Houston Car Accident Lawyers
If you drive in Texas, you're required to show proof that you can pay for any accidents that you cause. Drivers typically do this by buying auto insurance from many well-known insurers such as Allstate, GEICO, State Farm and USAA.
Many drivers pay their monthly auto premiums year after year without ever having to make a claim. However, when an accident does happen, you expect and demand your auto insurer to provide the protection you paid for. It's supposed to be a simple deal, right? You pay your premiums on time and the insurance company pays for the property damage and bodily injuries sustained in an accident. But, that's not always the case. Insurance companies are willing take your premiums with a friendly smile but will try to fight you when it's time to ask them to live up to their end of the bargain.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. To do this, they hire and train insurance adjusters to look for ways to limit or completely deny your claim. The following are some of the common reasons auto insurance companies may limit or deny your property damage and/or injury claim:
You are partly or completely responsible for causing the accident:
In Texas, if it's determined you're more than fifty percent responsible for an auto accident, you recover nothing. Anything below fifty percent of responsibility, your damages will be reduced in proportion to your fault. For example, if you're determined to be forty percent at fault, your total financial recovery will be reduced by the forty percent. An insurance adjuster will try to assess your percentage of responsibility in determining whether to give you a low-ball offer or outright deny your claim.
Additional factors can also affect your claim such as failing to timely report the accident, driving drunk at the time of the accident or letting an unlicensed driver operate your car, among many others. The insurance company will use any fact against you so that your claim can be diminished or eliminated.
Your injuries are not proportionate to the property damage:
Insurance companies frequently low-ball or deny personal injury claims based on the degree of property damage to the automobile. Insurance companies take the unreasonable position that for someone to be injured, the property damage has to be more than a “fender bender.” This position typically ignores the simple concept that each person and each accident is unique. Medical research shows there is no correlation between the severity of the property damage and the severity of physical injury in car accidents. Insurance companies will ignore the medical research and make you fight for the insurance protection that premiums are supposed to pay for.
You didn't immediately complain of injuries:
Car accidents are traumatic and involve a lot of force. This is true even for a fender-bender-type accident. Following a car accident, particularly in a minor accident, many people will not immediately notice symptoms right away because your body is responding to the event by producing a heightened level of adrenaline and endorphins. Often these internal body chemicals will create increased energy while masking pain. This phenomenon is often seen with athletes after they are injured in a game. The injured athlete will not feel pain until after the game.
Following a car accident, the onset of pain may be delayed hours or even days after the accident. In many cases, pain may manifest in different parts of the body hours after you left the emergency room or urgent care center. Emergency room doctors know this; that's why they always tell a patient upon discharge to return to the emergency room or follow-up with a primary care physician. If there's a delay in reporting pain or a delay in receiving medical treatment, insurance companies will argue the injuries aren't related to the accident. In some cases, insurance companies may even argue the injuries are exaggerated or even fabricated. They'll use this against you to low-ball or deny your claim.
You have a pre-existing condition:
A pre-existing condition is a health problem you had before an accident. Common examples, among others, include a knee or back that occasionally flares up and cause issues. Under Texas law, you cannot recover for pre-existing conditions following a car accident. Insurance companies will use the pre-existing condition against you to minimize or deny your claim. However, if the car accident made your condition worse than it otherwise would have been, you have a valid claim under Texas law. To understand this concept, take for example a cracked windshield. The windshield is damaged, but it still serves its intended purpose and works. It doesn't have to be replaced. However, if someone throws a rock through that windshield, the otherwise functioning windshield has to be replaced. This is the same for a pre-existing condition. It's important to find an experienced auto accident lawyer to show the insurance company that your pre-existing condition (cracked windshield) was made worse (broken windshield) by the accident.
What Should I Do If The Insurance Company Is Low-Balling or Denying My Auto Accident Claim?
Insurance companies are sophisticated and employ well-trained people to save the company money. They'll make you fight before having to pay full value for a claim following a car accident. Contact the Houston Car Accident Attorneys at Hernandez Redden Sunosky, LLP. Our attorneys include ex-insurance company lawyers who know the tricks and tactics insurance company use to minimize or deny auto accident claims. The insurance companies taught us, but now we are using that knowledge against them. Call us at (713) 981-4100 for a free case evaluation. We will help you understand your legal options and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
We work only on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront fees for our services. You only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your case.