Car Accident Lawyer
Common Texas Car Accident Questions
Our San Antonio Car Accident Attorneys are Here to Help You.
Following a motor vehicle accident, your life may be turned upside down. You probably have a lot of questions, which is why we provide a lot of FREE information and answers to common questions to help you make good decisions, and protect your rights after an accident.
Insurance company representatives may be calling, or trying to force you into a cheap settlement, and you may have questions about your injuries that nobody has been able to answer for you. Or, perhaps the insurance company is ignoring your calls, dragging their feet, or refusing to offer you what you think is fair.
In these situations, it is important to have a group of trusted car accident attorneys who can help you navigate the ins-and-outs of your automobile injury claim, provide you with direction, and answer the many questions and concerns you have about your injuries.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you probably have questions that you need answers to quickly, such as:
Our car accident attorneys offer a variety of FREE information to help you make the best decisions you can, including:
- Complimentary 5-Point case analysis to help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case,
- FREE books and guides that will help you avoid common mistakes, and protect your rights and secure your financial future,
- Free Guide that shows you the deceptive tricks insurance companies use to trick you into ruining your case,
- Helpful videos that provide insight and instruction for car accident victims,
- And more.
We Provide The Answers That You Need
You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take advantage of the FREE resources we provide to those who have been injured in a car accident. Our free guides will teach you:
How to recognize the deceptive and sneaky tricks insurance companies use to avoid paying you a penny, and how to combat their tactics.
How and when the other driver’s insurance company will pay your medical bills;
How to get medical treatment without paying upfront expenses, even if you DON’T have health insurance,
Learn to protect your credit rating, and what you should do to prevent your medical bills from going to collections,
How to settle your own claim, when you should do so, and when it’s better to get an attorney,
How to hire the right attorney for your case,
We know of no other San Antonio car accident lawyer that offers you so much FREE information, help, and guidance without any obligation whatsoever. Why do we offer so much free stuff to help you? Because we’ve been in your shoes before, and we know what it’s like to deal with the insurance company B.S. while you’re struggling to take care of yourself, and get the medical attention you need – it can be overwhelming to say the least. And, during this stressful time, it’s easy to make simple mistakes that can ruin your ability to get fair compensation for your injuries and medical expenses. We don’t want you to make these mistakes.
If You Still Have Questions, Just Ask Us!
We are here for you, and encourage you to contact us with any questions you have about your auto accident, or injuries.
Don’t wait to get the answers you need and the help that you deserve. Call one of our auto accident attorneys in San Antonio for your free, no cost, no obligation consultation. Take that first step in getting your life back on track by calling us today!
Important Study: Why You Need An Injury Attorney
Recently, a study by the Insurance Research Council revealed that car accident victims who hired an auto accident lawyer received 5 times more compensation than those who tried to settle the claim without a car accident lawyer on their side.
Auto insurance adjusters are not on your side, and are not concerned with your best interests. Contrary to what they may say on television, you’re seldom “in good hands” when negotiating an injury claim with an insurance adjuster. Their goal is not to treat you fairly, but rather to pay you as little as possible. While an insurance adjuster may be friendly, and reassuring, if you believe that they have your interests in mind when settling your case, you will be sorely disappointed.
This is why our auto accident attorneys in fight so hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve, and protect them from the unfair practices of the insurance companies.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself Following An Accident?
Fist of all, Download your FREE copy of our book, "10 Deadly Mistakes That Can Kill Your Texas Accident Case."
Our FREE book contains all the information you need to protect your rights following an accident, including the mistakes that many auto accident victims make that will injure or ruin their claims.
Get the information you need today -- BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE -- to protect the rights of you and your loved ones.
How can I make up for all the time and wages I lost from work after an accident?
Claiming Lost Wages After A Texas Accident
One question we get asked frequently is whether or not a person is entitled to compensation for lost wages when they miss time from work as a result of being injured. In the state of Texas, you can be compensated for lost wages, provided that certain factors are met.
For most people who have been seriously injured in an accident, such as car accident or truck accident, missing work and losing wages because of someone else’s negligence is frustrating. The good news is that, in many cases, an injured person can make a claim for lost wages after an accident.
How Can You Make a Lost Wage Claim?
If you were hurt in an accident where someone else was to blame, and you missed work, and therefore suffered lost wages, you can often be compensated for whatever wages you lost because of the accident.
Who Pays Your Lost Wage Claim?
