If you get into a car accident in San Antonio, receiving benefits to pay for your property damage repairs and hospital bills will involve the insurance settlement process. If this is your first time filing a car accident insurance claim, learning what to expect can help you be better prepared. This is especially important if you encounter issues or complications during your claim, such as a car insurance company trying to take advantage of you.
Reporting the Car Accident
The first steps to take are while you are still at the scene of the accident, immediately after the crash takes place. Start by checking yourself and others to see if anyone has been injured. Then, report the car accident to the police by calling 911. Reporting is mandatory if an accident causes injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damage. Request an ambulance, if necessary. Exchange important information with the other driver, such as your names, addresses, car insurance companies and policy numbers. Go to a hospital in San Antonio for prompt medical care. Then, when you’re ready, file your insurance claim.
Filing the Car Insurance Claim
Like most states, Texas uses a fault law to determine who is financially responsible, or liable, for a car accident. With this rule, the insurance company of the driver or person at fault pays for the damage. If you believe that the other driver involved in your car accident is to blame, call his or her car insurance company to file a claim. You can start with an initial report of the accident. Then, you can follow up with an official claim or demand letter. You should also call your own car insurance company to report the accident.
Sending a Demand Letter
The demand letter is a letter that you submit to the at-fault party’s insurance company to pursue a certain amount for your losses. Your demand letter should include a breakdown of your losses, with a dollar amount next to each, and a total amount that you are demanding. Do not forget to include any anticipated future costs associated with the car accident. An attorney can help you draft a strong demand letter for the best odds of success.
Dealing With an Insurance Claims Adjuster
Once you file an insurance claim or send a demand letter, expect a phone call from someone known as the insurance claims adjuster. This is the person who has been assigned to assess your case and make a recommendation to the insurer to accept or reject benefits. It is important to be careful what you say to a claims adjuster, as this person is not on your side and will want to settle your claim for as little money as possible. Don’t admit fault for the accident or give the adjuster a recorded statement from you.
Investigating the Car Accident
The insurance company will investigate the car accident and review the documents that you have submitted to support your claim, such as proof of your losses. The investigation generally takes several days but may take longer for a complicated case. You may receive requests for further information or documentation at this time. If the insurance company doesn’t agree that its policyholder caused your crash, your claim may get rejected. Otherwise, you will receive a notice that the claim has been accepted and will begin settlement negotiations.
Negotiating a Settlement or Going to Trial
Most car accident cases end here, with an insurance settlement agreed upon by both parties to resolve the legal dispute. However, if the insurance company is refusing to offer a fair amount in financial compensation or has rejected the claim, your case may need to proceed to trial. In this case, hire a car accident lawyer in San Antonio to represent you. Your attorney can help you with the court process.
The entire car accident settlement process takes an average of four to six weeks from beginning to end. This timeline can vary, however, depending on the severity of your injuries, how long your crash takes to investigate and other factors. For more information about car accident insurance settlements in Texas, contact The Law Offices of Maloney & Campolo for a free consultation.