Insurance Claims Process: Accidents!
I'm Rahlita Thornton from the Thornton Esquire Law Group. Today, I wanted to talk about the claims process. I've been doing this for almost 30 years now. And when I sign up my clients, I make sure I'll explain to them that we are trying to negotiate an insurance claim, and we're not filing a lawsuit.Filing a Claim Versus Filing a Lawsuit
Here's the difference between filing a claim and filing a lawsuit. When you file a claim, you're just filing them with the insurance company, and you're trying to negotiate with the insurance company to see if you can get a settlement.
You don't have to file a lawsuit in order to get a settlement. You get reimbursed for your medical bills, for your lost wages, for your pain and suffering, for whatever injuries and damages that you suffered as a result of that accident.
A lot of people think, "I don't want to sue this person. They were nice and this and that." That is not what we're doing, certainly not initially. We are not suing the other person that hit you. We're just holding them responsible for the damages, so that we can try to make you whole.
You're probably not going to be getting a whole lot of extra money, but you are going to be responsible for all those medical bills and other damages, and it wasn't your fault. And you should not be responsible for paying.Filing a Claim
Filing a claim would just mean getting a letter to the other insurance company and trying to see about getting it settled, compiling all of your information and getting the best deal for you. So that's something that we do, and we work very hard to try to make sure we get that done.Filing a Lawsuit
We also file lawsuits. If we have to, we will. But it's not the first thing that we do because there's a lot of work that goes into filing a lawsuit. So it can be stressful, but sometimes you have to do it.
And so for filing a lawsuit we actually draft up paperwork, and we talk about how the accident happened. This is called a petition. That's what we do in the state of Texas, and then we file it with the court. That is actually filing a lawsuit and it is a public record. We try to avoid that, but if we have to do it, we will.What Happens Next
Once we file a lawsuit, we have to answer questions. We have to provide documents that provide medical record information. We put it all out on the table, and we have to fight with the defense attorneys about getting them to just look at all of your medical history. So those are the kind of things that we have to do when we file a lawsuit.
We try to avoid it because it is a headache and a hassle, but sometimes we have to do it. We do file lawsuits when we feel that a person has been wronged. Somebody got hit from behind. It wasn't their fault, and the insurance company is saying, "Oh, we don't believe that they're hurt because their damages don't look that bad on their car."
Well, we have information that's different. We know that the person has gone to a hospital and what their injuries are. So sometimes, we have to file a lawsuit right away, but you would know whether we did that or not.Most Cases are Settled
Also, most cases are settled, even after we file a lawsuit. In fact, 90%-95% of all cases are settled before you even walk into a courtroom. So that is what we try to do, but if we have to step into the courtroom, we will step into the courtroom and take care of our clients.
We work hard for our clients. And hopefully that's something that you would never have to have to go through. Just remember, there is a difference between filing a claim and filing a lawsuit. Nobody really wants to sue other people. We understand that. And we try to work with people.
But if you have any questions about that, ask us. If you have any comments or anything you want to share, feel free to reach out to us.