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Insurance Issues after Your Houston Accident

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When you’ve been involved in a serious accident, a very important, but often overlooked detail is the process of making an insurance claim.

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If you ever have the misfortune of being injured in an accident, one of the first things you should do once your injuries are assessed is to file an insurance claim with your provider or the insurer of the party responsible. However, this may be easier said than done because insurance claims often involve intricate paperwork and details that you may be physically unable to deal with when you’re trying to recover.

You may even encounter unexpected problems, such as learning the insurance company is denying liability, the person who caused your accident doesn’t have sufficient coverage, or your claim is denied when you think liability is clear-cut. In these situations, a Houston personal injury lawyer can help.

We invite you to contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation at 281-283-8500 about your accident and to discuss your options for handling insurance issues and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Insurance Claims Process

Whether you were injured in a car accident in Houston, a 18-wheeler truck accident, or working offshore, you should report the incident to the at-fault party’s insurance company. After a serious accident, you will want to reach out to a skilled injury lawyer very early in the process so that they can assist with any communication with the insurance company. Usually, you will be expected to provide some basic details about your accident and the extent of your injuries. The insurance company will then investigate your claim, which will entail collecting photos, witness statements, and documentation confirming your injuries.

Once this process is completed and your claim is approved, the insurance company will determine a value and make a settlement offer. On the other hand, if your claim is denied or you believe the amount offered is insufficient to meet your needs, you may submit an appeal or seek an appropriate recovery through a personal injury lawsuit.

Before submitting a claim to an insurance company it’s important to understand the details of your own insurance policy and review some of the most common insurance mistakes. It’s not always in your best interest to accept an insurance settlement.

Types of Insurance Claims

Even when you are in the right frame of mind to handle insurance paperwork and conversations with adjusters, the process isn’t always straightforward. You may need to speak with several insurance company representatives and investigators, complete volumes of paperwork, and deal with various companies if there are multiple insurance policies involved. Some of the common types insurance claims and the issues you may face after an accident are discussed below:

FIRST-AND THIRD-PARTY CLAIMS

There are primarily two types of insurance claims, depending on the circumstances of your accident. These are referred to as first- and third-party claims. While a first-party claim is filed with your own provider, a third-party claim is filed against the insurance carrier of a business or another person who is allegedly at fault for the incident that caused your injuries.

To clarify, if you caused a car accident while driving, you should probably file a first-party claim with your auto insurance provider to cover the damages. However, if you were struck by a car or were injured in a slip and fall incident at a grocery store, you should file a third-party claim with the other driver’s provider or with the company’s insurance company.

UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE

When you’re the victim of a car accident, you typically rely on the other person’s insurance to pay for the damage to your car and your medical bills when you’re injured. But what if the driver who caused the crash is uninsured or only has the minimum required amount of car insurance? You may be left having to cover your costs on your own.

In Texas, you can submit a claim to your own vehicle insurance if you opted to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. As its name implies, this type of coverage helps cover your expenses when you are involved in an auto collision with another driver who either is uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance to fully cover your medical bills or other losses.

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WRONGFUL DENIAL OF INSURANCE CLAIMS

It’s an insurance company’s job to make money. Insurance companies typically are for-profit businesses with shareholders who want to earn returns on their investments. That means that an insurance company and its adjusters want to settle your claim for as little money as is possible. Paying out no money on the claim is their ideal resolution.

An insurance company will look for any opportunity to deny your claim. The classic example in the health insurance context is denying coverage for someone’s serious illness because the person forgot to check the box on their insurance application indicating they’re a smoker.

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BAD FAITH INSURANCE CLAIMS

Insurance companies are required to act in good faith, meaning they must have a legitimate reason to deny your claim. But that doesn’t prevent them from looking for any detail, no matter how minor, to avoid compensating you. Sometimes an insurance company will deny a claim without a legitimate reason. When the company knowingly denies a claim without a reason, that’s known as bad faith.

Under Texas law, these actions also are known as unfair settlement practices under Section 541.060 of the Texas Insurance Code. When an insurance company operating in Texas refuses to settle a claim in good faith when its liability is clear, a Houston personal injury lawyers can evaluate your situation and explain your legal options.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

When you encounter unjustified denials, inadequate settlement offers, or other issues with insurance coverage, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain the compensation you deserve. A lawsuit may be filed in federal or Texas courts, depending on the circumstances of your accident or injury and which laws apply. The personal injury lawsuit process in Texas can be complicated, especially if you’ve never encountered the legal system.

The experienced personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can explain how the process works, from the initial investigation to trial, as well as how we can help if you decide to pursue a lawsuit. By working with a skilled legal professional, you can ensure your rights are protected as you move through the difficult aspects of a lawsuit that you may encounter, such as:

Lowball Settlement Offers
Since the goal of an insurance company is to make money, their primary concern will be to settle your claim for the lowest possible amount. The insurer may not have all the relevant information about your injuries or feel they have a good chance of disputing liability. Before you respond to their offer, it is best to consult with a qualified Houston personal injury lawyer to review the situation and what you really deserve.
The Negotiation Process
Insurance companies retain teams of legal professionals dedicated to refuting liability and creating a convoluted back-and -forth procedure. You should have your own advocates working tirelessly on your behalf.
Using Expert Witnesses
When you file a lawsuit, it becomes your responsibility to prove that the accident caused your injuries and that you deserve compensation. By utilizing experts, such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists, whose work and training qualifies them to offer an opinion related to your situation can help persuade the court that you deserve fair compensation. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Houston can discuss whether an expert witness can help your case.
Determining Liability
Even where fault seems obvious, personal injury cases can become very complicated very quickly. When facts become muddled and witnesses start to contradict each other, insurance providers will work to avoid culpability. An experienced lawyer will know what you need to prove, what evidence will need to be gathered, and how a judge or jury may react to your case.
Calculating Potential Damages
There are several factors that go into determining the value of a personal injury case and every situation is unique. Generally, your potential financial recovery will depend on the extent of your injuries, the evidence involved, and the amount of insurance coverage available. A veteran attorney will have a wealth of knowledge in this area to provide a practical estimate for your claim.

Scott C. Krist
Owner & Lead Trial Lawyer

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Having Insurance Issues? Contact a Houston Car Insurance Lawyer Today

When you’re recovering from a catastrophic injury, you may need help handling legal and financial details, and obtaining the documents you need to support your claim. We can help you find the necessary resources to help you obtain accident reports, court information, driving records, property records, and other documents you may need when pursuing compensation for your injuries.

Because we care about your overall well-being, the Houston personal injury attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can also help connect you with medical providers, mental health providers, grief counselors, or other resources that can aid your recovery from a traumatic accident.