Most car accident victims try to handle their claims on their own. While this process should be simple, insurance companies have made it difficult. Most car accident claims are based on negligence and victims must prove each element of negligence before an insurance company will provide proper compensation. In Texas, negligence has the following elements:
- The defendant breached a duty;
- The victim suffered damages; and
- The defendant’s breach of duty caused the victim’s damages.
Below, I have described each element in more detail. If the insurance company is still giving you trouble after following these tips, Give me a Call or Text at (214) 699-6524 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free case evaluation.
1. Defendant’s Breach of Duty
All Texas drivers have a duty to use ordinary care when operating a motor vehicle. When a car accident occurs, a driver normally breaches this duty. However, a victim must be able prove the breach. This is normally done by showing that a driver did one or more of the following actions:
- Failed to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
- Failed to keep a proper lookout
- Traveled at an unreasonable speed
- Failed to make a timely stop
- Failed to timely apply the brakes
- Took improper evasive actions to avoid a collision
To determine breach of duty, insurance companies evaluate police reports, pictures of the accident, and witness statements. As such, it is important to properly document how the accident happened. This can be done in the following ways:
- Call 911 and ask the police officer to file a crash report
- Talk to witnesses and obtain their contact information
- Take pictures of the accident
For more information on establishing Defendant’s breach of duty, check out my article Four Steps to Take After A Car Accident.
A victim’s damages can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, property damage, and lost wages. Insurance companies evaluate medical records, billing records, repair estimates, work release forms, and tax returns to determine a victim’s damages. Therefore, victims need to make sure healthcare providers accurately document their conditions. These conditions include the location of the victim’s pain, level of pain, and future treatment. For more information on damages, check out my article Car Accident Damages: What’s Your Case Worth?
3. Defendant’s Breach Caused Victim’s Damages
Finally, its essential for victims to establish that the car accident caused their damages. This may seem straightforward, but insurance companies have tricky ways of denying causation. Often times, insurance companies will argue that the victim had a pre-existing condition, which was not caused by the accident. Also if a victim waits a couple days to seek treatment, insurance companies will argue that the victim waited too long to seek treatment and deny the claim. Thus, victims should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Additionally, victims should receive a work release form their healthcare providers if they need to miss work. Otherwise, insurance companies will deny any claim for lost wages.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Texas, it is important to provide certain documentation to the insurance company. With that being said, insurance companies will still try to limit your recovery. If you feel that an insurance company is trying to take advantage of you, Give me a Call or Text at (214) 699-6524 or email me at email@example.com for a free case evaluation.