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Our team of San Antonio injury attorneys at Barrus Law Group is dedicated to providing free educational articles to help you find answers for important legal questions.  Our website's article library is full of in-depth articles on issues and frequently asked questions pertaining to personal injury laws in Texas.  If you can't find the answer to a question, or need other assistance, contact us at any time and we will be happy to answer your questions - free of charge.

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car accident lawyer discussed why not to give recorded statements following accident.Since I first became a San Antonio car accident lawyer, I’ve noticed that many insurance companies have become more adamant about demanding recorded statements from victims of auto accidents, even if these statements aren’t required by law.

First of all, you can ALWAYS avoid giving a recorded statement to the insurance company of the other driver – this is never required under Texas Law.

We usually advise our clients to avoid giving recorded statements, but we also know this requirement can be hard to avoid, particularly if the adjuster from the insurance company representing the other driver is being stubborn, and pushy about it.

In my experience, I’ve seen insurance adjusters go out of their way to pressure injured claimants into providing them with a recorded statement indicating their injuries. Worse, I’ve known adjusters to have deceived clients, telling them that they're required by law to provide them a recorded statement, which is absolutely not true in Texas.

I also know that claimants can be pressured to not refuse the person who pretty much decides whether they can pay their medical bills or not.

While we usually advise our clients that avoiding a statement is the best option, it also helps to prepare for the event when the adjuster demands it. If you feel you can’t avoid giving the insurance company some kind of written statement, here are some ways you can avoid compromising your rights.

  • Consult a lawyer. In many instances, a recorded statement isn’t necessary to file for a claim, but it may come up in the future and cause problems. Insurance companies often try to use recorded or written statements to reduce personal injury claims, taking them out of context or twisting the content to their advantage. Car accident victims who immediately provide such statements without consulting a lawyer can easily compromise the value of their claims. In fact, when in doubt, don’t give a statement without consulting with a lawyer first.  Most injury attorneys offer a free consultation.
  • Keep answers on statements brief and concise. You should still be honest about the details of your injuries, but don’t offer anything more than what’s asked. Whether you’re filling out a police report or talking to an adjuster, keep your responses short and to the point.
  • Don’t make any assumptions about things you’re not sure of. Car accident victims may be asked provide details on distances, speed, and other variables when talking to the insurance adjuster. Avoid making any guesses as this may only hurt your claim in the end. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know when pressed to divulge information you’re not sure of.

 

For more answers to your questions about handling injury claims after a car accident, get a free copy of our book, “10 Deadly Mistakes That Can Kill Your Texas Accident Case,” by experienced San Antonio personal injury lawyer Stacey Barrus. You can also call our San Antonio office by telephone.

As a personal injury law firm, one question that we get asked frequently is about the fairness of insurance company offers, and whether or not the insurance company will negotiate with someone who isn't represented by an attorney.  

When you’re recovering from your injuries following a San Antonio auto accident, the insurance company may give you a settlement offer right away. While this may seem like a good thing, this strategy is often a way to coerce claimants into taking a settlement offer that’s lower than what they deserve. This is simply how the process of negotiating settlements goes. Insurance companies like to test the waters with a low settlement offer, waiting for the claimant’s reaction.

San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer Discusses Low Ball Insurance Offers.At this point, you should decline the insurance company’s initial settlement offer, but only after you’ve consulted with an experienced lawyer who can assess your case, inform you of your rights, provide you with an estimate of the potential value of your claim.  We offer this service for free.  In fact, we will review any offer the insurance company makes you, and tell you whether or not it’s fair.  If we feel you could get more with an experienced attorney, we’ll tell you that.  If we don’t feel that an attorney would substantially improve the offer, we’ll tell you that as well – no gimmicks, just good old fashioned advice – free of charge.

In a majority of the cases we see, the offers from the insurance companies are so low that the injured person would be better served with an experienced injury attorney in their corner.  This is generally true because insurance companies have little incentive to offer a fair settlement to an injured party who is trying to settle his or her own claim.  They will delay and delay, all the while hoping to get past the statute of limitations, the point at which the injured person can no longer sue their insured for their injuries.  Once the limitations period expires, you will probably not get any offer, and any offers previously made will be rescinded (cancelled). 

