Whether it’s a minor fender bender that triggers long-term neck and back pain or a more serious accident that totals your car and causes extensive injuries, a car accident is often a traumatizing experience. What may make it even more traumatic is having to deal with an insurance claim, which can be challenging and take years to resolve.
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is an insurance provider for military families and veterans. While it’s only available to a specific group, its claim process can be drawn out and complicated like any other insurance company. This can be frustrating, especially when you’re ready to move past your accident.
When you work with accident claim lawyers experienced in USAA accident insurance claims, you can get faster and more successful results. A lawyer can help you better navigate the insurance claims process and argue your case so that you can get the most favorable outcome.
A car accident is a stressful experience, especially if you end up in the hospital. In the flurry of activity that often results, it can be hard to think about what to do besides take care of yourself and your passengers.
While that is the most important thing, there are a few other steps you should take after an accident to make sure that important evidence is documented for any insurance claim you file.
It’s not always easy to determine who was at fault in a car accident, especially when multiple cars were involved. Figuring out who was at fault may require a detailed investigation of who was driving, if they were working at the time (in which case an employer may be liable), any vehicle defects, if drugs or alcohol were involved, and the accident scene itself.
Since Texas is a “fault” state, insurance companies determine who is at fault in an accident before they pay out any claims.
While some cases are clear-cut and the other party is found to be completely responsible for the accident, there’s always a chance you’ll be found partially at fault. For instance, if you were speeding when the other car hit you or didn’t notice the car backing out of a parking space before the collision occurred, your damages may be reduced in accordance with your percentage of responsibility for causing the accident. In Texas, as long as you’re 50 percent or less at fault for the collision, you are eligible to recover damages.
A car insurance company like USAA may try to claim that you’re more at fault than you are to have a reason to pay out less. An auto accident insurance lawyer can help make sure that doesn’t happen. They will investigate who is at fault in the accident and make sure the percentage of liability matches up with what actually happened so that you can recover as much as possible.
You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after an auto accident. If your insurance company is USAA, you can submit your claim and any photos online or through its app. However, be careful not to provide your insurance with a recorded statement without first consulting with an injury attorney.
The terms of your insurance policy determine how long you have to report a car accident. For some policies, if you fail to report within the stated period of time, you may lose the right to recover damages.
In Texas, the insurance company must accept or deny your claim within 15 days of getting all the necessary information. If your claim is accepted, the insurance company is required to pay you within five business days. If your claim is rejected, they must let you know why.
This doesn’t mean that your claim will be accepted and paid within 15 days of the accident. It can take time for an insurance company to gather all of the information needed to make a determination — and they may try to stall to delay any payout.
Accident claim lawyers can help make sure this doesn’t happen. They know exactly what a company like USAA needs to make a final determination on a claim and will work to get them that information as quickly as possible. A lawyer will also make sure that insurance agents aren’t purposefully dragging their feet on making a decision.
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Texas allows you to file both an insurance claim and a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You can file a personal injury claim if you were injured by the other driver’s negligence, such as drunk driving or distracted driving.
If you want to file a personal injury claim, you must typically do it within two years from the date of the car accident under the state’s statute of limitations. In some instances, the time frame may be shorter or longer. An auto accident insurance attorney in Texas can help you determine if you can file a personal injury claim in the state and make sure you don’t miss the deadline for filing.
Most basic USAA insurance policies pay medical bills and property damage, though you may have a policy with more insurance coverage.
The damages you can receive in an accident insurance claim typically cover medical bills and property damage. The actual amount you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including the extent of the damage to your vehicle, the severity of your injuries, and what percentage you are at fault.
Damages will also depend on the insurance coverage of both parties and the evidence and documentation you provide to support your claim. When you work with qualified auto accident insurance attorneys, they will work diligently to gather the evidence and documentation needed to show the full extent of your injuries and the accident’s effect on you.
Insurance companies will typically do whatever it takes to avoid paying damages, from delaying a review of your claim to arguing that you were more at fault than you were. They may also try to get you to settle quickly with a lowball offer.
To help protect yourself when interacting with insurance providers like USAA, be sure to get everything from them in writing so they can’t backtrack on any statements or offers. Don’t feel pressured to go to a medical professional or auto body shop that they recommend — you are free to choose your own service providers. And don’t sign or agree to anything you don’t feel comfortable with.
The best way to protect yourself is to work with an attorney who will do the talking and negotiating for you. A lawyer will make sure that your interests are represented, that you get a fair deal, and that you recover as much compensation as possible for the accident. If your case needs to go to trial, the right attorney can even help you litigate the case in court.
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When you’re dealing with accident claims from an insurance company like USAA, getting a suitable settlement often depends on your ability to make a strong case. Our accident claim lawyers are here to help you navigate the auto insurance claims process to maximize your financial recovery. For a free, no-commitment case consultation, contact our lawyers in Austin, Texas, today.
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