To know who should pay your lost wage claim, you have to determine who was at fault in the accident that caused your injuries. If another driver was at fault, then you would first look to their insurance company to pay your lost wages. However, you should know that the other driver’s insurance company will probably not pay your claims as they occur. This includes both medical bills and lost wages. If they pay you at all, they will want to do it at the end of your claim and will offer one lump-sum settlement that covers both your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, etc. It is almost unheard of for an insurance company to pay you for lost wages as you incur them. Usually, they will do everything they can to avoid paying you anything at all.
You should be warned, however, that the other driver’s insurance company will likely try to claim that their insured driver was not liable or responsible for the accident in order to avoid paying you anything. This is one reason that you may want to get an injury attorney to hold the other driver’s insurance company accountable.
If the at-fault driver didn’t have valid insurance in place at the time of the accident, you would need to file a claim with your own insurance company. Your own insurance company will ONLY pay your lost wage claims if you have the certain kinds of insurance coverage.
Filing a Lost Wage Claim With Your Own Insurance
If the other driver didn’t have insurance, you would need to file a lost wage claim with your own insurance company. However, your insurance company will only pay a lost wage claim if you have very specific types of insurance, which are discussed below.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Lost Wage Claims
First, if you don’t have PIP coverage on your own insurance plan, you should STOP what you’re doing, call your insurance company and ADD IT NOW! It’s that important.
If you do have PIP coverage on through your own insurance company, it will pay up to 80% of the wages you lost from missing work, as long as the lost time was related to an accident. The other 20% can be used to reimburse you for medical treatment,prescriptions, etc
Note: You can make a PIP claim on your own insurance even if the other driver’s insurance company pays you for lost wages and medical expenses. In this way, PIP is just extra coverage (icing on the cake).
Sometimes people are afraid to use the PIP coverage on their own policy because they think that it will negatively affect their insurance rates – THIS IS NOT TRUE! In fact, Texas law prohibits insurance companies from raising your rates, or cancelling your policy because you make a PIP claim.
Uninsured Motorist Lost Wage Claims
If you’re driving in San Antonio, or anywhere else in Texas, the chances are very high that someone who doesn’t have valid liability insurance will hit you. I always tell my client’s that it’s “When” and not “if” an uninsured driver hits you, because it will happen eventually.
If you’re unfortunate enough to get hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance, you may be able to submit a lost wage claim to your own insurance company if you have uninsured bodily injury protection on your own policy.
When someone who does not have proper liability insurance has injured you, your own insurance company steps into the shoes of the liability insurer as long as you have the proper uninsured motorist coverage through your own insurance carrier.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage on your own policy, you should add it. Anyone driving in Texas without uninsured motorist coverage is taking a serious risk that could jeopardize their health, and their family’s financial future. If you would like to know whether or not you have the best insurance coverage to protect you and your family, we offer a FREE no obligation insurance coverage review, and can help you decide what insurance coverage is right for you and your family. Click here to start your free insurance coverage review, or call us at (210) 910-4357.
How am I going to pay for my medical bills?
FAQ: How Do I Pay For My Medical Bills After A Car or Truck Accident
One common question, and area of confusion related to car accident claims, is who pays for your medical bills after you’re been injured in an accident. In order to answer that question, you must determine several things: 1) Who was at fault in the accident?, 2) What kinds of insurance are available?, 3) How much will insurance pay?, and 4) When will insurance companies pay your medical bills?
Who Was At Fault For the Accident?
Before you can determine who should pay your medical expenses, you first have to determine who was at fault for the accident. The driver at-fault, or their insurance company, will be responsible for paying the damages, including medical expenses.
This may seem fairly straightforward to you, but it seldom is that easy, especially when trying to convince an insurance company to pay your medical bills. Many times insurance companies will dispute liability, claiming that their insured driver was not at fault, and will deny your claim. Insurance companies in Texas are very bold in denying claims to avoid paying, even when it’s obvious that their insured
was at fault. I’ve seen insurance companies deny liability on claims even when the police report clearly states that their insured was at fault for the accident.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim, for any reason, you should not simply give up and go away (which is what they want you to do). You should call an attorney that specializes in handling injury cases. We have gotten significant settlements for our clients, even after the other driver’s insurance company denied liability.
What Insurance Coverage Is Available?
