Frequently Asked Questions

Personal Injury

Can a car insurance company suspend my driver’s license?

In Texas, there is a statute which allows the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to suspend a person’s driver’s license for an unpaid JUDGMENT. Until you have been sued and a formal judgment taken against you, they cannot suspend your license. What you are receiving is the latest extortion from insurance companies. They pay a claim for one of their insureds and then turn around and send a collections letter to the other driver. They do not take into account fault, agreements such as the one you have in place with the other driver, or the fair debt collection statute. The first thing you need to do is send a letter in writing, certified mail, return receipt requested to the “collections” agency and demand proof of the debt. They will not be able to provide proof of the debt because at this point they have no valid debt, just merely allegations from an insurance company you owe this money.

Are there any questions I can ask my lawyer to verify that they’re a good fit?

A good way to get a handle on any potential attorney is to ask these questions:

  • What kinds of successes can you point to?
  • Are there any areas you specialize in?
  • What experience do you have in the areas of the law governing my particular accident?
  • Has a complaint ever been filed against your firm with the State Bar or elsewhere?
  • Who do you turn to if you’re injured in an accident?
  • Would any personal belief impede your ability to assist with my case?
  • Do you truly think you can win my case for me?
Can an insurance adjuster deny part of my claim?

One of the biggest misunderstandings people have is thinking the at-fault person’s insurance company has an obligation to pay you anything. In Texas, the claim is against the at-fault driver, not his or her insurance company. The insurance company’s obligation is to defend and ultimately indemnify their driver if you file a lawsuit and obtain a judgment. Until that time, they can offer you whatever they want and if you don’t like it, then their position is sue their insured. They rationalize this behavior by correctly assuming most people just give up and they won’t be able to find an attorney to take a case of this size. From a financial standpoint, if an insurance company saves $1,000 on 1,000 claims a month, that’s a million dollars in savings on claims paid. There is a reason all of the major insurance companies spend billions on feel good advertising, because they know how bad they truly screw people making claims.

What this adjuster is doing is arguing that a jury will not believe the second round of treatment was reasonable and necessary as a result of the crash. It’s the insurance company’s way of calling you a liar and fraud. One option you have is to file a claim under your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your policy. This should be able to get you up to $2,500 to pay for the therapy.

Claims in Excess of Coverage.

An attorney told me that all I can receive from my injuries and pain and suffering is the amount of the at-fault person’s insurance coverage. For example if they only had basic $30,000 coverage, then that is the limit I can go after. My medical bills and future therapy are going to be more than $30k. Can I file a claim with my own insurance company? Or is there any way that I can recover more?

There are many situations where the insurance available from the responsible party is not sufficient to cover the harms and losses suffered in a crash. If the responsible person doesn’t have enough insurance coverage or personal assets to cover the damages, then another option is to file an additional claim under your own UIM/UM insurance coverage. However, since the Brainard decision from the Texas Supreme Court, your own insurance company has no obligation to pay your alleged claim until there is a finding from a judge or jury as to liability of the at fault driver and the amount of damages sustained. I recommend you contact several personal injury attorneys to discuss your options.

Denied and Delayed Insurance Claims.

I was in a car accident and other party was cited for fault by police who arrived at the scene. I would rather file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company than pay my deductible and have my insurance company to pursue the case. But, if the faulty party refused to give statement for their insurance company, can their insurance company delay or deny my claim?

Yes. More importantly her insurance can deny coverage based on her failure to cooperate with the defense. Even if she gives a statement and cooperates with her insurance company, they can still deny and delay paying your claim. Her insurance company has no obligation to treat you fairly or promptly. This is the reason so many claims are denied and low ball offers are made.

Do I have to accept what the insurance company offers me for an injury claim?

The simple answer is no. However, depending on injuries, the amount of coverage, any Subrogation claims from medical providers, etc. the “generous” offer may not be that generous. You should consult with a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies aren’t known for doing the right thing.

Do I have to appear in a courtroom?

Although many cases are settled before that eventuality, I am prepared to pursue a case all the way to trial if I feel you’re not being treated fairly by the other party.  Even if the case never makes it to trial, though, you may still be required to attend various other legal proceedings, court dates, and mediation meetings.  And if the case does go to trial, it’s likely that you will in fact have to testify.

How do I find a doctor to see me if I don’t have medical insurance?

Contact us and we can provide you with a list of doctors that will treat you without you having medical insurance.

How do I get a rental car?

Some insurance companies will provide direct bill to the rental car company and others require you to pay upfront and then reimburse you for payment at a later date.

How do I get my car repaired?

You may select any repair shop that you desire and take your car there for repair. You are not required to get three estimates for repairs to your car.

How do I know how much my catastrophic injury claim is worth?

