Do I Call My Insurance Company if an Accident is Not My Fault?
After a car accident, victims can take important actions to secure compensation for the expenses and impacts they often incur. These steps include notifying the insurance companies involved. The more quickly you and your family or friends can take action after the accident, the better you can protect your financial, medical, and legal rights.
In filing an insurance claim, document everything. Documentation is pertinent in an accident case, right from the seconds after an accident through the time of settlement or a jury trial, to help establish both liability and cause of your injuries. Read on for more information about how insurance claims after a car accident work—and how a car accident lawyer can perform those complicated tasks for you.
Texas Insurance: An “Add-On” State
Technically, Texas is a tort state, which means that the insurance for the driver at fault for an accident covers your damages. However, you also have the option to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover yourself if you cause an accident.
What Does PIP Cover?
PIP insurance covers medical bills resulting from the accident for you and your passengers, including emergency transport. It also can cover lost wages and some other costs. When you purchase an insurance policy in Texas, you must be offered PIP coverage. If you do not want PIP, you must sign a waiver to decline coverage.
What Does Car Insurance in Texas Cover?
Most policies cover you, your family, and people who drive your vehicle with permission in the event of an accident. A policy might also cover you if you are in an accident with a rental vehicle. If you borrow a vehicle and get into a wreck, the vehicle owner’s insurance covers damages. However, if the vehicle owner does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance, your insurance may need to cover damages.
What Kind of Injuries Could I Sustain in a Car Accident?
The injuries you might sustain in a car accident depend on several things, including speed, the angle at which the vehicles collide, how many vehicles are involved, and the size and weight of the vehicle that hits you. The worst-looking wrecks might only result in minor injuries, while something that looks like a fender-bender could result in major injuries.
Physical injuries could include:
- Bumps, bruises, scratches, cuts, and scrapes
- Road rash
- Sprains and strains
- Pulled muscles, torn muscles, and/or other soft tissue injuries
- Face and eye injuries
- Simple and/or compound fractures
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Chemical and/or thermal burns
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Amputation, whether at the accident scene or after the accident
Some who do not suffer significant physical injury may still suffer from psychological issues after a traumatic accident. A car accident could cause post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.
Recovering Damages After a Car Wreck
You can recover damages in three primary ways after a wreck. First, your attorney will contact the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver’s policy does not cover all of your damages, or if the other driver does not have enough insurance, you can sue the other driver. You can also collect from your own insurance policy if you have PIP insurance or some other comprehensive coverage.
If a party other than the other driver contributed fault to the wreck, you can also collect damages from them. For example, a truck driver sideswipes you because the front axle of his truck malfunctions and causes the truck to veer into you. You might recover damages from the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or a third-party auto technician who installed the defective axle.
Most accident victims can recover compensatory damages, and some might recover punitive damages. The court orders compensatory damages—specifically, in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages—in an attempt to make the victim whole again.
Economic damages may include:
Past and future medical expenses, including psychological and/or cognitive, occupational, and physical therapy
Past and future lost wages, including partial future lost wages if you can work after the accident, but your injuries and disabilities prevent you from earning at the same capacity as before the wreck
Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property
Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses, to compensate the family of a victim who died in an accident
Non-Economic damages include:
Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
Loss of quality of life
Loss of consortium
Loss of companionship
Loss of use of a body part or bodily function
Amputation of a digit or limb
Inconvenience, if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, and home maintenance and repair
Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement
A court only orders the defendant to pay punitive damages if it decides it is necessary, beyond compensating you for your losses, to punish the defendant. To award punitive damages, the court must find that the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional. Normally state statute dictates when punitive damages are appropriate.
Contact a Texas Car Accident Lawyer at George Salinas Injury Lawyers
Figuring out how to recover compensation after a car accident can be confusing, at a time when you should be focusing on your medical recovery. But an attorney can help. An attorney can take over filing claims with available insurance resources and can work through the process and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Some victims find that if they attempt to deal with insurance companies themselves, including their own, they jeopardize receiving the compensation they deserve.
Since insurance companies are in business to make money, they typically try to find ways to deny your claim or find a reason to offer you a pittance. An experienced car accident attorney like George Salinas Injury Lawyers will know the pitfalls to avoid and can represent you in filing a lawsuit in court if the insurance companies refuse to settle fairly with you.
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