You’re waiting at a red light on Bissonet and Sam Houston Parkway when you feel a violent impact from behind and realize you’ve been the victim of a rear-end collision. Shaky, you pull off the road and wait for the other driver. He looks worried and begs you not to go through insurance. “It will just increase both our premiums, and it’s a hassle. My cousin can fix your car for cheap. C’mon, help me out.”
Not going through insurance is a dangerous move, one that could leave you holding the bill for thousands of dollars—all to be paid out of your own pocket. The Houston car accident lawyers with The Krist Law Firm, P.C., can assist you with any insurance issues.
Please call 281-283-8500 to set up a free consultation today.
Why Would a Driver Suggest Not Going Through Insurance?
There are several reasons why a driver wouldn’t want to go through insurance, and none of them are good for you:
- They have no insurance. By Texas law, drivers must pay for the accidents they cause, and most do this by having insurance coverage. If they don’t, they leave themselves open for a personal injury lawsuit, but they rarely have the assets to cover victims the way an insurance company would.
- They have very little coverage. Texas requires insured drivers to have a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person; $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident; and $25,000 to cover property damage per accident. Serious injuries can cost more than these minimums. For example, a broken leg can cost $35,000 alone if you don’t have health insurance.
- They are driving someone else’s vehicle, possibly without permission. For example, someone could be borrowing their roommate’s car without being named on the policy, or a family member may be excluded for poor driving habits.
- They are habitual bad drivers and don’t want another accident on their record. Drivers who get into a lot of wrecks pay higher premiums and may have points added to their license. In addition, a history of bad driving can look bad if a personal injury claim is filed against them.
- They are impaired. Obviously, a driver who is under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication will not want anyone else to know about the crash or come to the scene to investigate.
What it all boils down to is they don’t want anything to be official. If you agree to a handshake deal, they can later turn around and deny the crash altogether. Don’t take that chance. You pay for insurance coverage, and you should use it.
What You Should Do at the Scene
Take a moment to calm yourself. Is your car obstructing traffic or at risk of being hit again? Pull off to the shoulder where it’s safe. If not, leave your car where it is so the police and insurance company investigators can examine the accident scene.
If you feel any pain or see any visible injuries, call 911 immediately. When emergency services arrive, consent to a full medical examination. If they suggest you go to the hospital via ambulance, it’s a good idea to go. Even if you don’t, visit your primary care physician soon after the crash. Some common injuries don’t show up right away, and it’s good to record them and begin treatment as soon as possible, especially if you have internal damage.
If the other driver committed a hit and run, do not chase them. Try to remember details about the vehicle, and call the police. If the driver stayed at the scene, exchange information with them. When they ask you not to go through insurance, politely refuse and ask for their information. Call the police so they can write an accident report. If you suspect drug, alcohol, fatigue, or distracted driving played a role in the crash, tell the police about your suspicions. Take photos of any insurance cards, driver’s license, and driver/passengers in the vehicle rather than relying on written information. It will also help to take photos of the accident scene and both vehicles as well.
If there are any eyewitnesses, exchange contact information with them. Independent witnesses count for a lot in the insurance company’s eyes, and they also have weight in court, if your case goes to trial.
As Soon as You Can, Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured or inconvenienced by a car crash in Houston, you deserve to have compensation from the at-fault driver. Don’t take their word that they’ll “hook you up” with a mechanic or send you money once you let them know how much everything cost. If that driver is uninsured or underinsured (the Texas DMV estimates that’s about 20 percent of drivers), you may have policies that will cover you—but only if you go through insurance after the accident.
For more information about getting the maximum compensation for your claim, contact our Houston car accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. You may be facing a lengthy recovery, expensive medical bills, lost time at work, vehicle repair costs, and more, but we know what to do. Call 281-283-8500 for a free case evaluation.