negotiate on your behalf and fight for a higher pay-out. They know the ins and outs of insurance claims and state law and can use this to your benefit.
Work With a Trusted Car Accident Attorney
From our office in Odessa, Texas, we’re proud to work with clients throughout West Texas including Midland, Big Spring, Pecos, and Andrews. If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney who’s compassionate and committed, reach out to us today.