If You’re Injured in an Car or Truck Accident, Please Talk to an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney!
If you’re injured in an auto accident, don’t wait to talk with an attorney experienced in handling auto accident and personal injury cases. Call Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick at 800-929-1725 before you make statements to the other driver’s insurance company about your injuries or the accident. Claims adjusters often try to talk with people injured in an accident before they’ve been fully evaluated by a physician, hoping to obtain statements that minimize the extent of of any injuries. We advise our clients to talk with us first — Attorney Philip Hundl explains why in responding to this question.
Question: I was in an auto accident about a year ago. I suffered minor injuries. It was not my fault and the other driver had insurance. I contacted the other driver’s insurance company to get reimbursed for my property damage, medical bills and personal injuries. The insurance company reimbursed me for the damage to my car right away but they have given me the “run around” on reimbursing me for my medical bills and personal injuries. What do I do now?
Attorney Philip Hundl’s response. What you have just described is a common approach some insurance companies take when handling personal injuries claims by injured drivers like yourself. First, don’t wait too long. As with all potential claims you may have against another party, there is a statute of limitations, or deadline in which you must file a lawsuit in a court of law before you are barred from ever bringing that lawsuit in the future. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Texas is two years from the date of the incident or in this case the auto accident, and in some states the statute of limitations is only one year.
I typically suggest that my clients handle the reimbursement for property damage or damage to their cars directly with the insurance company to save on attorney’s fees. Insurance companies are fairly straightforward on paying out property damages claims. You will need to take photos of the vehicle before it is repaired, get several estimates for the repairs, present those estimates to the insurance company and allow an adjustor to inspect and assess the damage. Also, I would suggest gathering the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident, so there is no question about whose fault the accident was.
However, regarding your personal injuries, I strongly suggest you hire an attorney. In the meantime, refrain from making any statements either written or verbal to the responsible party’s insurance company and its claims adjustors regarding the accident and your injuries. Claims adjustors often seek to obtain statements from injured parties regarding their injuries prematurely before those injured have time to get fully evaluated by a physician. If you make statements about your injuries or pain before you see a physician and undergo a thorough examination, you may misstate the extent and severity of your injuries and pain.
When a client of mine is involved in an accident, I always instruct him or her to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Once they have obtained that initial medical treatment, any additional medical treatment will depend on the recommendations of their treating physicians. After all medical treatment, rehabilitation and/or physical therapy is completed, then an appropriate and fair reimbursement for the personal injury claim can be prepared and submitted to the insurance company for settlement of any personal injuries due to the fault of the other party all of which is normally completed well within the statute of limitations deadline. If a client’s injuries are severe or rehabilitation is lengthy and is expected to extend longer than two years, I make sure a lawsuit for personal injuries related to the accident is filed in the proper court and venue well before the two-year deadline.
Philip J. Hundl is a shareholder at the law firm of Wadler, Perches & Hundl in Wharton, Texas. The information in this column is not intended as legal advice but to provide a general understanding of the law. Readers with legal problems, including those whose questions are addressed here, should consult attorneys for advice on their particular circumstances.