This is why the expertise of a lawyer can prove invaluable, as there can be several factors to your case not considered before. Furthermore, pressing time constraints may make the claims process even more complicated. And as mentioned earlier, the insurance company representing the other driver in your car accident may trick you into accepting a low offer, or worse, ignore your rights completely.

If you aren’t entirely sure how to proceed with your settlement, hire a lawyer specializing in personal injury cases. The days after an auto accident can be confusing, and it can be hard to figure out just what your legal rights are. An experienced injury attorney can help you sort things out, and answer questions you may have.

Get answers to your questions with no obligation or cost by contacting Barrus Injury Lawyers. Our San Antonio personal injury lawyers offer a free evaluation of your case, explaining your rights and what options are available to you. Contact us at 210-593-8709 for a free and confidential consultation, or click here.

To learn more, reach out to us today at 210-593-8709, or request your FREE copy of our helpful book 10 Deadly Mistakes That Can Kill Your Texas Accident Case.  Or, visit us on Facebook.

Couple Hires Barrus Injury Lawyers After Serious Accident on Loop 1604 in San Antonio.Obviously, when car accidents occur, the injuries can be catastrophic due to the weight of the vehicles involved, and the speed of the vehicles involved. Even a car accident at speeds below 20 MPH can cause serious injuries, or even result in death. While no two San Antonio car accidents are exactly the same, as an auto accident attorney in San Antonio, I’ve noticed that there are some injuries that are the most common following a car accident.

Neck & Shoulder Injuries – Including “Whiplash”

Because San Antonio car wrecks generally involve a significant impact, neck injuries are very common. A collision, even at low speed, can cause your head and neck to suddenly be whipped backwards or forward, and can cause significant soft tissue damage, and even herniated discs. Additionally, it’s very common that neck and shoulder injuries are not noticed until the day following a car accident. While many people can fully recover from minor neck injuries, many car accident victims continue to have chronic neck issues long after the accident. For this reason, it’s important to consult with an experienced San Antonio injury lawyer to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Spine & Back Injuries

Of the human body, the back is probably the most susceptible to sudden impacts, jolts, and trauma. Of the most common injuries are soft tissue injuries, and herniated discs. However, compression fractures, nerve damages, and torn ligaments are also common. In fact, it’s common for victims of car accidents to require back surgery, steroid injections, or other expensive treatment following a car accident. In some cases, back injuries may require future medical treatment for years to come.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

As a San Antonio truck accident attorney, I have seen victims that have suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of a trucking accident. Of all injuries, brain injuries are generally the most serious, and the most frightening for victims and their families. Because brain injuries can affect so many facets of a person’s life, including the ability to walk, talk, or remember, these injuries are very traumatizing. While most traumatic brain injuries occur in very serious accidents, such as trucking accidents, they can also occur during car accidents.

The more serious the injury, the more likely it is that you will require the assistance of a San Antonio injury attorney, especially if you or a loved one has experienced any of the injuries listed above. If you’ve been in an accident in San Antonio, Austin, or South Texas, including Bexar County, Nueces County, Comal County, Travis County, or any of the surrounding areas, contact one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation. Also, check out our free accident book, 10 Deadly Mistakes That Can Kill Your Texas Accident Case, authored by injury attorney Stacey M. Barrus, which will help you avoid mistakes that can ruin your accident case.

San Antonio Car Accident Laywer Helps Amputee Victims get Justice.While injuries resulting in death are obviously the most serious injuries, injuries causing amputation or dismemberment are a close second. These types of serious injuries are usually permanent, and thus affect both the injured person, as well as their families. In fact, amputation and dismemberment injuries are so serious that victims and their families almost always need to make drastic changes to the way they live, and these injuries impact nearly every aspect of a victim and their families lives.

Next to an injury causing death, amputation injuries are probably the most serious personal injury a person can suffer. These injuries are almost always permanent, and will affect not only the individual but also the victim’s family. There are many concessions that the victim and his or her family must make after such a life-altering event.

This article will address amputation and dismemberment injuries, and how these injuries factor into the compensation a victim could receive.

