If you find yourself in a car accident where the other driver admits fault, you may feel there’s nothing more you need to do. Unfortunately, just because the other driver takes the blame at the scene doesn’t mean settling your claim will be simple. There are numerous reasons why it’s wise to work with a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX, even if the other driver admits fault.
The Other Driver Admitted Fault at the Accident: Do I Still Need a Lawyer?
While determining who is at fault in a car accident is an integral part of resolving the claim, it isn’t the only factor that will be considered. Choosing to forgo hiring a lawyer could prove to be a risky decision if you run into problems with the other driver’s insurance company. While you’d like to think that the insurance company will do the ethical thing and compensate you fairly for your injuries, you shouldn’t count on them to simply hand you a fair settlement.
If you want to be reimbursed for the damage you suffered in the accident, you will have to fight for every dollar. A skilled car accident attorney will have experience in dealing with the tricks insurance companies use to get out of reimbursing you and help you secure compensation for damages to your vehicle and any injuries sustained in the accident.
Insurance Company Tactics
When you work with a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX, they will be prepared for any efforts the other driver’s insurance company makes to thwart your chances at a fair settlement. Some common ways insurance companies challenge claims include:
Disputing Your Medical Bills
It’s essential to remember that the goal of the insurance adjuster is to pay you the lowest amount of money possible. That means any time they see an opportunity to lower your compensation; they will seize it. So expect the adjuster to review your medical bills closely, looking for tests or treatments they feel don’t align with the injuries you received in the collision.
There is also a chance they will dispute the cost of your treatment or claim that you are receiving more care than is necessary. When dealing with a critical claim adjuster, you’ll have to be sure your medical documentation is perfect and that a diagnosis backs up every charge. Your lawyer can help you collect the evidence you need to support your medical bills and get statements from medical specialists that support your original doctor’s diagnosis.
Stating Your Damage Claim Is Excessive
In the same way that an adjuster might protest your medical bills, they may also dispute your property damage claims for your vehicle. Whether they claim that you are trying to pass old damage off as a result of the accident or believe you are being extravagant in your repairs, it can be challenging to disprove their accusations without the help of a lawyer.
An experienced lawyer will be able to prove how your claim amount is appropriate for the amount of damage done. It can be difficult to hold your ground against the adjuster without a professional representing you. When you have a lawyer, they will handle all contact with the adjuster and not be persuaded by their statements.
Manipulating You Into Admitting Fault
If you don’t have legal representation, you’ll deal directly with the insurer. When victims are not represented, adjusters may try to coerce them into admitting partial or complete fault. In Texas, if you are primarily responsible for the accident (greater than 51% fault), you will not be able to seek compensation for your injuries or property damage.
If you are partially responsible (greater than 0% but less than 51% fault), your compensation will be reduced according to the percentage of responsibility you hold. Inadvertently admitting fault can result in you receiving a smaller settlement than you deserve or eliminate your chance of compensation.
Steps to Take After a Collison Where the Other Driver Admits Fault
Remain on the Scene
Even if the other driver apologizes or admits fault and you’ve done nothing wrong, do not leave the accident scene. Not only is leaving the scene of an accident illegal in most states, but it can also cause significant problems if the at-fault driver decides to go back on their word.
If you leave the scene of the accident, you cannot know if the other driver will call the police and claim you were at fault and fled the scene to avoid repercussions. So don’t leave the collision site no matter how minor the accident seems.
Call the Police
The other driver may promise to claim fault with their insurance company to avoid the hassle of calling the police, but doing so can put you at risk. While the other driver could intend to follow through on their promise, you have no way of knowing if they actually will.
Furthermore, if they don’t admit fault to their insurance company, and you don’t call the police, you have no record of anything relating to the accident to prove you were not at fault. Without police documentation, a fender-bender can quickly spiral into a complicated he-said-she-said situation.
Give an Accurate Account
When the police arrive on the scene, tell the responding officer everything that occurred. Only share the facts, do not speculate or guess during any part of your retelling. Take care that you do not use language that could be interpreted as taking fault, such as apologizing or saying you were momentarily distracted.
The officer will ask if you are injured; since the adrenaline from a collision can mask minor injuries, do not claim to be uninjured unless you are confident you are unharmed. If you claim to be fine in your statement, only to realize a few hours later you were injured, you will have difficulty proving your injuries originated from the accident.
Capturing the scene is essential to proving fault. Even if the other driver admits fault, you will want photographic proof to support their claim. Throughout the aftermath of the event, it is critical to look out for your own best interests by documenting everything, no matter how agreeable the other driver seems.
The responding officer will collect contact information from the drivers involved and any witnesses. You’ll also want to have the other driver’s contact information in case you need to contact them before you have a copy of the police report. Exchange insurance information with the other driver, and request the police report number so that you can obtain a copy of it later.
Report the Accident
Contact your insurance company immediately and provide the other driver’s insurance information. Let them know that the other driver claimed fault but be aware that both insurance companies will investigate the accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, the other driver may try to negotiate with you instead of involving your insurance companies. Do not accept their proposal if the other driver offers you cash in exchange for bypassing your insurance companies. This decision could leave you personally liable if the other driver attempts to place the blame on you.
Find a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX
Establishing fault is only a tiny piece of pursuing compensation for a car accident. No matter how straightforward a collision may seem, issues can arise that the average individual is not prepared to handle. An experienced car accident lawyer will ensure you are not blamed for an accident that is not your fault and fight to get you the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and repair your vehicle following an accident.
Let our skilled team represent you in your car accident or personal injury lawsuit. Contact Houston Injury Lawyers PLLC to discuss your legal needs today.