Although damages can be substantial in many catastrophic injury cases, your case is unique. That means there’s no way to know what compensation you’re entitled to without knowing about your circumstances and how you were injured. A qualified Texas personal injury attorney is the best source for advice about your rights under the law. You should meet with a personal injury lawyer at your first opportunity after your accident. A personal injury attorney who has experience handling catastrophic accident cases can explain what claims you have and what compensation you may be able to recover based on your catastrophic injury.

How long does a claims process in a car accident case usually take?

It depends on damages, the adjuster, the particular insurance company, the amount of coverage, cooperation of the insured, and on and on. In Texas, the insurance company for the person that hit you has no obligation to treat you fairly or for that matter timely. I’ve seen too many times where the insurance company intentionally delays hoping you give up.

How long will it take to reach a settlement or court victory?

That depends on numerous factors.  Typically, the more complex your case might be, the longer it will take.  However, a free consultation can help you figure out where you stand and enlighten you on potential challenges that might delay the outcome.

I was told insurance agencies have guidelines for settlement, should I get an attorney involved?

Yes, you should consult with an attorney. Insurance “guidelines” for settlement are just that, insurance guidelines. They are not looking out for your or trying to do the right thing. They are trying to close a claim for the least amount possible. Contact Art Warren for a free consultation.

Is Small Claims Court a viable option instead of dealing with the Insurance Company?

It really depends on the amount of damages you are seeking. Small claims court is exactly what it sounds like, for small claims. If you are only seeking property damage you might be okay. If you and your boyfriend are seeking personal injury damages also, I wouldn’t recommend filing in small claims court. The reason the insurance company is telling you two years is because that is the statute of limitations deadline. If you don’t file a suit before then, you will be forever barred from making a claim. I recommend contacting a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.

Is there a Statute of Limitations on a personal injury claim in Texas?

In Texas, the statute of limitations for auto accidents is two years. Insurance companies intentionally ignore and delay hoping you’ll miss the deadline to file suit.

Lack of Personal Injury Coverage.

What costs am I facing if I go to doctor, out of pocket? I tried to schedule a doctor’s appointment but they said they handle billing of checkup due to accidents differently. They told me its $75 to walk in for a checkup. I worry that the bill might come back as a shocker.

Unfortunately, you are not alone in this situation. This happens on a regular basis to people with no health insurance, no personal injury protection (PIP) and the at-fault driver’s insurance delays taking responsibility. It’s a catch 22. The insurance company will claim you aren’t hurt if you don’t see a doctor because of financial reasons. They will argue you could have gone to the ER. People with no money can always be treated at the ER. As we all know, the ER will do nothing for you in this situation. If you go see an attorney first, then a doctor, they will argue the only reason you are seeking treatment is because your attorney told you to and you are trying to get more money for your case. It’s completely unfair that you are put in this situation.

I recommend asking the doctor’s office if they will accept a Letter of Protection or an assignment for payment of the bills after the matter is resolved with the at fault party’s insurance. Next I would recommend you contact a personal injury attorney to help you with this situation.

What is a catastrophic injury?

catastrophic injury is an injury that has a serious adverse impact on a person’s health and life. Catastrophic injuries may include eye injuries that cause blindness; injuries that cause internal organ damage; injuries that cause deafness; burn injuries; injuries that cause you to lose a limb; spinal cord injuries; and brain injuries.

What type of compensation do I qualify for?

Calculating the amount of money you might be entitled to depends a lot upon both the circumstances of the case and the emotional, physical, and financial trauma you were forced to deal with.  Typically, though, accident victims qualify for reimbursement of medical bills, lost income, emotional trauma, physical pain, and other incidental costs such as vehicle repair fees in the event of a crash.

What types of situations constitute a personal injury?

Personal injury claims can encompass a wide range of injury accidents.  There’s no limit to the number of ways that negligence can adversely affect an individual.  That’s why you should think about filing a claim in instances of medical malpractice, product liability, premises liability, auto accidents (including commercial truck and motorcycle accidents), defective medical devices, animal attacks, and more.  The same goes for if you lost a loved one to any of the above

What’s expected of me as the case moves forward?

Accident victims are first required to provide relevant information to their lawyers so as to establish a basis from which to begin.  It also helps to give your legal team a record of medical bills and other documentation that shows the financial toll an accident has taken.  From there, your legal representatives will work to obtain vital evidence through the discovery process, consulting with you at regular intervals while you heal from your injuries.

With so many lawyers out there, how do I choose the right one?

You’ll want a lawyer with a combination of successful litigation experience and years of quality education.  It also helps to have a lawyer willing to answer questions you might have and be available when you need him or her.  Parker McDonald P.C.’s principal partners have more than 55 years of combined experience, and our Texas personal injury lawyers dedicate themselves to doing whatever they can for their clients.