– FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below you will find some of the more frequently asked question we receive at our office. If you have a question about your case, you should seek legal advice from a licensed attorney. Please contact our office for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.
Do I have the right to choose where my car is repaired?
In Texas, you may get your car repaired anywhere you wish. However, there are some considerations. Many insurance carriers designate certain repair shops as certified approved shops. This means if the work is estimated and completed at these shops the insurance company will guarantee workmanship. If a shop that is not on the approved list completes the estimate and work, then the insurance company will not guarantee the workmanship.
Do I have the right to a rental car?
In Texas, there is a right to loss of use of vehicle. However, this is only in a situation in which the vehicle is repairable. Loss of use can be claimed for a reasonable time period that the vehicle is being repaired. It is essential that the opposing driver’s insurance company be notified of the location of the vehicle as soon as possible to limit arguments regarding loss of use. If the vehicle is totaled, Texas law does not provide any loss of use. Although, most legitimate insurance carriers will offer 3-5 days loss of use coverage even if the vehicle is totaled, as long as the company has been notified of the location of the vehicle soon after the accident. The rental rate is usually $25-$30 per day. Commercial vehicle loss of use may require a larger size vehicle at greater cost. Most insurance companies will not pay a greater daily rate unless the vehicle damage was for commercial use. If the policy on your car carries rental reimbursement, then any unpaid rental costs will be paid from the rental reimbursement policy with daily rate limits for a maximum 30 days.
What if the police do not come to the scene?
During bad weather the police may not investigate your accident. If no one is injured and all vehicles are drivable, the police dispatch may instruct you to go to the nearest police substation to report the accident to obtain a “blue form” concerning the accident. It is very important that an accident report be made in all cases. If the other driver refuses to follow you to the nearest police substation, at least have all descriptive information on the other driver and the vehicles to give to the police, or to complete the filing of the “blue form”. The filing of this document is critical in terms of hit and run accidents. If you have been involved in a hit and run you must call 911 immediately and report it. An accident report, walk in report, or blue form must be filed for all accidents. Also, remember if possible to take photos of the vehicles and documents to date accident properly.
What if I am involved in a multi-car accident?
The circumstances in these types of cases are similar to other type of auto accident for procedure and necessary information. However, there are some differences, such as the location of your vehicle within the multi-car accident. Also, information regarding the number of impacts, sequence of impacts, and extent of damage rendered by the impacts to each vehicle are important. Often the police officer will not give a ticket in a multi-car accident if it appears all parties are insured. It is essential to locate any witnesses, take photos of all vehicles, and talk to as many drivers as possible. Generally speaking such multi-car accidents take longer to settle in terms of both property damage and bodily injury claims due to the participation of multiple parties.
What about other insurance coverage?
You may have different types of auto insurance coverage. Your policy may have a provision for Med Pay or PIP (personal injury protection). This coverage, depending on your policy, pays towards medical bills and up to 80% of your lost wages to a limit of $2,500 or increments of $2,500, per person per accident. The purpose of this money is to pay for medical bills resulting from injuries you received in an accident. The money will be paid regardless of fault. Please note that all benefits paid on a med pay policy must be returned to your insurance carrier if there is a recovery from the responsible party insurance carrier.
Should I talk to the insurance company?
You should notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. The contact with the other driver’s insurance company should be done through an attorney. Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company unless you have copy of the police report in hand. Never give a statement if you are under treatment and taking certain medications, such as painkillers or muscle relaxers that may affect your memory.
What is the first thing I should do after an accident?
Check to see if anyone is injured. If someone is seriously injured call 911.
Do not call anyone else for the next 10 to 15 minutes on your cell phone. It has been noted in recent cases that cell phone messages left at or near the time of the accident are used by insurance companies to claim cell phone usage as a cause of the accident.
Do not move the vehicles unless traffic is being blocked. It may be necessary to determine the placement of the vehicles after the impact. If your vehicle is blocking traffic and it is safe to do so, move the vehicle a short distance. If it is unsafe, then wait for the police.
Get as much information as possible about the other driver, such as driver’s license number, license tags, insurance policy, and take descriptive notes on the appearance of the vehicle and the driver. Cell phone photos are very helpful.
Determine if there were any witnesses. If there are witnesses to the accident, so try to obtain their personal contact information. Witnesses, at times, have been known to make or break a case.
Take pictures. Cell phone pictures of the vehicles and the surrounding environment help to determine how the accident occurred, vehicle placement, speed limit signs, intersections, skid marks, drivers and passengers etc.
Should I accept transport to a hospital?
If after an impact you feel dizzy, nauseous or have any sharp pains in your body, then seek emergency treatment. If an ambulance is called to the scene of the accident, they will advise you about going to the emergency room at a nearby hospital. Always consult your family physician after the accident if you are suffering any type of pain or discomfort as a result of the accident.
Does the amount of property damage effect the evaluation of the claim?
Extensive property damage generally means a more serious impact and a greater chance of injury. Recent trials in Harris County have indicated that juries usually place a great value on intensity of impact to determine the extent and duration of injuries.
Should I see a chiropractor first?
If you need medical attention ALWAYS go to your family physician first for a physical evaluation. If the healthcare insurance carrier requires a certain procedure on the initial examination, be sure to carefully follow the procedure. If the treatment is not working after two or three days then additional medical attention should be sought.
It should be noted that treatment of soft tissue injuries is the same for the first 15 days is usually the same no matter the type of physician, physical therapist, or chiropractor. After the initial exam has been completed by a your medical doctor, prescribed physical therapy can be completed by a chiropractor or physical therapist.
Can I recover lost wages?
Under Texas law you can recover time lost as a direct result of injuries from the accident. This does not mean recovery of the actual amount of lost money, but rather lost time. In other words, if your employer uses your sick time or vacation time to cover your missed work time, you can still make a recovery for the lost time even though no actual money was lost. However, the treating physician must validate the lost time period.
Should I appear in court if subpoenaed?
If the other driver receives a ticket at the time of accident, you may receive a subpoena to the trial of the other driver. If so, you must attend all court proceedings. It is a violation of Texas law not to appear when summoned, and it may affect the finding of guilt on the other driver. If there is a finding of guilt or pleading of guilt this may assist on the liability issues in your individual case. Always attend court proceedings.
What if the other driver appears to want to leave and not wait for police?
Unfortunately, the number of hit and run accidents continues to increase each year, thus, it is important to get the license plate number of the other vehicle and to write down as much descriptive information as possible about the other vehicle and the driver. If the driver refuses to give you any vehicle information, take as many cell phone pictures as you possibly can and seek a witness if possible. Then just wait for police to arrive. Do not threaten the opposing driver or attempt to physically restrain them. This could be very dangerous.
Have a Question?
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