In order to know who should pay your medical bills, you will need to know what different types of insurance are available. Important Note: There may be more than one insurance company that can help pay your medical bills:
Your Own Health Insurance Coverage. If you have health insurance, you’re usually better off using your health insurance to get medical care, especially for emergency room care. However, if you do reach a settlement in your injury claim, your health insurer has the right to be reimbursed for any payments they have made in connection with your injury (this is called “subrogation”).
If you’ve sustained serious injuries, you should consult with an attorney that specialized in handling injury claims because they can often help you find the right doctors who are familiar with the medical documentation required to strengthen your injury case.
At-Fault Driver’s Liability Insurance. Assuming that the other driver was at fault,and had valid liability insurance, their insurance company would be responsible for paying your medical bills. However, there are a few important things you need to know about liability insurance claims:
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company will not pay your medical bills as the bills come due. In fact, they usually only pay you one time at the very end of your claim. This sometimes causes credit problems for injured people without health insurance because their medical bills can be sent to collections. An experienced injury attorney can often work with medical providers to prevent ruining your credit after an accident.
- You should never settle your claim until you are completely finished with your medical treatment, that way you know exactly how much the insurance company owes you for medical care.
- Don’t accept or cash the first check an insurance company sends you unless you’re done treating, and the payment is fair (this is rarely the case). NOTE:You only get chance to settle your case. Once you accept their settlement, and sign their release, your case is over. You cannot go back later and ask for more money. That is why you should only settle your claim AFTER you have completed treatment, and know exactly what the medical bills are.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage. If you have PIP coverage on your own policy, you can submit a PIP claim to your own insurance company. PIP coverage is something EVERY Texan should carry. PIP coverage is available to pay for your medical bills, and up to 80% of lost wages that occurred because of your accident.Contrary to what many people believe, making a PIP claim on your own insurance policy will not raise your rates, in fact, it’s illegal in Texas for an insurance company to raise your rates or discontinue coverage just because you make a PIP claim.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Yes, liability car insurance in mandatory in Texas. However, its been estimated that one out of every four drivers in Texas are driving without valid liability insurance. I would bet that this number is actually much higher for south Texas cities, like San Antonio and southward. If you’re injured by an uninsured driver, the only insurance available toyou’re your medical bills will be your own insurance.
Hopefully you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy. This is coverage that EVERY Texan should have. If you don’t have it, you should add it as soon as you can. It doesn’t cost much, and it will protect you and your family when an uninsured driver hits you.
Unfortunately, if you’re injured by an uninsured driver and do not have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy, the only other option you have is to sue the at-fault driver. However, this is usually pointless because if they don’t have the money to purchase valid insurance, they likely won’t have the money to pay you, even if you win a lawsuit against them.
How Much Will The Insurance Company Pay?
The insurance company will only pay medical bills that have either been paid (by you or your health insurance provider), or have been incurred (meaning you still owe the bill) as a result of the accident. Holding the insurance company accountable to pay your medical bills depends on the following:
- Proving their driver was at fault
- Documenting your injuries, and showing that the injuries were caused by their insured driver
- The type and extent of your injuries
- Whether you were compliant with your doctors orders (did you follow what your doctor told you to do)
- Whether or not your have a lawyer on your side (they are more likely to treat you fairly if you have a good attorney on your side
One thing that insurance companies are notorious for is claiming that some (or all) of a person’s injuries were not caused by the accident, and refusing to pay medical expenses related to those injuries. Because many laws in the state of Texas favor insurance companies, insurance companies are very brazen in using these types of tactics to reduce or deny claims. If an insurance adjuster is not treating you fairly, or is using these types of tactics in your claim, you should contact an attorney that specializes in injury cases as soon as possible. If you wait too long to contact an attorney, it may be too late, and you could forever lose the right to get compensated
for your medical bills
When Will The Insurance Company Pay Your Medical Bills?
As mentioned above, you should NEVER try to settle your claim until you’ve completed your medical treatment. This can take as little as a month, or several years. You should be aware though that there are strict timelines for brining your claim. If your treatment takes more than six months, you should consider discussing your claim with an experienced injury attorney so that you don’t miss important deadlines that can destroy your claim.
The insurance company will only pay you once, at the end of your claim. They will almost never pay for your medical treatment as it occurs. This makes it very difficult for people who don’t have health insurance because they often can’t afford to pay out of pocket for medical treatment. However, one thing is certain, even if you don’t have health insurance, you should NOT delay getting medical care.
