How to Navigate the Aftermath of a Car Accident | Daly & Black, P.C.

How to Navigate the Aftermath of a Car Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by another driver in Texas, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your accident-related expenses. In most cases, this compensation will come from the insurance company representing the at-fault driver.

While this might sound straightforward, dealing with insurance companies after an accident in Texas can be very complicated. That’s why it’s critical to understand how the insurance system works and what your rights are in Texas. Without this knowledge, you might not get the compensation you rightfully deserve.

How Does Car Insurance Work in Texas?

In Texas, all drivers are required to have car insurance, which must meet certain minimum coverage amounts set by the state:

  • $30,000 per person for injury-related expenses
  • $60,000 for two or more people for injury-related expenses
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

Additionally, Texas law requires insurance companies to offer personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. If you opt out of PIP or UM/UIM insurance, you must decline in writing.

Drivers who do not have car insurance can face fines starting from $175 to $350 for a first offense, with subsequent fines up to $1,000.

Types of Insurance Available in Texas

Beyond the mandatory liability coverage, Texas drivers can choose from several additional types of car insurance:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Covers medical expenses and 80% of lost wages, regardless of fault.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM): Compensates for accidents caused by drivers without sufficient insurance.
  • Collision Insurance: Pays for repairs or replacement of your vehicle if damaged in an accident.
  • Comprehensive Insurance: Covers damage to your vehicle from non-collision incidents like theft or weather.
  • Medical Payments Coverage: Covers medical expenses regardless of fault.
  • Towing and Labor Insurance: Covers towing and roadside maintenance costs.
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance: Pays for a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired.

Texas Is an ‘At-Fault’ State – What Does That Mean?

Texas follows an “at-fault” insurance system. This means the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating injury victims for their accident-related expenses. Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays these costs up to the policy limits. Injury victims usually file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive compensation.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

The Texas Department of Insurance recommends taking the following steps if you are involved in a car accident:

  1. Contact the police if there are injuries or significant property damage.
  2. Exchange information with the other driver, including names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and driver’s license numbers.
  3. Get the investigating officer’s information, including name, badge number, and contact details.
  4. Notify your insurance company about the accident.
  5. Obtain a copy of the official accident report and send it to your insurance company.
  6. Seek immediate medical attention and follow your doctor’s advice.
  7. Keep records of all accident-related bills and expenses.
  8. Contact an experienced car accident attorney.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

When dealing with insurance companies, remember:

  • Notify your own insurance company about the accident.
  • Be cautious about what you say and refer further questions to your attorney.
  • If the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you, do not answer their questions or provide information without consulting your lawyer.

Should You Accept a Settlement Offer?

After filing a claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company has 15 days to respond. While you might be tempted to accept the first settlement offer, it’s often far less than what you deserve. Always review any settlement offer with your attorney before accepting it.

What if the Insurance Company Acts in Bad Faith?

If an insurance company refuses to honor a legal agreement or handle your claim properly, this is known as acting in bad faith. Examples include refusing to negotiate in good faith, denying a claim without a valid reason, or delaying claim processing. If you believe an insurance company is acting in bad faith, you should file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance and consult with an attorney.

How Can Daly & Black, P.C. Help?

At Daly & Black, P.C., our experienced car accident attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of injury victims in Texas. We understand the complexities of state and federal laws regarding car accidents and insurance claims. Our team can:

  • Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Review and negotiate settlement offers
  • Take legal action if necessary to ensure you receive fair compensation

Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. Contact Daly & Black, P.C. today to discuss your case and learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.