Winter Storm Auto Insurance Claims - Texas
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Winter storms are dangerous. These natural disasters can cause significant injuries and property damage, especially in areas that are not equipped for the effects of cold weather. This is what happened when Winter Storm Uri slammed into Texas recently.
If you sustained vehicle damage during a winter storm, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses from your insurance company. Your ability to recover may depend on the extent and cause of your automobile damage.
Winter Storms and Vehicle Damage
Recently, Texas fell victim to a devastating winter storm that wiped out its electrical grid and caused significant damage to personal property. Many Texans suffered for days without electricity or means of transportation, as the storm made many public roadways too dangerous for travel. As communities across the state begin to slowly recover from the crippling natural disaster, insurance companies are bracing themselves for the onslaught of claims expected to head their way.
According to catastrophe experts, insured losses could hit $18 billion, which is six times the yearly average. In Texas alone, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance has already seen as many frozen pipe claims as it did in all of last year nationwide. United Services Automobile Association stated that it has already received more than 20,000 claims tied to winter weather. The Insurance Council of Texas expects the claims to continue, with companies preparing for hundreds of thousands of claims from vehicles, homes, businesses, and renters.
Although transportation was limited during the storm, many Texans sustained significant automobile damage. At least nine people died in crashes across the Dallas-Fort Worth area due to the dangerous road conditions caused by the winter storm. Nearly 65 people sought medical treatment after a Fort Worth pileup caused by slippery road conditions. More than 300 accidents were reported overnight, with 103 major accidents, 133 major freeway accidents, 86 minor accidents, four minor city equipment accidents, and two major city equipment accidents.
Many other vehicles sustained exterior damage from the significant snowfall and fallen power lines. If you sustained automobile damage during the devastating winter storm, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company. Through your policy, you may be able to recover monetary damages to compensate you for your losses.
What Should I Do If I Sustained Automobile Damage in the Texas Winter Storm?
The Texas winter storm caused thousands of dollars of damages to residents. In addition to property damage, other residents sustained serious injuries or even death. If you were injured or sustained damages in the winter storm, you may be entitled to legal compensation. After an accident, there are a few things that you should do to help your claim quickly move through your insurance company’s filing process.
File a Police Report
Documentation is imperative in insurance claims involving property damage. If you are involved in an accident, it is critical that you contact the police immediately after reaching safety. If called, the local authorities will come to the scene and draft an official report of the accident. This police report will likely include any available information about witnesses, injuries, or property damage. This police report may make it easier to prove the true extent of your damages to your insurance company.
Do Not Accept Fault
If you were involved in an accident during the winter storm, it is important that you avoid accepting fault for the accident without first consulting a legal professional. Such an admission may be used against you in future proceedings. Your insurance company may be able to use these statements when calculating the value of your claim. Additionally, your fault may affect the cost of maintaining your insurance policy in the future.
Seek Medical Attention
If you were injured during the winter storm, it is essential that you see a medical professional to evaluate your injuries. Even if you are experiencing no discomfort or pain, you should still visit a healthcare professional to avoid developing subsequent injuries from untreated trauma. In addition to the health benefits, visiting a healthcare professional may also have some legal use as well.
If visited, a doctor will create an official medical report of your injuries. You may be able to present these documents to your medical insurance provider to avoid paying out-of-pocket for your expenses. Including the severity of your injuries may be useful in describing the winter storm incident to your auto insurance company as well.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If you sustained any property damage from an accident during the winter storm, you should contact your insurance company to discuss what costs your policy will cover. Unfortunately, many insurance companies prefer to pay their clients as little as possible. Negotiating with these companies may prove difficult, depending on your specific provider and claim. An attorney may be able to help you get the best offer possible during these negotiations.
Settling and filing insurance claims may prove burdensome, especially for first-time filers. If your vehicle was damaged during Texas’s winter storm, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Due to the increased number of claims, your claim may take longer to process, especially if your claim is lengthy. Consequently, it may be beneficial to contact a Texas insurance attorney to help you navigate the process. Your attorney may be able to help you calculate your damages, speak with your provider, and file your claim in a timely manner.
How Do Insurance Claims Work?
The filing process may vary depending on the specific company. Naturally, many insurance companies have different requirements for evidence, submissions, and payouts. Fortunately, most insurance companies generally utilize a similar process.
Steps in the Process of Filing a Claim
1. Allow Time to File the Claim
Typically, the first step to receiving compensation for your damages is to file a claim with the company itself. Many insurance companies utilize technology-based platforms for this step in particular. These insurance claims can be filed on the provider’s mobile application or website. All insurance providers accept claim filings and questions through the telephone. However, insurance companies typically have long wait times and you may spend hours on hold waiting to speak with an agent. As a result, filing through your provider’s mobile application may be the quickest avenue for filing your claim. The simplest of claims may take an hour, while more complex claims may take weeks to complete.
2. Prepare to Speak with the Insurance Agent
After the initial insurance claim has been filed by one of the involved parties, an insurance agent typically reaches out to any other parties involved in the incident to request more information and to corroborate your claims. The agent may request information about witnesses, injuries, and even property damage. These telephone interviews can take substantial amounts of time, especially if the party is not expecting the call and, thus, has not prepared the information ahead of time. Your company representative may even utilize an investigator to evaluate the validity of your claims and make an appropriate estimate. Depending on the complexity of your claim, you may receive an estimate shortly after submission. Some insurance providers even provide a photo estimation online tool during the process that allows clients to receive a damage estimate within four hours of submission.
3. Contact an Attorney
If you have been injured or sustained property damage during a car accident, you may want to contact an attorney before accepting any offer from your insurance company. Insurance companies may take advantage of your inexperience and offer you a less-than-favorable offer in an attempt to make you settle. If you accept a settlement offer and then later find out that you could have received more, you may be left with an insufficient amount to cover your damages.
Get Help From Zinda Law Group.
Winter storms can be devastating for victims who sustain personal injuries or property damage. Victims may be left with hefty debt, trauma, and stress as a result of the natural disaster. Filing a claim with your insurance company can be a daunting task, especially for victims who sustained significant amounts of damage. Large claims can be extensive and may require substantial amounts of attention.
If you or a loved one was injured in the Texas winter storm, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you seek legal recourse, evaluate your claim’s merits, and negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries.
Seeking Maximum Compensation After a Winter Storm-Related Auto Accident? Call and Speak to a Zinda Law Group Lawyer Today.
At Zinda Law Group, we have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you pursue the highest compensation possible. Zinda Law Group may be able to provide you with personalized and quality consultation about the specifics of your legal claim. The sooner you contact our office, the better we may be able to serve you.
If you or a loved one needs to file a winter storm auto insurance claim in Texas, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our insurance claim lawyers. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.