How Car Accident Injury Claims in Texas Work

car accident injury claim

Dealing with an insurance company is the starting place when making a car accident injury claim. An injured person’s own insurance company may provide some benefits, but the insurance companies representing the liable parties will be the primary sources of compensation.

When it comes to talking to an insurance company representative about your injury claim, what you say and even how you say it can make a big difference. The following tips can help claimants improve their confidence and credibility when speaking with insurance companies:

  • Have all relevant documents handy, including the police report, medical records, vehicle information, and more
  • Don’t guess or speculate in answer to a question if you do not know for sure, just say you are unsure
  • Don’t agree to let the insurance company record your conversation unless you have been counseled by an attorney
  • Don’t admit any fault for the car accident; if fault is an issue, it is best to discuss the situation with an experienced car accident lawyer before talking with an insurance company
  • Make sure your answers are consistent no matter how many different ways you are asked the same basic question

How Liability for a Crash Affects a Claim in Texas

Texas is an ‘at-fault’ state. That means when a car accident occurs, a determination of fault will be made. A percentage of fault is assigned to each party who has some responsibility for causing the auto accident.

Being partially at fault for a car accident doesn’t prevent an injured person from recovering compensation in Texas so long as their percentage of fault is not greater than 50%. Any percentage of fault attributed to the party seeking compensation will proportionately reduce the amount that can be recovered.

Assessing the Damages Caused by an Injury

Injured persons can typically recover two types of damages – economic and non-economic. Economic damages are financial losses or expenses incurred because of the accident, such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket costs.

Non-economic damages are harder to place a value on because they are based on a person’s experience with the injury. Non-economic damages can be awarded for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and inconvenience.

In rare instances, the behavior of an at-fault driver may have been more than just carelessness. A driver who intended to cause harm or knew their actions could cause harm and didn’t care may have to pay an extra penalty amount known as exemplary or punitive damages. Exemplary damages are awarded to discourage bad behavior, not as compensation for injuries.

How to Make a Car Accident Injury Claim When the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, about 20% of licensed drivers in Texas are driving without liability insurance. To protect against the risk of damage caused by an uninsured motorist, auto insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage as optional coverage when liability insurance is purchased.

If the damages exceed the available amount of insurance, which is common with car accident head injuries and fatal car accidents, an injury lawsuit can be filed against the liable parties but they may not have enough insurance to pay all of the damages. An injured person who purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can make a claim with their own carrier to cover the difference and to ensure they receive complete compensation.

For people who don’t feel comfortable negotiating with an insurance company or who anticipate a negative experience based on past dealings, it might be beneficial to consult a car accident attorney to get a better idea of what to expect and how to prepare.

If negotiations with an insurance company are going nowhere or the insurance company is not playing fair, a little persuasion from a car accident lawyer might be necessary to resolve an injury claim to your satisfaction. Contact us today to see how we can help with your case.