Texas Claims Process 101
Our step by step guide to the Texas auto crash claims process can help you prepare for a personal injury claim. Follow these steps to ensure you are on track for a successful recovery.
Contact emergency personnel and police. Your first step before you get out of your car should be to call for help, especially if you have sustained any type of injury and to help with documenting the scene of the crash and speaking with witnesses. If you submit a claim, you will need to have a police report. Calling the police should be the first step.
Obtain insurance information. After making the call to the first responders, it’s time to make contact with the other party involved in the crash and exchange insurance information. Do not apologize or in any way accept fault with the other party. Do not state that you feel OK. Beyond being courteous in exchanging insurance information with the other party, say nothing. Obtain insurance information and then wait for the police to arrive at the scene.
Document the scene. Download and use our accident guide. Sketch the accident scene. Take photos of your vehicle, the other party’s vehicle and the entire scene of the crash. Note the location of damage to both vehicles. Identify occupants of all vehicles involved.
Identify witnesses. The police can help you with talking to witnesses and interviewing individuals who may have seen the crash.
If injury sustained, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you have obvious injuries from your crash, seek medical treatment right away. However, if it has been a few days and you notice you are in pain, don’t let the delay keep you from seeking help. It may initially be difficult to know if you’ve suffered from an injury as common back and neck injuries resulting from car wrecks sometimes aren’t immediately apparent. Crash victims may be so in shock that they don’t experience pain until after leaving the scene of the crash. Sometimes they let this delay stand in the way of seeking medical treatment because they are afraid the insurance company won’t pay for treatment. Know that it’s not uncommon for victims to start hurting hours or days after the injury-causing event. Let your legal team know that you waited a day or two to seek treatment. It is our job to handle any objections that may arise from the insurance company. It is your job to get better.
Contact the insurance company to submit your claim. Most individuals contact the responding insurance company to submit their claim within a day or two of the crash. Contact the responsible party’s insurance company as soon as is practical for you. However, be aware that even if you believe in your heart of hearts that the other driver was at fault, the insurance company must conduct its own investigation. So, when speaking with the claims adjuster, be very factual about what happened. Stick to the facts about what happened, and don’t get emotional.
Mitigate damages and costs incurred. We’ve shared previously about your responsibility to mitigate damages in the event of injury and vehicle damages. Failing to take reasonable care to reduce your damages will result in the insurance company refusing to cover certain costs. You are responsible for seeking medical treatment, ensuring your car is not incurring exorbitant storage fees, etc. If your vehicle is not drivable and is towed, you are responsible for moving the vehicle from a storage facility to a reputable body shop. If your vehicle IS drivable, ensure that driving the vehicle will not cause additional vehicle damage. Your best bet is to take it to a reputable body shop.
Follow the recommendations of your medical providers until treatment is complete. Failing to complete your medical treatment or neglecting your own health during the course of your personal injury case.
Communicate with your legal team. Sometimes claimants have past injuries that they worry will be used to claim the current injury isn’t severe. Your Dallas personal injury legal team will set you up for success by explaining past injuries and differentiating them from new injuries. However, we can’t do that if you aren’t honest with us. Simply put, the more transparent you are with us, the better. It is our job to represent you to the best of our ability, but it’s difficult for us to do that when we don’t hear from you.
Stay off social media. Insurance companies will conduct their own investigation into the crash to determine liability and protect their financial interests. We recommend maintaining a quiet social media presence until the conclusion of your case. Extensively posting about your activities on social media may be used to imply that you have exaggerated your injuries, pain and suffering. If you are indeed suffering extensively, even an innocuous post about gathering with family and friends to celebrate a holiday could be used against you. It’s best to stay quiet until your case is settled.
Have reasonable expectations. Much of what individuals believe about personal injury case law comes from media, so it’s not uncommon for claimants to believe that their injuries are severe enough to garner a multi-million dollar settlement. These large settlements are less common and only result from the most severe injury cases. Having reasonable expectations will help your case progress more smoothly.
Listen to your expert Dallas personal injury team. We will tell you when it’s time to settle and will keep you informed as your case moves forward. At any time you need help, you can call us for advice and a listening ear.