Car Accident Protection
Car Accident Protection
Let’s face it: an auto accident is a huge hassle. Along with your injuries, you will be forced to either repair or replace your vehicle, potentially be without your vehicle while it is being repaired, and be forced to deal with the insurance company to finance all of this. A car accident can inflict substantial suffering but so can navigating the claims process after a wreck. But all is not lost. There are a number of protections you, as the owner of the damaged vehicle, are entitled to in the car accident claims process. You may be able to recover damages from the person responsible for the accident or receive payments from your insurance company to cover the costs of repair or replacement. The Hadi Law Firm has helped clients from all over Texas use the protections the law allows them to get their life back on track. Let’s take a look at some of these protections for the owner of the vehicle in relation to dealing with vehicle repair, claim denial, insurance premiums and insurance companies.
In Texas, if another person causes the auto accident, there are a couple of different ways for you to recover the property damage loss:
- You can recover the difference in the fair market value of the car before and after the accident.
- You can recover the reasonable cost of repairing the vehicle, if it is economically feasible to do so.
- You can choose to pay for the repairs through your own insurance company.
Most people in this situation choose to have their vehicle repaired by the wrongdoer’s insurance company. If you choose this option, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- You have the right to choose any shop for the repairs of that vehicle. The insurance company is not allowed to dictate to you where you take your vehicle to be repaired.
- You have the right to choose the type of parts to be used in the repair. However, the insurance company only has to pay a reasonable amount for the repairs and the vehicle parts.
On some occasions, it is best for the vehicle owner to use their own insurance to make vehicle repairs when they have purchased full coverage. If you choose to go through your own insurance, you will have to pay a deductible for the repairs. Then your insurance company will be responsible for getting reimbursed for the repairs from the negligent driver’s insurance company, and for getting your deductible back to you. The technical term for this process is called subrogation.
There are a number of pitfalls a claimant can encounter when dealing with auto insurance companies. In some cases, an insurance company can outright deny your claim—leaving you with high medical bills, lost income, and financial hardships. Here are the top five reasons an insurance company might affect your rights to fair compensation:
- Coverage Lapses
Since Texas requires that drivers carry uninsured motorist protection on their policies, an attorney can help with filing claims with your own insurance company when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance.
- Information Delays
Working with an attorney can help you avoid the pitfalls associated with complicated insurance procedures and ensure that all the information is provided to adjusters in a timely manner. A Personal Injury Trial Law firm can take a significant amount of pressure off victims so that they can focus on their recovery.
- Liability Disputes
If an insurance company can demonstrate doubt over who is at fault for an accident, they will most likely deny a claim. This scenario is another reason why consulting with a Personal Injury Trial Law attorney before communicating with an insurance company is beneficial.
- Inadequate Settlements
Accepting an inadequate settlement can affect your financial livelihood and your recovery. Experienced Personal Injury Trial Law attorneys are well-versed in what constitutes a fair settlement and can help anticipate costs that a victim might not consider.
- Pre-Existing Conditions
There are a few ways that injured parties can avoid the pitfalls of denied claims associated with pre-existing conditions. First, victims should know that they have rights to compensation if a car accident aggravated an existing condition. Second, general medical authorizations that give adjusters unfettered access to medical records should not be signed.
Car accidents can have long-term repercussions on your life for years after the crash itself, whether they’re medical, emotional, psychological, or financial.
An accident can result in financial repercussions whether or not it caused any injuries. For example, dealing with insurance companies and trying to navigate your car insurance premium after a car accident can be an uncertain situation.
One of the questions we get all the time is, “What happens if the car accident wasn’t my fault? Will my premium still go up?”
We’ve got the answers for you. Insurance companies have a category for “chargeable accidents,” which can lead to a considerable insurance rate increase. This category generally refers to an accident where you were more than 50% at fault, and that caused one of the following:
- Damage to property, like another car or someone’s fence
- Bodily injury or death
On the other hand, there are also accidents where you cannot be charged. Here are some examples of non-chargeable accidents:
- Your car was legally parked when it was damaged.
- Your car was struck in a hit-and-run accident.
- The driver of another vehicle was convicted of a moving traffic violation associated with the accident, but you were not convicted of a moving traffic violation.
- The accident was caused by a collision with an animal or fowl.
- The damage was caused by falling objects or flying gravel.
So the amount that your premium will increase, or if it will increase at all, will vary depending on your insurance company’s policies.
There are several different insurance companies to choose from, and within each of those companies, several different plans. As a result, there isn’t an easy answer for what and how much an accident that was not your fault will have on your car insurance premium.
On average, a not-at-fault accident makes insurance costs go up by about 12%, compared to 45% for an at-fault accident. But there are a few variables that might make those numbers change:
- The number of prior accidents and your driving history
- Policy details– for example, your car insurance policy might include accident forgiveness, which means your insurer won’t raise your rates after an accident
- The severity of the accident and the cost of the claim
Once your insurance company takes all of these questions into account, they’ll decide whether to issue a surcharge. A surcharge is the actual insurance increase you can get after an accident. Since your insurer can’t start surcharging you in the middle of the policy period, you’ll find out whether you’re getting a surcharge at renewal time.
A silver lining is if your car insurance does increase, you usually have several months’ notice beforehand. Unfortunately, these can last for three to five years, given your insurance company and policy. In some cases, the surcharge could decrease each year you drive without an accident, but there’s no guarantee that your insurer will allow a yearly decrease.
We hope this information helps you in your quest to find a qualified Personal Injury Trial Law lawyer for the process of repairing or replacing your vehicle after an accident in Texas.