Negotiating With Liability Insurance Part 2

Negotiating (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3).

First, let me preface by saying that if you have a serious personal injury, or serious amounts of money that you are owed due to the harms, losses, or personal injury, caused by an automobile accident or a personal injury claim, hire a Texas auto accident lawyer immediately to handle your personal injury claim. You need professional help to ensure you don’t mess up your case or get screwed over by unscrupulous insurance company tactics. Believe me, they will take advantage of you as quickly as they possibly can if you let them. They don’t care if you are right or wrong. They don’t care how bad your injury is. They don’t care how “right” you are. If you give them an “out” to get out from paying anything on your case – whether on purpose or accidentally on your part – they will take that “out” and you will be left wondering what happened.

If you have a small case, or one that you insist on handling yourself for some reason, then here are some tips if you run into a road-block with an adjuster handling your personal injury claim:

1) Ask to speak to a supervisor or manager in the liability insurance company’s claims department. Sometimes the auto accident claims adjuster handling your claim might not be the sharpest pencil in the box. They may have just put in their two weeks notice and do not care. They may be filling in for someone who is on vacation and not care. They may have a personality conflict with you – so speaking with someone else might just do the trick. They might be having a bad day/week/month/year due to personal problems. Or, they might be doing just what their management tells them to do . . . only one way to find out – ask to speak to the manager/supervisor and you will find out quickly if this is just a bad liability adjuster, or a bad liability insurance company handling your automobile personal injury case.

2) Make a complaint to the Texas Department of Insurance – If you have tried to submit your claim to the automobile claims adjuster, and then tried going through management, and you still get nowhere on your claim, you can make a complaint to the Texas Department of Insurance. They make a record of all complaints against insurance companies. If it is an issue that they can force the insurance company to act differently on, they might possibly do so (don’t hold your breath, it is a very rare case that they Texas Department of Insurance will force any change – typically in a vast majority of cases, you get a letter back from the Texas Department of Insurance saying there is nothing they can do to resolve the situation – even if there is something they could do – often they just refuse to help). Even if they cannot force the insurance company to treat you fairly in your case, the complaint goes on record – and every complaint helps others in the future to see what insurance companies are good and which are bad, and what the complaints are about.

Here is a link to the complaint form page with the Texas Department of Insurance - http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/consumer/complfrm.html
Be sure and make your complaint each and every time an insurance company treats you unfairly. The problem is that the State of Texas has appointed people who don’t do anything to ruffle feathers with insurance companies right now. But eventually things will change with those in charge at the Texas Department of Insurance – it may be years, but all these things cycle around eventually – and one day there will be a pro-consumer person at the head of the Texas Department of Insurance again. When eventually that happens, a record of complaints will be helpful in determining which insurance companies have been good and which have been bad and in determining what punishment should be doled out to those who deserve punishment, and possibly compensation to those who were hurt by those acts. So be sure to lodge your complaint and be on record for unfair treatment.

3) Be sure to “Gather all witness information”. Your adjuster might not believe what you are saying. An insurance adjuster is suspicious of every personal injury claim, regardless of how legitimate your personal injury claim is. They are trained from the beginning to treat all personal injury claims with a suspicious eye.
a. People who saw accident – eyewitnesses who saw the actual running of the light, or rear ender, etc.
i. Witnesses who saw the wreckage at the scene.
ii. Witnesses who saw how or overheard how people were behaving or what they were saying at the scene of the accident, if any admissions were made, etc.
iii. Police.
iv. Bystanders.
v. Other drivers.
vi. Other people involved in the accident.
vii. Tow truck drivers.
viii. Emergency response personnel from the fire department or ambulance.
ix. 911 operators who took the call – get the tapes – there may have been more than one person who called it in – and what was said on the tapes may help.
b. People who saw anything regarding any part of your personal injury.
i. Bystanders and witnesses.
ii. Police.
iii. Ambulance Personnel.
iv. Fire Department Personnel.
v. Other drivers or passengers involved in the accident (including your own passengers/drivers).
vi. Emergency Room personnel
vii. Personal Physician – for two reasons 1) if he saw you for the injury in question, or 2) to show your history and that you never complained of the current condition before, or if you had a prior condition that was made worse by the accident, then to show how the injury/condition was changed or made worse by the incident.
viii. Lay Witnesses – these are friends, family, coworkers, people you know at church, people you know at school, teachers, bosses. These can be the most important witnesses you have. They can confirm the difference in how you appear and act before and after the accident. This way its not just your word, but you have people to vouch for you. It doesn’t matter if its your mom, dad, sister, best friend, coworker, etc. In fact, if those people won’t vouch for you, that makes your claim suspicious in the eyes of the insurance company and to a juror if your case had to go to trial.
ix. Insurance Adjusters for your insurance company, and for the other driver(s) insurance company.

4) Gather all records (medical bills and records, ambulance and fired department records, police reports, 911 call sheets, towing records, property damage estimates, proof of your lost income, rental car bills or records, proof of anything else out of pocket).

5) Gather all photographs / videos – of the accident scene while the wreckage is still there – if possible, of the accident scene at a later date to show what traffic or conditions are like at the scene, of any part of your body that verifies your personal injury claims (cuts, bruising, etc), of any identifying information on the other vehicle (such as the license plate) in case they need to be tracked down, any other photos or videos that you feel may be helpful in describing what happened to you in the liability / negligence part of you claim, AND in the damages / injury part of your claim.

6) Hire a good lawyer – hire a Texas auto accident lawyer or personal injury attorney that has a history of handling personal injury claims. You may have someone who has helped you with a family law or will situation, but if they don’t do personal injury cases, they will likely miss something that will affect the amount you can recover. Hire a competent lawyer who has a long and successful history of handling automobile personal injury claims both against adjusters in negotiations, and in trial in those cases where negotiations break down for some reason.

Types of Coverage in Automobile Injury Cases:
Automobile Liability Insurance, Uninsured Motorist Insurance, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Medpay Insurance, Property Damage & Collision Coverages for Your Auto

Personal Injury Areas We Help With Are:

Auto Accident and Injury Cases, Personal Injury Cases, 18 Wheeler & Commercial Vehicle Injury Accident Cases, Motorcycle Accident and Injury Cases, Wrongful Death Cases, Pedestrian Injured by Automobile Cases, Slip and Fall & Premises Cases, Workplace & Constructions Injury Cases, Dog Bite Injury Cases, Bicyclers Hit by Automobile Cases .

By Doug Goyen, douggoyen@gmail.com 

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