Getting Medical Treatment Without Insurance
If you don’t have health insurance, and have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, we can help you get the medical treatment you need. Our Medical Treatment Program was created to help injured people without health insurance get the treatment they need following an accident. We’ve teamed up with a network of medical providers who work with us to provide medical care to our clients without any upfront payment.
For more information about how you can get medical treatment even without health insurance, give us a call at (210) 593-8709 to see how we can help you.
How am I going to get around without a vehicle?
Who Is Responsible for Providing Me With a Rental Car While My Vehicle is Being Repaired?
Being involved in a car wreck is stressful, but that stress increases dramatically for most people when their car needs to be repaired, and they are faced with the prospect of not having a vehicle for an extended period of time while their car is repaired. In fact, it takes up to two weeks on average for a car to be repaired after a crash. Rental cars can be very expensive, and cost several hundred dollars a week, and usually require a credit card deposit as well. Who pays this cost? That depends – the following information should help you determine whether your insurance, or the at-fault driver’s insurance should be providing you with a rental car.
Here is what you need to know and consider about getting a rental car after an accident.
Will the other person’s insurance pay for a rental car?
If you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should cover the cost of a rental for you. However, if they didn’t have insurance, which, unfortunately, is very common in San Antonio and south Texas, you will likely need to see if your insurance provides for rental coverage. Here’s what you need to know.
Coverage by the at-fault driver’s insurance company
If the other person is found at fault for the accident, and he or she has the insurance required by law, that driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for your rental car. They are required to provide you for a rental car for a reasonable amount of time, usually during the time required for your car to be repaired. You should contact them as soon as possible to get the rental process started because this process isn’t always easy, or fast. If it’s pretty clear that the other driver was at fault, but their insurance company is claiming that they are “investigating liability,” or that they haven’t determined liability (who was at fault), you should contact an attorney right away to protect your rights.
The other driver’s insurance company should provide you with a vehicle that is similar to yours, or at least the same size. You may have to fight with them on this, but if you have four kids, and run a carpool for soccer practice, and you drove a van, they should provide you with a van because your needs require it. They may pushback, but stand your ground and explain why you need it and they will usually concede, and provide you with a vehicle that meets your needs. If you drive a luxury sedan, they will probably not provide you a luxury sedan. Under Texas law they have to provide you a rental that is reasonably similar to your vehicle. Because Texas law is stacked in favor of insurance companies, the term “reasonable” is usually what is reasonable for the insurance company, sadly.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies you a rental car, ask them to provide a reason to you in writing, which is required by law.
It’s usually better to get the rental from the other driver’s insurance company so that you’re protected from unexpected costs. However, if the other driver had no insurance, or their insurance company is taking too long to get you into a rental, you may need to seek a rental from your own insurance. However, I always advise to do all you can to get the at-fault driver’s insurance to arrange the rental because it can save you a lot of headaches and unexpected charges.
Coverage and Reimbursement from your own insurance company
If the other driver didn’t have insurance, or you need a rental more quickly than what the at-fault driver’s insurance company can arrange, you can run it through your own insurance, if you have rental coverage.
Unlike many states, vehicle rental coverage is optional in Texas. If you have low-cost insurance, rental coverage is probably not included with your own insurance. Call your insurance company to see if you have rental reimbursement coverage.
Depending on your insurance agreement, some insurance companies will reimburse you for rental coverage (meaning that you have to pay it first and they will reimburse afterwards). If you’re going to get reimbursed, you should know that most insurance policies have both a daily rental limit, and per occurrence limit. Make sure you know these numbers, or you could get stuck paying a portion of the rental yourself if it’s not reimbursable (this is why I recommend going through the at-fault driver’s insurance if available).
What if other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the other driver doesn’t have valid insurance at the time of the collision, you only have two choices:
- Use the rental coverage on your own insurance policy (if you have it), or
- Pay for it out of your own pocket.
Because of the high percentage of uninsured drivers in San Antonio and South Texas, we always recommend that you carry uninsured motorist protection (both property and bodily injury) on your own insurance policy. It will only cost you a few more dollars each month, but it will save you a lot of hassle, and money if you get hit by someone without insurance. We get phone calls every week from people who were hit by an uninsured driver but didn’t have their own uninsured motorist coverage – unfortunately we get to break the bad news to them that they are going to get stuck paying for their property damage, medical bills, and rental car out of their own pocket.
