Anderson Injury Lawyers | October 26, 2022 | Car Accidents
Car accidents are common in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. For that reason, drivers should know how insurance claims work in the area.
Filing a Liability Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex
Texas personal injury laws hold the party who caused the injury liable for damages. However, the injured party has the burden of proving the other party owed them a duty of care and breached the duty of care. The injured party must also prove that the breach of duty was the cause of their injuries and damages.
The system is often referred to as an “at-fault” insurance system. Drivers are required to have minimum amounts of liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance compensates accident victims for their economic and non-economic damages when a covered driver causes a car accident.
The minimum car insurance coverage in Texas is:
- $30,000 for injuries to one person
- $60,000 for injuries to two or more people in one accident
- $25,000 for property damage claims
Therefore, the first step in the insurance claims process is to determine who was at fault for the cause of the car accident. If the other driver caused the car wreck, you would file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
However, if you caused the accident, the other driver’s insurance will not pay you for your damages. You could file a PIP claim if you did not deny no-fault insurance coverage in that event to receive some benefits.
What Is PIP Insurance in Texas?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a type of no-fault insurance coverage. The policy pays benefits to you regardless of who caused the accident. In other words, you can receive benefits quickly without the need to prove who is responsible for causing the wreck.
However, Texas insurance laws allow drivers to waive PIP coverage in writing. Therefore, if you waived PIP coverage and were at fault for the car crash, you might not receive any money for your injuries and damages.
Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Texas
Texas does not require drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. They can turn down the insurance coverage in writing. However, that could hurt you in the future.
Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance coverage pays you compensation if an uninsured driver or hit-and-run driver causes an accident. Your UM insurance company acts as a liability insurance provider. You can receive compensation for your non-economic and economic damages as if the company represents the at-fault driver.
UM coverage and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can provide much-needed monetary relief when the other driver is negligent and does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay your claim.
What Happens After I File an Insurance Claim?
When you file an insurance claim, the company assigns an insurance adjuster to investigate the claim. The adjuster determines whether the company is liable for your damages. If so, the adjuster determines the amount of the damages.
The process might seem straightforward, so why would you need to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Consider the following:
- The insurance adjuster works to protect the insurance company’s best interest
- The adjuster does not work for you and will not fight to get you compensation for your claim
- The adjuster and the company use whatever tactics they can to deny or undervalue your claim
- The insurance company might raise allegations and defenses that are untrue to intimidate you, including failure to mitigate damages and shifting the blame to you (contributory fault) to reduce the value of your claim
- The adjuster will not tell you if you are entitled to future damages, which could equal a substantial amount
- The insurance company also does not tell you if you could receive punitive damages if you pursue a lawsuit
If you are unsure what damages you are entitled to receive by law or the value of those damages, you will lose money.
The insurance adjuster might push for a quick settlement. However, the settlement offer is below the value of your damages, and you still receive treatment for injuries.
If you settle before you complete medical treatment, you might receive hundreds of thousands of dollars less than your claim is worth. When you sustain a permanent injury, you can receive future damages. However, you cannot know if you sustained a disability until you complete medical treatment.
Receiving a Settlement Check for Your Claim
If you settle the car accident claim, you sign a settlement agreement, and the company issues you a settlement check. The agreement releases all parties from all liability for the claim. In other words, you cannot demand more money for your claim.
Therefore, seeking legal counsel before signing documents or accepting a settlement offer could benefit you. An attorney tells you whether the settlement offer is fair or whether you are entitled to more money for your claim.