Car accidents are at the top of most people’s list of “most stressful events” and complicated insurance claims can make an already difficult situation extremely overwhelming. Insurers are known to try to minimize injuries and losses, pay the least amount possible or not pay claims at all. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney is the only way to defend your rights, get the compensation you need to recover financially and move forward with your life. In the article below, we’ve outlined some main points about how filing an insurance claim works after a car crash, what to do and expect with your claim.
If you want more information on what to do right after a car accident, visit our car accident page.
The Insurance Claim Process
Step 1: Prepare all the information you need for your claim
After an accident, try to compile as much information as possible to provide to the insurance company (and your lawyer), including:
- the other party’s insurance policy number and name of the insurance company;
- witness statements and full contact information;
- the other driver’s full contact information;
- photographs or videos taken of the damage and the surrounding area where the accident happened;
- accident reports from police;
- proof of any injuries from the accident and proof of any medical treatment received; and
- body shop estimate for repairs.
- *Make copies of all the documents and keep everything well organized.
Step 2: Pay attention to your claim.
Read the insurance policy carefully. Don’t rely on an insurance agent or adjuster to tell you what the policy does or does not cover.
Take notes about all calls you have with the insurance company or agent. Include:
- the date;
- what you talked about;
- name and title of the person you spoke with;
- their phone number and extension; and
- the claim number.
Keep your communication official. Follow up any phone calls to the insurer with an email. Make sure to ask for a written explanation of what the insurance company is offering (or not offering).
Do NOT share photos or videos of your accident on any social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. You have to prove that what you say actually happened and sharing on social media could work against your interests in a future legal action.
Step 3: Call an experienced accident attorney
Insurance companies make money when policyholders or the injured party don’t file their claims or don’t collect on claims submitted under the policy. Some insurance companies regularly deny claims as part of an unspoken internal policy and will only investigate a claim if legal action is taken.
If you are dealing with an insurance company that hasn’t answered or paid your claim, rejected your claim or offered you less compensation than you think seems reasonable – don’t give up. An experienced attorney can review your case and fight on your behalf, without paying that attorney any upfront costs. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you get paid. In other words, we only collect a fee if you win a favorable settlement or verdict, but our fees won’t come out of your pocket.
Regardless of where in Texas your accident happened, fill out our free case review form or call 1-800-505-1414 for a free consultation. Let attorneys in our Houston, Dallas or San Antonio offices review your case and help you decide the best way to go forward with your claim or lawsuit.
How A Law Firm Can Help You Financially Recover
- First. Your legal team will want to hear your version of what happened. Next, your team will get in touch with the at fault party’s insurer to determine the status of your claim. Your lawyer will then let you know whether they think there are grounds to investigate and possibly take legal action.
- Second. Your attorney will compare the policy to the circumstances in an effort to determine what claims need to be filed. During this stage we are obtaining evidence to support a legal cause of action.
- Third. Your lawyer will file a claim or a lawsuit against the defendant who caused the collision. This does not mean that you will have to go to court; you and your attorney will decide together whether negotiation before going to court is a good option or not.
How long do insurance companies have to respond to a claim?
Texas law says that an insurance company must answer a filed claim within 15 days of being notified of the claim. They also must:
- investigate the claim;
- request information on the claim, including statements, forms and other evidence of the claim (described above); and
- let you know if your claim has been accepted or rejected. *According to Texas law, most of the time the insurer must notify you whether the claim is accepted or rejected within 15 days of receiving all the information to investigate the claim. Sometimes they can have 45 days to do that but are required to have a good reason to extend the time frame.
- Insurers must also explain the basis for their decision if they reject your claim.
Don’t try to settle your claim alone. Get help from an experienced car crash attorney to maximize your insurance compensation and fight for a fair settlement after your collision. At Jim Adler & Associates we’ve been hammering insurance companies for over three decades and we won’t let them take advantage of you.
Whether the collision happened in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio or anywhere else in Texas – fill out our free case review form or call us at 1-800-505-1414 for a free consultation. We’re a family law firm, so let our family help yours.