How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Texas
If you are injured, there may be options for how to get your damages paid for. Most accidents involve some sort of insurance coverage that can pay for your injuries. There may also be opportunities to get your damages paid through a lawsuit. How to file will depend on which system you use.
To file an insurance claim, you typically call the insurance company, tell them what happened, and give them copies of any bills you need paid. To file a lawsuit, the process is a bit more complex but might pay higher damages. For a lawsuit, you file a “complaint” in court detailing what happened, who’s at fault, and what damages you are seeking. Then the case proceeds through the court until it gets to trial.
For help with any injury claims in Texas, call The Queenan Law Firm today. Our Arlington personal injury attorneys provide free case reviews. Call us at (817) 476-1797.
The Process for Filing an Insurance Claim in Texas
When you file an insurance claim, you essentially just notify the insurance company of your need for compensation, they open a file on your claim, and then you work with them to let them know what injuries you need covered. Then, they pay you for any bills you’ve provided them with. However, the reality of the situation is often far more complex.
The beginning of an insurance claim is simple: you identify which insurance company covers the claim and file a claim referencing the correct insurance policy number. The most common type of insurance claim is a car accident claim, where you call the at-fault driver’s insurance company and use their policy number to make a third-party claim against their insurance. Homeowners, business owners, and other property owners also carry insurance for accidents that occur on their property. Similarly, businesses carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover injured workers.
At that point, insurance companies often ask for proof of what happened. These companies are reluctant to take your word for what happened. They may require medical evaluations, photo or video evidence, police reports, and many other pieces of proof before accepting that the accident even happened – let alone accepting that their insurance customer was responsible. Getting past this stage can be difficult and may require the help of a lawyer.
Ultimately, insurance companies will pay only what they owe – maybe less. They’ll require evidence of how much your injuries and property damage cost, such as medical bills, repair bills, pay stubs to show lost income, and more. They may ultimately agree to pay some percentage of these damages, or they may offer a very low settlement. Your attorney may need to negotiate with them to get a proper settlement amount.
The Process for Filing an Injury Lawsuit in Texas
Filing an injury lawsuit can seem more complex overall, but the entire system is governed by a judge, the laws of Texas, and strict processes. This often makes the system much more transparent than the inner workings and internal policies of insurance companies, whose main motive is profit.
When you file an injury lawsuit, you have to know who to file the claim against. The at-fault party’s name and contact info must be included in your initial complaint. This means knowing what individuals or companies injured you. For example, if you were hurt at a store because of an employee’s negligence, you may need to file a complaint that names the individual worker, the store, and the overarching company that owns the specific store.
When filing a case, you must also “serve” the defendant with the paperwork. This means giving them a copy of your complaint so they know there is a lawsuit against them and they have time to respond to it. How to serve a defendant is governed by Tex. R. Civ. P. 21a, but local courts might have their own rules as well.
In your complaint, you need to include all of the information necessary to make out a prima facie case: who is at fault, what they did wrong, why that qualifies for a lawsuit, and what damages you faced. Your Houston personal injury attorney can write this document and provide as much detail and evidence as possible.
This process is difficult to follow without the help of an experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorney, but it is often possible to get additional compensation from this system. While insurance companies pay only what they want to, a court of law can order the at-fault party and their insurance company to pay everything you are owed, whether they want to pay or not.
What to Expect When Filing an Injury Claim in Texas
The first thing to expect when filing an injury claim is a lot of waiting. For both insurance claims and lawsuits, there is a lot of waiting between each step of the process. It takes time for insurance companies and attorneys to process the incoming information in your claim and respond.
The next thing to expect is rejection. Defendants and their insurance companies are not likely to admit that they did something wrong, and they will usually put up a fight. This may even include outright rejecting your claim or denying you any coverage. At that point, you may need an attorney to move forward.
The final thing to expect in nearly every injury claim is a low initial offer. Most insurance companies and defendants will prefer to settle rather than go to trial – and they want to settle quickly. This means that they will usually offer a payment that might seem great at first but will typically pay less than you need. Have your Texas injury attorney review any offers and negotiate for a better settlement that covers your needs.
Call Our Texas Injury Attorneys for Help with Your Claim
Whether you are filing through insurance or through the courts, it is vital to have an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney represent you. Call The Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797 to get started with a free case evaluation.