Don’t Like The Insurance Company’s Offer? Here’s What To Do!
It is no surprise to anyone that insurance companies, like all other businesses, are created to make a profit. The more they pay out in claims, the less profit they earn.
That does not necessarily mean that an insurance company is going to cheat you if you file a claim. Most of them won’t.
It does mean, however, that an auto insurance company may be looking for a way to deny your claim or to pay you less than your claim is actually worth. Working with an car accident law firm can help boost your chances of a better offer. Keep reading to learn more.
WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT FILING A DAMAGE CLAIM?
Below, you’ll read some tips about negotiating a damage claim with an auto insurance provider. You’ll probably be able to do that successfully on your own.
Vehicles can be replaced, but you can’t. If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence here in south Texas, forget about negotiating on your own with an insurance company. You are going to need an injury attorney’s help.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE INJURED BY A CARELESS DRIVER?
If you are injured in traffic by a careless driver, notify your auto insurance company that an accident has occurred, and then reach out to an experienced Edinburg auto accident attorney – as swiftly as possible.
Your attorney will handle your injury claim, negotiate your settlement, or if necessary, take your case to trial. That is explained below, but first, here are the do’s and the don’ts of negotiating a property damage claim for your vehicle.
WHAT ARE THE “DO’S” OF NEGOTIATING A PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM?
1. At the accident scene, summon the police. Ask them how to obtain a copy of their accident report and when it will be available. Exchange insurance information with the other driver, take plenty of photos, and if there are eyewitnesses, get contact information.
2. Contact your auto insurance provider immediately after you’ve been involved in a crash. It’s not the law, but most auto insurance policies require you to notify the company within 24 hours of an accident.
3. Whether or not you feel healthy, obtain a medical examination within 24 hours of the collision to ensure that you have sustained no hard-to-detect or latent injuries.
4. Before you speak to a claims adjuster, study your policy and be sure that you understand it, especially the “exclusion” and “coverage” provisions.
5. Whenever you talk to an insurance adjuster, take notes. Get the adjuster’s name, phone number, and exact title. Write down the date, time, and what was discussed in each conversation.
6. Stick to the facts. If you exaggerate or if you’re just plain dishonest, your policy could be canceled, and you’ll obtain no compensation for damages.
7. An insurance company’s first settlement offer will almost always below. Determine how much reimbursement you need and be ready with some evidence – independent damage estimates, before and after photos of the vehicle, and receipts for previous repairs.
8. Be firm, but be polite. Insurance adjusters work for senior adjusters and other company managers. Most of them are diligent and dedicated professionals just trying to do a job.
WHAT ARE THE “DON’TS” OF NEGOTIATING A PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM?
1. Don’t give any recorded or written statement to an auto insurance company until you are certain that you fully understand your own policy.
2. Don’t miss any deadlines set by your policy or by the company.
3. Don’t settle for delays, excuses, brush-offs, or any other unethical treatment.
4. Don’t cash a check from the insurance company unless it is for the full amount that you’re seeking.
5. Don’t even think about negotiating on your own with an insurance company if you’ve been injured by a negligent driver. Take your case directly to an injury lawyer.
WHAT TACTICS WILL SOME AUTO INSURANCE COMPANIES USE?
When you negotiate your property damage claim with an auto insurance company, expect the first offer to be almost ridiculously low. Some people accept those offers.
If that doesn’t work, some companies will use other tactics – delays and excuses, for example – to make you go away.
That doesn’t often happen in Texas. Unless a company is engaged in bad faith insurance practices, you will probably be able to settle a damage claim, on your own, in six weeks or less.
However, if you are seriously injured by a negligent driver in a Texas traffic accident, you may need a substantial amount of compensation for long-term or even lifetime medical care. The laws are different in states like California, so if you have an accident in California, advise a Fresno personal injury lawyer.
WHEN WILL YOU NEED AN ACCIDENT LAWYER’S HELP?
You’ll need to have a skilled auto accident attorney advise and represent you if you’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury, an injury to the spinal cord, an injury that requires amputation, or any other serious or disabling personal injury or injuries.
Your attorney will launch an immediate investigation into the accident and injury, determine exactly why the accident happened and who is liable, and will negotiate for the compensation that you’re entitled to by law as an injured victim of negligence.
It’s important to contact an attorney right away if you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, and you must not make any formal statement of any kind to an insurance company. Refer the company to your attorney, who will negotiate on your behalf – while you regain your health.
If no acceptable settlement offer is made, your accident lawyer will take your case to trial, but that’s rare in Texas. The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims in our state are resolved privately and outside of the courtroom.
HOW CAN YOU LEARN MORE? WHAT WILL IT COST?
If you are an injured victim of negligence, you can discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer for no cost and with no obligation.
The first consultation is free, and if you move forward with legal action, you won’t pay an attorney anything until that attorney obtains a settlement or a jury award on your behalf.
If a careless driver in Texas injures you or only damages your vehicle, in either case, you are entitled under Texas law to full compensation.
The law is on your side if you’ve been injured by negligence in this state, but you must take the first step and get the legal help you need – as soon as you need it. That is your absolute legal right.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.