Should I Inform My Insurance Company After An Auto Accident?
Some clients ask me if they should notify their own insurance company of a wreck or accident my best answer is that sometimes it depends. For you, the best rule to know is that it’s best not to talk to anybody about a car wreck till after you talk it over with an attorney experienced in dealing with car wreck injury cases. There is a saying that goes something like, “sometimes, you do not know, what you do not know!” This can apply in dealing with a car wreck when you do not know what can harm your claim or result in denial of a valid claim for injuries or property damage. In Texas, some people only buy auto liability insurance, which covers the driver for paying other people’s damages if the driver is at fault in causing a car wreck. In these type of insurance policies, if you’re clearly not at fault then your liability insurance has no involvement in the wreck and they would have no reason to know or be involved in handling your claim.
If you bought extra insurance options, such as uninsured motorist coverage in the event of a wreck caused by an uninsured motorist or rental car or collision insurance regardless of fault, or medical care insurance or personal injury protection insurance that covers medical bills and lost wages regardless of fault, then eventually you may have to notify your own insurance carrier that you bought insurance coverage from about the details of a car wreck. Usually, we caution about talking to the insurance company on your own without first talking to an attorney because many insurance adjusters, even your own insurance adjusters, want you to give a recorded statement about the wreck.
If you don’t know ahead of time what’s important to point out or not point out in terms of validating the wreck not being your fault or about your injuries, the recording could be used against you and against your interest in the future by any party, including the at fault party as well as your own insurance company if they ever get crossways or in conflict with you as to who may be at fault or the extent of your injuries. I usually get the car wreck client to come in and tell me what happened in their own words and oftentimes they’re surprised to learn that there’s something they had not thought about or left out that should be included that helps or hurts the proper presentation of their case and gives the other driver’s insurance an excuse to dispute or not pay an otherwise valid claim. We try and help our clients make their claims stronger before giving a recorded statement. This is just one of the ways, meeting with us early helps us help them in the long run by putting their case in the best position possible so the adjuster will accept the claim and try and pay it fairly and promptly.
What Defenses Do Insurance Companies Use To Avoid Paying Out On Claims?
There are three main categories of defenses insurance companies like to use to try and beat you down in making an injury case against their insurance company in spite of your valid claim. Some of these defenses are justified but many are not. Since I believe it’s my opinion that there is no penalty on an insurance company for being unfair to you as the driver of the innocent vehicle, it’s important that you hire an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the defenses in advance in order to anticipate and take on and destroy some of these false defenses. One of the main defenses the insurance companies may make is they try and blame you for causing a car wreck or car accident even though the facts are on your side. We have seen auto insurance companies flat-out deny valid claims even when there are witnesses in your favor. For example, we have seen where a police officer will write a report that is in your favor based on observations taken by the officer at the scene, talking to drivers, and any witnesses to the wreck.
In some cases, the insurance company says or takes a position that the investigating officer was not a witness to the wreck so the officer’s opinion cannot be relied upon. When the officer actually writes something that’s in the insurance company favor and that may be used against our client then the insurance company may take the position that the officer is an experienced traffic investigator, relied upon valid information and has the final word as law enforcement and use that decision to deny what would be otherwise a valid claim. Another major category of defense is to blame your pain, symptoms or injuries on everything else but the accident that their driver was responsible for. Insurance companies love to bring up excuses of things such as pre-existing injuries (injuries that pre-dated the wreck) or medical conditions that you are born with as being a cause, or some unrelated medical condition; anything other than their client’s wrongful driving conduct that led to your wreck and to your injuries. Insurance companies may do anything to bring up defenses that do not take responsibility for the harm they cause to avoid paying valid auto wreck claims.
Some insurance companies may often resort to employing hiring medical personnel and seek medical positions from people who are not doctors or who are biased, who get paid to say something else caused your injury and you should not be believed that you’re hurt or making a valid claim. That is why it’s important that you get an experienced medical and legal help to document and explain your injuries resulting from a wreck or accident if the insurance company on your claim tries one of these defenses. Getting proper medical care for a victim of a car wreck is not always easy. There are many medical doctors who refuse to treat people who are injured in car wrecks because the physician or clinics don’t want to deal with insurance company denials or delays or refusals any more than the innocent victim of a car wreck does.
That is why you have to get with an experienced attorney who knows the locale and knows which doctors who are willing to be patient-friendly and provide upfront medical care and treatment and know the process of dealing with auto insurance companies and their delays or defenses. The third way I see insurance companies try to defend auto cases is to hide the amount of insurance coverage or the value that they’ve placed on your claim to beat you down and short-change the value of your case. Many insurance companies try to hide the amount of insurance coverage that they provide coverage for an accident or incident for that particular driver in order to keep you from making a rightful settlement claim for the full value of your injuries and losses.
Sometimes, when they refuse to reveal their coverage amounts, the only way to know the actual insurance money available is through a lawsuit. An experienced attorney in injury cases can tell you when you should file a lawsuit to discover the amount of insurance that’s available to compensate you for the losses on your claim and when it is not necessary. Another insurance defense that is used in this category is that some insurance companies will claim to use a computer model of what your injuries should be and what your medical care should cost and how much you should be paid on the claim based on an average of claim payments or jury verdicts. Many computer models can be manipulated by whoever wants a certain result. Further, most car accidents are not average and most people are not average. Everybody is different.
Some people are older and some people are younger. Some people recover quicker from injuries and some people take longer to heal. Some people need a surgery to repair an injury and some people do not. Some people work and lose wages and some people do not. That’s why it’s important to talk to an attorney about these kinds of defenses that they present early in your case so that the attorney can help present why your case is different and why you should be compensated fairly based upon who you are and how it has affected your life, not some computer model.
For more information on Informing Insurance After An Accident, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (210) 225-2828 today.
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