Consult With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you have questions about rental car coverage, uninsured motorist protection, or any other car accident related question, you can always call us. We will answer your questions without charging you an attorney fee. In fact, we offer a FREE 5-Point Case Evaluation to help you understand your case, and your options after an accident. Knowing what to do is always the first step in protecting your rights. Call us today at (210) 910-4357 to get started.
How will I be compensated for my injuries?
Understanding Types of Compensation You Can Receive After a Car Wreck in Texas
If you want to know how much your own car accident claim is worth, you should take advantage of our FREE 5-Point case evaluation, and read our article “How Much is My Accident Case Worth.
If you’re just wondering what the different types of compensation are in Texas after a car accident, this article will cover that.
Assuming that the accident was not your fault, and that you’re filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, the following are the types of compensation available in for an accident that occurred in Texas (discussed more thoroughly below):
- Property Damage
- Past Medical Expenses
- Future Medical Expenses
- Pain & Suffering
- Mental Anguish (difficult to get in Texas)
- Disfigurement & Impairment
- Lost wages – Both past and future
- Lost Earning Capacity – Both past and future
- Loss of Consortium & Household services
Property Damage Compensation
After a car wreck, your call will have damage, and you’ll need to get it repaired. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance company should pay for these repairs, as well as the cost of putting you in a rental car (see our article about who pays for rental cars here).
One thing to consider is getting your car repaired at a collision center that offers a lifetime warranty on repairs. In many cases, the other driver’s insurance company will have preferred shops that offer a lifetime warranty on the work they do. Always ask around, and find a shop that warranties their work, and get the warranty in writing.
Past Medical Expenses
Past medical expenses are what most injured people refer to as simply “medical expenses.” Technically, it’s the cost of the medical car you’ve received already at the time you settle your claim. Past medical is calculated by looking at the amount was paid by you or your insurance company, and the amounts that you still owe. Note that if your health insurance paid any of your medical expenses, it is entitled to be reimbursement for what they paid. If this is the case, you may want to consult with an attorney to help negotiate this, or you could end up owing your health insurance company money.
WARNING: You should not settle your claim if you are uncertain whether or not you will need medical care in the future as a result of the accident. If you think you might need future care, you are almost always better off getting an attorney because insurance companies will not want to pay future medical – an attorney can level the playing field, and insure that your future interests are taken into consideration in whatever settlement you reach.
Future Medical Expenses
Future medical expenses are simply an estimate of medical expenses you’ll need in the future. Insurance companies hate paying future medical because the expenses are estimated, and are not certain. They will rarely pay a person future medical expenses unless that person is represented by an attorney. An experienced injury attorney knows what evidence is required, and how to present a claim for future medical expenses in a way that they can be considered in a settlement agreement. Keep in mind, once you settle your case you don’t get to come back later and get more money. That is why you MUST include a claim for future medical before you settle your case.
Pain & Suffering
Pain & suffering damages are very subjective and difficult to measure, which is why insurance companies hate paying them. However, if the nature of your injury caused you more than a minimal amount of pain, and you suffered from such pain, you are technically entitled to compensation under Texas law. The level of compensation depends on the amount of pain that would be expected for the type of injuries you sustained. The greater the injuries, the more willing the insurance company will be to consider pain & suffering damages in their settlement. Pain and suffering, like medical expenses, is measured for both past pain & suffering, as well as pain and suffering that a person will likely endure in the future (if any).
While mental anguish damages are technically available in Texas, they are difficult to be under current Texas law. Getting a jury to award mental anguish damages in Texas is also difficult, which is why insurance adjusters don’t usually offer anything to compensate injured persons for mental anguish. Generally, the anguish you suffer needs to be so intense that it is more than mere disappointment, embarrassment, or anger, or difficulty. Things like grief, public humiliation, deep despair, intense shame, or indignation are closer to what the courts and juries would look for to consider mental anguish damages. These damages are also measured for both past and into the future.
Disfigurement & Impairment
If your injuries were severe enough to cause scarring, loss of limb, etc., then you would likely have a valid claim for disfigurement damages. The amount of damages would depend upon how bad the scarring and disfigurement is. The more noticeable a scar, and the more likely it is that others see it, the greater the damages. For example, a young lady with a scar on her face will likely be entitled to greater damages than a older man with a small scan on the small of his back.
Impairment damages considers whether or not there are things you can no longer do, or whether you have limitations because of the accident that you didn’t have before the accident. For example, if you had to have knee surgery, and can no longer jog or run (and you could before), you have been impaired by your injuries, and are likely entitled to compensation.
