The Odds are Nearly Even That Your Injury Claim Will be Denied: Regardless of the Insurer
A popular tactic of some auto liability insurers is to suddenly find an excuse to cancel the policy of its customers once they are involved in an injury-related accident. There are as many of these insurers as fleas on a dog. Some arbitrarily cancel for no reason or say that the monthly premium payment didn’t arrive before the wreck was reported, even if it did come and was credited during the mandated ten-day grace period.
The Texas Department of Insurance keeps records on how insurance companies honor claims, and they’ve recently revealed some very sobering data. One Texas minimum coverage insurer took in over $271 million in premiums in one year. But it has a claims complaint index that is two-and-a-half times higher than the state complaint average. Another took in $575 million and had a complaint index of nearly four times the state average. The TDI also has a “top 10” list of insurers that have the highest total complaints in the way they handle claims.
A recent analysis of the Insurance Department’s consumer complaint figures showed that 11 of the 25 largest auto insurers in the state, all of whom are supposed to be honoring over 100,000 policies each, had a complaint index that was above average. Complaints that drivers filed with the state included such practices as delays in processing claims, “low-ball” offers and settlements, denial of claims, and liability disputes.
Another favorite trick of some insurance companies in denying an injured claimant is for an adjuster for the company to tell the injured party that if the claim isn’t paid, the person will have to hire a lawyer and will probably wind up with little money for the trouble. At that point, the driver feels forced to take 50 percent or less of the claim for damages. This excuse is patently false. But since the driver probably hasn’t talked to an experienced auto accident attorney, he’s probably unaware of this fact, feels that he’s alone against the big bad insurance company, and accepts the substandard offer.
In one year alone, consumers filed more than 6,600 complaints against auto insurers in Texas. More than half were filed by drivers who said they were not at fault in an accident but had trouble getting an insurer to pay their claims. Texas Watch is a watchdog consumer group that has turned more of its attention to auto insurance issues and their trend of higher denials: but UM/UIM and the more reputable firms as well. The group says that unethical companies have an advantage because they undercut regular insurers on price mainly because of their claims payment practices. A spokesman says, “the business model is they drag their feet and make it as difficult as possible for the claimant to collect in hopes they will take a low-ball offer or give up.”
Texas Watch completed a survey of customer complaints when filing damage claims against auto insurers in Texas. The largest complaint types and their percentages were:
Delays in handling claims 36.7%
Unsatisfactory offers 21.8%
Denial of claims 16.3%
Customer service 10.5%
In an underinsured motorist coverage claim, things can get very complicated for non-attorneys. For an underinsured claim to be valid, you have to show that you exhausted the other available policies. In other words, if you have $100,000 in total damages and the negligent driver has only $60,000 to cover fully, you have to get all $60k, or your UIM claim is viewed by your insurance company (if you have UM/UIM coverage) as invalid.
It is very easy for the defendant’s insurer to pay you only 70% of the value of their policy. The fact that you didn’t collect full value makes it impossible for your UIM claim for the difference to be honored by your carrier. And there are a few well-known insurance carriers on that top-10 list that is kept by the Texas Department of Insurance; firms you would think would not be on that list.
In short, it is all the more important to have an experienced vehicle accident injury attorney help you with both claims (the liability claim against the other party and the UIM claim against your insurance.) Your success lies in collecting full damage value from both. In cases where you successfully get the other party to tender policy limits, thereby exhausting that policy, you still encounter the difficulties of your company’s insurance adjuster’s alleged ignorance with regard to Texas laws, particularly the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Your claim then becomes a contract issue between you and your carrier rather than a tort issue. Our Law Firm knows how to leverage a TDTPA violation claim against an insurer (either the other driver’s or yours) to do the right thing and pay both of your legitimate claims when an underinsured motorist has hit you.
Don’t add to the stress and confusion of an accident by letting an inexperienced attorney handle your case or represent yourself when you are unqualified to look out for your (or your family’s) best interests. We are uniquely qualified and fully prepared to fight for and win the fairest compensation for your total damage claims. If you or someone you know was in a car accident, contact an attorney at our Law Firm today at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll-free) for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.
What does a speeding ticket look like?
We recommend that you be familiar with the appearance and information contained in a Summons/Notice to Appear/Traffic Infraction citation. The information – or lack of information – noted on the ticket can be critical in how to beat a ticket by establishing your defense and possible dismissal of the charges.
