Brian White | March 29, 2023 | Personal Injury
Personal injury claims arise after many types of accidents, from car accidents to medical malpractice. Most personal injury claims involve insurance companies. Two problems almost always present themselves in injury cases. First, insurance adjusters are reluctant to offer fair settlement amounts to claimants. In some cases, they resort to stonewalling tactics to wear you down. Second, receiving your settlement check usually takes longer than you want it to.
Remember that insurance adjusters are very busy people. If they don’t call you back right away, they’re not necessarily stonewalling you (although they might be). If you are having this kind of trouble, there are ways for you to fight back.
Hire a Lawyer to Handle Your Claim
There are very few actions you can take to get your claim moving again that are more powerful than hiring a lawyer. Not just any lawyer, mind you. Choose a successful personal injury lawyer with a strong local reputation.
One way to notify the insurance adjuster that you have hired a lawyer is to tell your lawyer to contact the adjuster and notify them that all future correspondence should proceed through your lawyer, not you.
Contact the Insurance Adjuster’s Manager
Another way to get things moving again is to “go over your adjuster’s head” by contacting their supervisor. The idea here is to apply the personal injury version of the “squeaky wheel” concept. Be polite, but tell the supervisor exactly what has been happening, for better or for worse.
File a Complaint With the State Government
If contacting the supervisor doesn’t get you a satisfactory response, try the Texas Department of Insurance. Responding to complaints is part of their job. Even if this approach doesn’t work, it might help support an “insurance bad faith” claim in the future, should you decide to go that route.
File a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit is playing hardball, even if it’s only a small claims case. Of course, the insurance adjuster might have forced your hand. If the statute of limitations deadline is approaching, you might have to file a lawsuit simply to beat the deadline and keep your claim alive. In Texas, most personal injury claims expire two years after the date of the accident. You don’t have to dispose of your claim within two years–just complete the initial filing of a lawsuit.
You initiate a lawsuit by filing a formal Complaint with the court. Once you do that, the other side must file a written Answer. This puts time pressure on the insurance company, which is exactly what you need to move things along. Remember that filing a lawsuit does not render a trial inevitable–you can still reach a settlement and withdraw your lawsuit.
The Pretrial Discovery Process
One of the main reasons you might want to file a lawsuit is to qualify for the court-supervised pretrial discovery process. This process can be a bonanza for evidence gathering; it gives you several legal weapons to obtain evidence.
The court will perform some arm-twisting for you if the other side refuses to cooperate. The mere prospect of dealing with pretrial discovery requests, and the effect that additional evidence might have on settlement negotiations, is often enough to stimulate an insurance adjuster to issue a generous settlement offer.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Keep Your Case Moving
Consider hiring a lawyer even if your insurance adjuster isn’t stonewalling you. They can explain your rights and options for recovering compensation. They can also help you navigate your claim and avoid mistakes that might affect your compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Contact the Houston Personal Injury Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
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Houston, TX 77098
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