How Insurance Companies Evaluate the Value of a Claim

The Law Office of Aaron Fonseca May 7, 2024

Insurance agent evaluating damage after car accidentThe moments immediately following an auto accident can be disorienting and distressing, and as the dust settles, understanding your rights and the claims process becomes necessary. 

Attempting to comprehend personal injury law is a challenge, and in Texas, with its unique statutes governing auto accident claims, the complications are amplified. That's why tapping into the expertise of legal counsel who knows the depths of Texas law is not just beneficial—it's critical. 

At The Law Office of Aaron Fonseca, I stand ready to guide you through the claims process with insurance companies, ensuring you take the right steps to secure the compensation you deserve. I've made it my mission to offer not just experienced legal representation but a compassionate approach to understanding and addressing the individual needs of my clients. 

Understanding the Value of Your Claim

When filing a car accident claim, one of the first questions you'll likely have is, "What's my case worth?" The value of your claim is determined by a host of factors that insurance companies carefully examine: 

Severity of Injuries 

The extent of your injuries and the duration of your recovery significantly impact your claim's value. For catastrophic injuries with long-term consequences, such as paralysis or traumatic brain injuries, the claim can reach considerably higher amounts due to the cost of ongoing care and the negative impact on your quality of life. 

Medical Treatment 

The type of medical treatment received, including immediate care at the scene, emergency room visits, surgeries, and rehabilitative services, is carefully assessed. The more extensive the treatment and rehabilitation, the higher the potential value of the claim. 

Property Damage 

The cost to repair or replace your vehicle, as well as any additional property damaged during the accident, is factored into the claim. High-dollar vehicles or personal property can further elevate the overall claim value. 

Lost Wages 

Reimbursement for lost income due to inability to work during recovery forms a significant part of the claim. Overtime, potential earnings, and future income are also examined. 

Emotional Distress 

The emotional suffering following an auto accident, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, are considered in evaluating the total compensation. 

The Role of Comparative Negligence in Texas 

Texas adheres to a "modified comparative negligence" rule which emphasizes the concept of shared fault. This means that if you are found partially responsible for the accident, your compensation may be reduced. Understanding comparative negligence and how it might apply to your situation is vital. 

The state follows a 51% bar rule, which means if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you are ineligible to receive compensation. Consequently, Texas courts will reduce your total recovery amount according to your percentage of fault. 

Steps to Maximize Your Claim

To maximize the value of your auto accident claim, preparation and diligence are key. There are specific steps you can take to bolster your case: 

Gather Evidence 

Collect as much evidence as possible, including photos of the accident scene, contact information of witnesses, and records of police reports. The more thorough your documentation, the better you can show the insurance company the extent of your damages and the liability of the other party. 

Communicate Effectively 

When communicating with the insurance adjuster, be clear and factual, avoiding statements that may be used against you. Keep a record of all conversations and correspondence. 

Be Patient 

Rushing the claims process can lead to underestimation of your damages. Wait until you've fully recovered or have a complete understanding of the lasting impact of your injuries before settling.  

Common Mistakes to Avoid

In the wake of an accident, there are pitfalls that can substantially reduce your claim's value. Common mistakes include: 

Providing a Recorded Statement 

Insurance companies may use your recorded statements to discredit your case or minimize your recovery. Be cautious about what you say and consider consulting with a personal injury attorney before recording any statement. 

Accepting the First Settlement Offer 

The initial offer from an insurance company might seem attractive, especially when medical bills are piling up. However, these offers are typically below the actual worth of your claim, and negotiating for a better deal is usually advisable. 

Delaying Medical Treatment 

Seek medical attention immediately, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Prompt care not only ensures your well-being but also provides irrefutable evidence for your claim. 

The Importance of Legal Counsel

For auto accident claims, the value of legal counsel cannot be overstated. As an experienced personal injury attorney, I know the common tactics used by insurance companies to devalue claims and can advocate effectively on your behalf. 

Retaining legal representation can lead to a much higher settlement than you might secure on your own. I can handle the negotiation process, gather compelling evidence, and, if necessary, take your case to court to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. 

If you've been injured in an auto accident, don't wait to seek the support and guidance you need. Contact The Law Office of Aaron Fonseca to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Remember, the consultation is always free, and you pay nothing unless I pursue and win your case.