How To File A Car Accident Claim In Houston
When a car accident results in economic or noneconomic losses, the only way to recover financial compensation is to file a car accident claim for damages.
But filing a car accident claim isn’t always as straightforward as letting your insurer know that you were in a crash. In order to get the settlement that you deserve, there are steps to take, and certain things to know about interacting with an insurance adjuster.
Consider the following information about how to successfully file a car accident claim in Texas, and feel free to reach out to our Houston car accident lawyers at The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, with any questions you have about the process.
Car accidents happen all of the time in Houston and across Texas. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation1 reports that a reportable crash occurs once every 59 seconds. Another thing that’s true about car accidents is that car accidents often result in damages, either in the form of property damage expenses, injuries and related losses, or both. Get the money you deserve, call us today!
Dos and Don’ts of Reporting Your Car Accident
Reviewing this list of dos and don’ts for reporting your car accident and filing your claim can help you to preserve your right to compensation, and avoid any mistakes that could jeopardize your case.
- Do report the accident. Even if you’re involved in a something that you might describe as a minor fender-bender, you need to report the accident to the authorities. Failing to report your car accident can make it much more difficult if not impossible to recover compensation later on.
- Do get the other driver’s information. As you are waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of the accident, take a moment to get the other driver’s information. This includes their name, driver’s license number, insurance information, registration information, and contact information. Also get contact information from any eyewitnesses.
- Don’t lie or exaggerate the details of the accident. When the police arrive, they will ask you to give your version of events. One serious mistake that you can make is that of speculating about what happened. If you aren’t sure what happened, such say, “I don’t know.” Do not dramatize how the accident occurred or get angry.
- Do ask for a copy of the police report. You have the right to request a copy of the police report, and should do so.
- Do let your insurer know immediately. In all cases, reporting the accident to your insurance company as soon possible after an accident is recommended. If you wait too long, the insurance company could deny your claim.
- Don’t admit fault. No matter how sorry you are, don’t say anything that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault, such as, “If only I wouldn’t have…” or, “I’m so sorry.” Even simple comments like this could be used against you to place blame on your shoulders and diminish your settlement.
Tips for Documenting Damages
In order to get the settlement that you want, you’ll need to prove the fault of the other driver, causation (that the accident and your injuries would not have occurred but for the other driver’s actions), and damages. In fact, it doesn’t matter if the other driver was 100 percent to blame of your accident if there isn’t any proof that you were actually harmed as a result.
Proving damages requires submitting evidence, which means that you will need to be thorough about documenting damages and your recovery process. Some tips for doing this include:
- Take photos. Photos of your injuries can be gruesome and tough to look at, but may be one of the most effective ways of proving just how hurt you were.
- Keep an injury journal. An injury journal is a great way to keep a record of your physical and mental limitations that result from your injury. Write daily, if you can, and record as many details as possible. Include information about the level of your pain and how your injuries prevent you from doing certain activities.
- Keep receipts. Your injuries will likely result in a number of expenses, from large hospital bills to smaller costs, such as a special pillow that you can use to support your back at home. Whatever you spend, keep receipts. You can submit these to the insurance company at a later date.
- Ask close friends and family to participate, too. Those who may best be able to attest to your injuries and your limitations are close friends and family members. Ask if they wouldn’t mind keeping a journal about your recovery, too.
What to Do If You Are Offered a Settlement
Once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement and the value of your losses has been calculated, you can submit a demand letter to the insurance company requesting compensation. In return, the insurance company may offer you a settlement.
While you may be tempted to accept this settlement offer, do not do so without speaking to an attorney first. First settlement offers are typically lowball figures, as insurance companies are hoping to get away with giving claimants as little as possible. You have the right to negotiate your settlement. Exercise that right with the help of a skilled car accident lawyer.
Why You Need a Skilled Houston Car Accident Attorney
Understanding the car accident claims process and the various tactics that insurance adjusters may use to offer you less than your claim is worth can be both complicated and frustrating. Rather than focusing your energy on your car accident claim, you should be putting your attention toward healing. When you work with a skilled attorney, your attorney can handle all elements of your claim, from gathering evidence to calculating damages to negotiating your claim and more.
At the office of The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, Houston car accident lawyer Andrew Seerden is passionate about representing car accident victims. He is experienced and board-certified in personal injury trial law.
Call The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule your free case consultation and get started on protecting your future.