Dealing with Insurance Companies in a Texas Personal Injury Case
This is the next post in our series on the personal injury process in Texas. Our last post discussed the importance of understanding your statute of limitations and stressed the need to immediately consult with an attorney after suffering an injury. In this post we will discuss the process of dealing with insurance adjusters after an accident. This is an important topic due to the fact that an injured party can pay less in legal fees if their case is handled properly with an adjuster and settled before a lawsuit is filed.
Texas injury victims should consult with an attorney prior to discussing the case with an insurance adjuster
In personal injury cases that involve insurance coverage, the injured party will often be contacted by the responsible party’s insurance company within a short time after the incident. One of the first things an injured party is usually asked to do is to provide a recorded statement. These statements stay in the claim file for the life of the claim and are often used against you in ways you may not anticipate at the time of the recording. Insurance adjusters are often well trained and will encourage the victim to agree to a quick settlement before they have time to contact an attorney. Sometimes the adjuster will even tell the victim not to contact an attorney. It is important to remember that these adjusters work for the insurance company and have interests adverse to you as the injured party. Insurance companies are profit-motivated corporations and make money by collecting premiums, not by paying claims. If an insurance adjuster senses that the company has major exposure due to clear liability or other factors, the company will be even more motivated to quickly settle your case for a cheap amount. The insurance adjusters often have supervisors and management pressuring them to pay as little as possible on claims.
Retaining an attorney immediately after suffering an injury is very helpful when it comes to dealing with insurance companies. This is because the attorney will speak to the insurance company on your behalf and relieve you from the stress of dealing with someone that has adverse interests. In addition, after suffering an injury, a victim should be able to focus on getting back to 100% and not have to worry about navigating through the insurance claim process. We let the insurance company know not to contact you under any circumstances and to direct all communications to our office. Retaining counsel also lets the insurance company know that litigation may commence if the claim process is not handled fairly. Injury victims that retain counsel will receive offers that are much more reasonable than an injured party going through the claims process on their own.
When selecting a personal injury attorney it is important that you select a firm which handles major injury cases and in which the lawyers have substantial experience. You should also determine whether the attorneys are board certified and whether the firm employs a full time investigator. Finally, you should determine whether the firm is large enough to advance court costs and whether the office can devote multiple attorneys to your case. This is true whether you were injured in counties including Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Wise as well as Fort Worth, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Arlington, Keller, Grand Prairie, and Dallas.
Texas residents should not deal directly with insurance adjusters in cases involving catastrophic loss
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be even more complicated in cases involving catastrophic loss. Catastrophic loss cases often involve multiple surgeries, a long recovery process, and extensive investigation before a reasonable settlement can be calculated. These cases can also require expert reports and evaluations of future costs in order to determine economic damages. Given the complexity of large-scale cases, a victim should seek legal representation immediately before speaking with any insurance companies.