If you have been involved in an automobile collision, and are not at fault, it is quite possible that you may be able to handle your claim without the help of an attorney.
As soon as possible after the collision, you should try and obtain the following information:
Responsible driver's name, address, telephone number, and driver's license number, color, make and model of car, license plate number of car, date of collision, time of collision, location of collision, name, address and telephone number of any possible witnesses, a copy of any written statements by the responsible driver, a copy of the Texas Peace Officer's Accident Report, insurance information for the responsible driver, including insurance carrier and policy period, name, address and telephone number of the owner of the vehicle, if not owned by the driver.
You will, then, need to open a claim with the driver's insurance company. You may do this by calling the insurance company and reporting the incident, or by writing the insurance company and providing all relevant information concerning the incident.
Once a claim is opened with the insurance company, an insurance adjuster will want to take a tape-recorded statement from you. You must be truthful in your recorded statement, as well as thorough. Answer only those questions which you know the answer to, and do not speculate or guess what the answer may be. Furthermore, the adjuster may ask you questions concerning your medical treatment and diagnosis; however, you should refer the adjuster to the medical records and/or bills which will be generated in your claim.
Once you have provided the statement to the adjuster, you should request a written copy of your statement, as well as the cassette recording of your statement.
Next, you must prepare evidence of your damages arising out of the collision. Texas law allows you to recover for your physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, medical expenses, and lost wages. You may prove your medical expenses by producing copies of your medical bills. Your lost wages can be verified by a letter from your employer.
You should obtain all medical bills, all information concerning lost wages, and prepare an itemization of these damages. Once you have calculated your medical expenses and lost wages, you should send a letter to the insurance adjuster, attaching your medical bills and evidence of lost wages, and make a specific demand for compensation for your injuries. As a rule of thumb, you should recover somewhere between two to five times the amount of your medical bills and lost wages. It is important that you ask for the highest amount possible when you make demand upon the insurance adjuster so that you will have room to negotiate to a fair and reasonable settlement.
While each claim is unique, this information should provide you with a general guideline in pursuing your own auto claim.
In the event that you feel your claim requires the assistance of an attorney, then, please, fill out the following questionnaire. The information provided will be kept confidential.
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