Another cost commonly associated with accidents is the wages a person loses when they have to miss work. If you missed work because of the accident, you have the right to be compensated. You’ll need evidence, such as employment records, to prove your claim. This can be difficult for people who are self-employed, but a good attorney can help you in this regard.
Lost wages can also be measured in terms of future lost wages. For example, if you were a truck driver making $80,000 per year, but can no longer drive a truck because of your injuries, and you only qualify for a $50,000 per year job, you have likely lost $30,000 per year for every year you live into the future. Future lost wages can be difficult to calculate, and require specific evidence. An experienced injury attorney can help you with this.
Lost Earning Capacity
Loss of earning capacity is similar to lost wages in the future, but measures your capacity to earn in the future. If your injuries make it so you’ll not be able to be promoted because you can no longer do the things you once could.
Loss of Consortium and Household Services
If an injury causes you to be unable to be intimate with your spouse, you may be able to recover (and your spouse may as well) for loss of consortium. Additionally, if you have to pay someone to do things around the house (such as mow the lawn) because your injuries prevent you from doing these things, you may also have a claim to loss of household services.
How long does it take to settle an injury claim?
How long will it take to settle my injury claim?
One of the questions that nearly every client of ours asks is “how long will it take to settle my insurance claim?” Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to foresee how long it will take at the beginning of a case, because there are a lot of factors that come into play that affect how quickly your claim can be settled.
One thing is certain though; rushing the settlement of your injury claim is almost always a mistake. In my book “10 Deadly Mistakes That Can Kill Your Texas Accident Case” I discuss why rushing to settle your claim is a big mistake. You can get a free copy of my book here.
The three main factors that influence how long it will take to settle your claim are:
- How Badly You Were Injured
- The Insurance Company Involved
- Whether a Lawsuit is Needed
Your Injuries & Medical Treatment
The most decisive factor in determining how long it will take to settle your injury case is how badly you were injured. This is because the worse the injuries, the longer it will take you to get the treatment you need to either recover from your injuries or reach MMI (maximum medical improvement). MMI is a term used to describe someone who is finished treating, but wasn’t able to return to pre-injury functioning (basically, you’re as healed as you’re going to get, but not 100%).
As discussed on page 68 of my book “10 Deadly Mistakes That Can Kill Your Texas Accident Case,” one of the biggest mistakes you can make is getting in a rush to settle your claim before your injuries, and required treatment, is known.
If you settle your injury claim before the full extent of your injuries is fully known, you will not know how much treatment your injuries will require, nor will you know how much your medical bills will be. This will almost always cause you to severely undervalue your injury claim, leaving you stuck paying much of your medical bills out of your own pocket – huge mistake!
Also, until you have reached your MMI, you will not know how your injuries will affect you into the future. Sometimes, if therapy and conservative measures have failed to provide relief from pain, you have to be referred to a specialist or surgeon, which can end up costing more money and taking more time.
That is why you should never settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company before you know the full extent of your injuries. Rushing to settle your claim is a huge mistake. We get calls regularly from people who settled their claim with the insurance company, and want to see if the settlement can be reversed because they found out they need surgery, or have other medical issues that weren’t anticipated. Sadly, once you sign that release, you’re done – period. There is no going back to the insurance company – they won’t pay you a penny more, no matter how compelling your story.
The Insurance Companies Involved
Another factor in determining how quickly your claim will settle depends upon the insurance company the at-fault driver has. Why does this matter?
Simply put, all insurance companies are not the same. Cut-rate, el-cheapo insurance companies are often difficult to deal with, and will fight you on every little detail, and every penny. While this is true witih most insurance companies, it’s especially true with low-cost insurance providers (in my experience and opinion, Fred Loya, ACCC, and Pronto are among the worst). Because their rates are generally lower, they will fight you tooth and nail, and are generally very unreasonable.
When the other driver’s insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, it can dramatically increase the time it takes to settle your claim. Often times you have to sue these companies to make them pay you a fair settlement – this increases the time it takes to settle a claim.
Filing a Lawsuit
As mentioned above, filing a lawsuit is sometimes required if the insurance company doesn’t offer you a reasonable settlement. This increases the amount of time it will take to settle your claim. Lawsuits can take more than a year to resolve.
Don’t Miss Important Deadlines
If you’ve been working with the insurance company on your claim for 6-8 months, and haven’t gotten a reasonable offer to settle your claim, you should contact an experienced injury lawyer because there are strict timelines that must be met. If you miss one of these deadlines, you will likely be prevented from making a claim at all.
