It’s important to understand that insurance companies are not on your side after a car accident, especially if they represent the other driver. Insurance companies are concerned with their bottom line, and they want to pay as little as possible. If an insurance company is offering to send you a check, they likely believe this to be the best tactic to save money on your claim. This can mean that you are entitled to additional money that they do not want you to receive.
What Happens When You Accept a Settlement Check?
In some instances, the other driver involved in a car accident may suggest not calling the police or attempting to settle the cost of the damages at the scene. It’s imperative to always get a formal police report on file. It could become valuable evidence if you decide to file a lawsuit. These are a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t accept a settlement check from the other driver or their insurer:
- There is the possibility that a driver is offering to write a check because they feel guilty or are to blame for the accident. It could be that the driver may not have auto insurance as required by law. They could also be driving without a valid driver’s license or aren’t driving their own car. In some cases, the at-fault party may be drunk driving or have illegal drugs in the vehicle.
- The other driver in an accident has no way of knowing what your vehicle repair costs will be or the overall cost of your medical bills or lost wages.
- You have no guarantee that the check written by the other driver will not bounce, which would leave you with significant expenses and could hurt your case should it go to trial.
Steps to Follow After a Texas Car Accident
When you get into a car accident in Texas, there are important steps to take. Being involved in a car accident is one of the most traumatic experiences that can happen to someone, so it’s important to be educated about what to do when a crash does happen.
- Don’t Leave the Scene
If you’re involved in a car accident, Texas law requires you to stay at the scene of the crash if there are damages to the vehicles, or if the accident caused a person involved to suffer injuries.
- Get Yourself to a Safe Location
If your vehicle is in a dangerous location that may cause injury to you or others on the road, it is important to get out of the way by moving the vehicle to a safe spot.
- Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Texas law requires that motorists exchange information while at the crash scene. Do not rely on the police to obtain these details.
- Call the Police
The other driver or drivers involved may try to persuade you from calling for emergency assistance by mentioning how their insurance rate will increase or that there is a lack of structural damage to the cars. However, it is essential to call the police who will file a Texas Crash Report that includes the contact information of the drivers involved, along with their insurance company and policy number.
- Seek Medical Care Immediately
Don’t wait to see a doctor following a car accident. Medical records associated with your claim help establish your right to compensation by showing the extent of your injuries.
- Preserve Any Evidence of the Accident
Keep notes about what happened before, during, and after the car accident. Try to write down important details such as the position of the vehicles involved, along with evidence such as tire tread marks, broken glass, and deployed airbags. If you can do so, taking a video of the scene is a good idea. This can be important if someone involved in the accident is impaired or intoxicated.
- Call Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company of the car accident and make sure to tell the claims handler or adjuster whether you were injured in the accident, even if your pain level is mild at the time. Do not speak to the other party’s insurance without first speaking with a car accident lawyer.
- Get a Copy of the Accident Report
Don’t forget to get a copy of the accident report. The police officer who arrived at the scene of the accident will complete a report that includes the information needed to process your insurance claim.
- Contact a Board-Certified Personal Injury Attorney
Following a car accident, do not admit fault, apologize for the accident, or make any kind of admission about the incident before you speak to an experienced car accident attorney. Once you do share your side of the story with one of our Texas personal injury lawyers, they can help you determine whether any actions or statements made were or were not appropriate while speaking with law enforcement.
- Document Everything
Car accident claims and lawsuits are determined by facts and evidence. That is why it is important to capture the details of what happened in some form of a journal. You should keep a copy of all medical bills and records, especially if you sought treatment because of the crash.
Losses That Can Be Overlooked in Early Settlements
Emotional damages are common after a serious car accident. Examples of emotional damage include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, restlessness, sleep deprivation, anger and irritability. These injuries can often be overlooked by medical providers and injured parties during treatment.
As you receive medical treatment for your physical injuries, your doctors compile notes that contain a summary of their evaluations, assessments, treatment options, and prognosis. A car accident attorney can use these notes to prove the extent of your injuries and damages caused by the collision.
Loss of Earning Capacity & Future Medical Expenses
Loss of earning capacity is based on the premise that the injuries sustained result in a loss of the ability to earn income at the level someone could earn prior to the injuries caused by the accident.
Loss of Wages
It is crucial for your insurance claim that if you are unable to work due to injury, you request updated medical records from your attending physician and maintain contact with your employer.
If you’re injured, you should wait until your doctor can tell you the full extent of your injuries before you settle a claim. Some questions to consider:
- Can you return to work?
- Will you need lifelong medical care?
- Will you need medication for the rest of your life?
- Do you need mental or emotional counseling?
- Will you lose wages because of your recovery?
- Do you need special equipment for the rest of your life?
Call Parker Law Firm Today
The Texas personal injury lawyers at the Parker Law Firm represent those who have suffered property losses and injuries in car accidents. We have extensive experience in negotiating with insurance companies and in protecting drivers from insurance company practices that seek to minimize an injured driver’s compensation.