There are a number of proactive steps you can take to assist your defense that you can specify on the citation in fighting speeding ticket violations. For example, requesting a hearing at the County Seat courthouse in writing next to your signature can be effective. More information about traffic ticket attorneys San Antonio here
What does a speeding ticket look like? This is a complex question because multiple types of tickets can be issued for a speeding violation. They range from a written warning to a long and complex form containing information regarding the offense. When a Traffic Control Officer writes a ticket for a speeding violation, it is actually a Summons to Appear [before a judge in court]. The best method of how to fight a ticket is a personal decision, however, simply submitting the established fine is an automatic admission of guilt and incurs the maximum legal fees and costs.
Further, each jurisdiction has its own Summons to Appear forms. Municipal citations differ from County citations and neither is the same as a State Highway Patrol citation.
A Warning is generally far simpler, with just enough information to indicate the offense and driver details. These vary radically from state to state. It is not a Summons or Notice to Appear if there is no court date indicated. This generally requires no action on your part other than a signature and a promise to drive safely.
In the case of an actual Summons, we recommend retaining legal counsel when appearing in court. With maximum ticket fines for speeding violations approaching $500 – and doubled for left-lane offenses or construction zone speeding – it is in your best financial interest to beat speeding ticket charges with a lawyer representing you.
How to beat a speeding ticket is not a trivial task. Get a professional traffic ticket attorney who knows the law and makes a living saving their clients money. In the long term, the initial legal expenses can be minor when considering increased premium rates – or outright cancellation – of insurance, points on your license which may result in driving privilege restrictions and other complications. Fighting speeding ticket violations is your right. Don’t squander it and – with any luck and some professional help – you can beat the ticket.
We realize that a web page cannot answer all of the questions that you may have about bankruptcy, but the following are some of the most commonly asked questions. Caution: The following are merely examples of common questions and answers. You should not rely on the information contained herein, as each set of facts is different, each judicial district has its own practices and procedures, and each state has different exemption laws and limitations.
What assets can I protect if I file bankruptcy?
Basically, married couples can protect up to $75,000 of equity in their primary residence when they file for bankruptcy. A single person, under age 65, can protect up to $50,000 of equity. A person or couple over age 65, or disabled, can protect $125,000 of equity. With regards to other assets, generally speaking, ordinary household goods, appliances, clothing, and jewelry can be protected. Some equity in a vehicle can be protected, some cash value in a whole life insurance policy, all value in a qualified retirement plan, and depending upon the facts and circumstances, perhaps some or all equity in a self-determined retirement plan, such as an IRA or SEP IRA. For more information about the Bankruptcy Lawyer San Antonio clique here
Do I have to appear in court?
In a chapter 7 proceeding, your appearance will be required once, for a brief interview with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. The hearing is not held in a courtroom or before a judge. In a chapter 13 proceeding, in addition to the hearing before the trustee, you may, depending upon the facts and circumstances, have to appear before the court at one or more confirmation hearings. In addition, if a creditor objects to the discharge of your obligation to them, and the matter is not settled before trial, you may have to appear at trial.
Do I have to list all of my assets?
Yes, including those not in the jurisdiction, such as in other states or countries.
How long will it take to obtain my discharge?
In the usual chapter 7 case, approximately 120 days from the date that the case is filed. In a chapter 13 case, which requires monthly payments to the trustee from future income for a fixed period of time, usually 36 to 60 months, within six (6) months after the last payment is made.
Can I re-establish credit after bankruptcy?
Yes. The credit market is much more competitive than in the past. If you are employed and have income, and have maintained current payments on a car or home loans through the bankruptcy process, you may be invited to apply for new credit shortly after your discharge. In some cases, some credit card companies may offer you a chance to keep a current card by agreeing to repay some or all of your current balance. Depending upon the facts, such an offer may be enticing.
Will I discharge all of my debts in bankruptcy?
Generally speaking, there are two categories of exceptions to the general rule that all debts are discharged in bankruptcy. The first category of exceptions is statutory exceptions, such as recent income taxes (less than three years old), obligations to pay child and/or spousal support, student loan obligations, and damages arising from a drunk driving conviction. The other category is for “bad act” debts, or those arising from what a creditor can prove was dishonesty, including fraud or misrepresentation.
How do I keep creditors from bothering me?
The filing of the bankruptcy proceeding with the Court creates an automatic restraining order, or stay, which prevents all creditors from taking any further action to collect a debt incurred before the filing of the bankruptcy case. All creditors will receive a notice directly from the court clerk within approximately ten days notifying them of the commencement of the case, other relevant information, and deadlines. If a creditor willfully violates that stay they can be sanctioned.
How do I start the process?
Call or e-mail for an appointment. We will sit down and evaluate your particular needs, requirements and timing. The cost of the initial consultation, usually $200.00, will be applied against the cost of the bankruptcy proceeding, which will vary on a case-by-case basis.