I received a call recently from someone who had been trying to handle their claim on their own. The insurance adjuster informed him that they were withdrawing all previous offers because the statute of limitations had passed. He wanted to know what he could do. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations is the date by which you must file a lawsuit, otherwise you will not be able to bring a claim. This particular person missed that date, and did not receive a single penny to compensate him for any of his medical bills, lost wages, or other damages.
Get Your FREE 5-Point Case Evaluation
We offer injured persons a FREE 5-Point Case Evaluation, which is a written report that helps accident victims understand their case, provides answers to common questions and gives help and guidance as to what steps should be taken.
To order your FREE report, click here.
Do I need a lawyer?
Do I need a lawyer if I was in a car accident?
One of the questions that car accident victims ask us most frequently is “Do I need a lawyer for my car accident, or can I handle my own car accident claim.” Of course, the answer to that is that it depends on many factors. Sometimes it makes sense to handle your own car accident case without a lawyer, but there are times when hiring a lawyer is the smart thing to do. Here’s what you need to know:
When Should You Handle Your Own Car Accident Case?
I’m going to tell you something that most car accident attorneys won’t tell you — you may not even need an attorney for your car accident case. In fact, we tell potential clients this quite often. In certain circumstances, you would be better off handling your car accident case by yourself, without a lawyer.
The following are common examples of when you would likely not need a lawyer, and could probably handle your car accident case on your own:
- You were not injured, but your car was damaged.
- You suffered only minor injuries that did not require an immediate ER visit.
- You suffered only strains or sprains that were easily treated with a few chiropractor or physical therapy visits.
- You did not use your health insurance to pay for any of your treatment.
- You did not use Medicaid or Medicare to pay for any of your treatment.
- You didn’t break any bones, or herniate any discs in your back, neck, or thoracic spine.
- You didn’t sustain any cuts that required stitches.
- You have no injuries that will bother you in the future.
- The insurance company offers you a fair settlement that covers all of your medical bills and property damage (this doesn’t happen very often in Texas because Texas laws are stacked in favor of insurance companies, and stacked against you, the injured person).
12 Situations When It Makes More Sense to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
Of course, there are times when an injured person would be crazy to try to handle their own car accident case, and other times when it just makes sense to have a good attorney fighting for you (it usually doesn’t cost anything up front to hire an injury attorney, click here for more info).
In Texas, the laws are are stacked in favor of insurance companies, and stacked against injured people. Because of these laws, insurance companies tend to be difficult to deal with, which often times requires the assistance of an experienced injury attorney to get fair compensation. Here are some of the situations for which you should have an experienced attorney on your side:
- Your injuries were serious, such as broken bones, cuts, herniated discs in neck or back.
- You required surgery because of the collision.
- You had to seek immediate medical attention, or were taken to the hospital by ambulance.
- There were more than two people injured in the crash, or more than two vehicles involved (if this is the case, you need to contact an attorney quickly because of Texas law).
- You missed more than 3-4 days of work because of the accident.
- The insurance company is giving you the run around (download a free guide that exposes their sneaky tricks here).
- The insurance company has denied your claim.
- The insurance company claims you were at fault, but the evidence puts the other driver at fault.
- You used your own health insurance to pay for some of your medical care (you may be obligated to pay them back, an attorney can help defend against this).
- You used Medicaid or Medicare to pay for some of your medical care (again, you may be obligated to pay them back, an attorney can help with this).
- The insurance company is trying to rush you into a quick settlement (this is a huge red flag).
- The police report is inaccurate, doesn’t truly describe the way the accident happened, or puts you at fault when you weren’t.
If you have a situation where you aren’t sure whether or not you need a lawyer for your case, just give us a call at (210) 910-4357. We offer a FREE 5-Point Case Analysis, which can help you understand the important factors affecting your case, and guide your decision. If you don’t need a lawyer, we will tell it to you straight – no games.
Hiring a lawyer can have benefits you may be unaware or. For more on this, check out our article on “The Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Attorney.”
You Come First!
Our car accident attorneys in San Antonio want to help you get back on your feet following a serious accident, and get the justice and compensation you deserve."
You don't have to fight the insurance company alone, nor is it wise to do so. Our car accident lawyers are here to fight for you! Contact our car accident lawyers in San Antonio today, and find out how it feels to have experience fighting for you!