Common Misconceptions About
Car Accident Claims in Texas
The world seems rife with incorrect information. Information pertaining to car accident claims in Texas is no exception. Knowing the facts is important if you have been or ever end up in a vehicular crash.
At Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I want people to have the facts. That’s why I work to dispel some common misconceptions about auto accidents. I proudly serve personal injury clients in Houston, South Houston, and Pasadena, Texas.
Let’s look at some of the things many people mistakenly believe about car accident claims:
My own insurance will be responsible for covering medical costs and damage to my car.
If you sustain injuries or damage to your vehicle in an accident that you caused, you will need to file a claim against your own auto insurance policy’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, (or medical payment benefits coverage, if you have it) for medical expenses. You would also file a claim against your collision coverage for damage to your vehicle.
It is important to remember that Texas is an “at-fault” state for auto insurance, so at-fault drivers may be responsible for compensating others for injuries and property damage. Drivers owe others a reasonable duty of care when operating a vehicle. If they breach that duty of care and you sustain injuries as a result of that breach, that driver can be held liable.
I feel okay so I do not need
to seek medical attention.
Some injuries commonly sustained in car accidents are not immediately obvious. Soft tissue injuries, internal injuries, concussions, and hairline fractures, for example, may not be apparent until days or weeks later. In addition, even low-speed accidents can cause minor to serious injuries. You should seek medical treatment at the scene of the crash, or immediately after you leave at either an emergency room, urgent care center, or at your doctor’s office to make sure you receive proper medical treatment and diagnoses.
Insurance companies look for ways to deny claims. One of those ways is when someone is not treated for injuries within hours of a crash. Insurers will argue that either your injuries were not serious enough to warrant treatment, or you injured yourself in some other way and are seeking to blame those injuries on the accident.
To file a claim for personal injury, you must have documentation from medical professionals that ties your injuries to the crash in their diagnosis. If your medical records do not reflect the crash as the cause of injury or aggravation of prior conditions, your injury claim may be denied.
If the accident is minor
it is not necessary to report it.
Texas law requires accidents that result in injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more to be reported to law enforcement for investigation. The officers’ accident report provides documentation of the circumstances of the crash and fault-based on events, driver and witness statements, and other factors. The investigating officer must file the report within 10 days of the accident.
You must also report the accident to your insurance company to pursue a claim. Although different insurance companies have different reporting rules, some require reporting within two days of the incident.
In 2019, one reportable accident occurred in Texas every 56 seconds. It is likely that your accident will require reporting under the law.
I was partially at fault for the accident but that will not affect the damages I can recover.
Texas law also abides by a “modified comparative fault” rule. If you are partially at fault, any recovery you receive from the insurer of the driver at greater fault is reduced by your percentage of fault. The law also specifies that if you are more than 50% at fault, you are not eligible to recover any damages from the other driver’s insurer.
I do not need to hire an attorney
to file a personal injury claim.
You can pursue a personal injury claim on your own, but it is better to hire a personal injury attorney. First, an experienced personal injury attorney knows how to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and document your injuries and other damage.
Second, an experienced attorney knows how insurance companies work and how to negotiate with them in a way that often garners a larger recovery for your damages. This may be your first accident or your third or fourth, but attorneys handle these types of claims on a regular basis.
Reach Out to Me for the Help You Need
At Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I put my experience to work for clients involved with personal injury claims in Houston, South Houston, Pasadena, Clear Lake, Friendswood, League City, Alvin, Dickinson, Bacliff, Kemah, Seabrook, and Santa Fe, Texas. If you have been injured in an auto crash in Texas, get the facts. Call my office to schedule a free consultation.