Two Types of Amputation Injuries

Amputation injuries are defined as those injuries that result in the loss of one of the extremities to a person’s body. Essentially, amputation refers to the loss of a limb, and can either occur during an accident, or surgically as a result of injuries that require an extremity to be removed by a medical professional. The most common amputation injuries involve toes, fingers, hands, feet, legs, or arms. However, eyes may also be subject to amputation as a result of serious injuries.

While surgical amputations are the most common, serious injuries may also result in “traumatic amputation,” which occurs when a body part is torn off. The accidents that most commonly result in traumatic amputation are generally accidents involving motorized vehicles such as serious car accidents, semi-truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, boats, or ATVs. Another common cause of traumatic amputation is the use of heavy equipment, or industrial machinery, which usually occurs in connection with workplace injuries.

Adjusting to Amputation Injuries

Adjusting to the loss of a limb is a traumatic adjustment for victims and their families, both physically and emotionally. Not only is physical recovery from the injury itself a slow and difficult process, but the psychological effects of an amputation injury can take years for victims and their families. Adjusting to live without a limb is a difficult process as the victim embarks on the process of relearning how to do simple everyday things that most of us take for granted.

Financial recovery

Another aspect of recovery after an amputation or dismemberment injury is being able to recover financially. Most often, amputee victims have missed time from work, or have even lost their jobs and the ability to pay their mortgages and every day living expenses. That is why we fight aggressively to help victims of serious injuries receive the fair compensation they deserve. Adequate compensation allows the victim to:

  • Pay present and future medical expenses.
  • Obtain necessary medical devices or equipment to help them in performing daily activities.
  • Replace lost income, including income the person would have received in the future.
  • Pay for rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses.
  • Pay for psychological treatment for depression, anxiety, or other disorders.
  • Hire medical personnel to assist in recovery.

These items can be very costly, many of which will be a continuing expense for the life of the victim. Replacing a victim’s income is of utmost importance, especially when the victim can no longer perform their former employment functions, and must learn a new skill or trade. This is why having the best San Antonio injury lawyer on your side can make recovery from serious injuries easier for victims and their families.

San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer Discusses Totaled Vehicle Valuation.If you’ve been in an accident, and are handling the property damage portion of your claim on your own, you may have heard the claims adjuster mention the term “actual case value” of your vehicle, and wondered what determines a vehicle’s “actual cash value.” This term is generally used when the car is being considered for “total loss” status, often referred to as “totaled.”

The actual cash value of a vehicle in Texas is the Fair Market Value, which is the amount you would pay to replace your vehicle with a vehicle of similar condition in the geographic area in which you live. Keep in mind, this value may be more or less than blue book value. Generally, when the cost of repairing your vehicle is greater than the vehicle’s “actual cash value,” the insurance company will deem the car a “total loss,” and will purchase the car for its fair market value instead of repairing it.

In most total loss situations, the owner of the vehicle does not feel that the insurance company is giving them a fair valuation of their vehicle. In many cases, vehicle owners will base their valuation of their vehicle on subjective factors, such as how well the care was cared for, that they were the first an only owner, or that the performed upgrades to the care. However, under Texas law, the insurance company is only required to pay fair market value, which is determined by researching sale prices of same or similar vehicles, i.e. model year, make, condition, mileage, options, within the same geographic area (usually the state in which you live).

As mentioned above, most owners disagree with the initial vehicle valuation, and think that they should be entitled to greater compensation for their total loss vehicle. However, in most cases, insurance companies use software programs in the valuation of total loss vehicles, and are therefore pretty accurate as far as determining what fair market value of the total loss vehicle is. Because of this, insurance companies will rarely increase the amount they are willing to pay a vehicle owner for their totaled vehicle. This is especially true if the owner is trying to settle their property damage claim without an attorney.

While insurance companies are reluctant to increase their initial valuation of a total loss vehicle, having an experienced attorney on your side can help. While we do not represent clients in property damage only cases, we assist our injury clients in settling the property damage portion of their claims. In fact, we have had great success in persuading insurance companies to increase their initial valuations, obtaining thousands in increased compensation for our clients.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident, and are now facing the many unfair tactics that insurance companies often employ against accident victims, we are here to assist you, and to answer any questions you may have regarding your situation. We offer a free consultation with one of our auto accident lawyers. Call us at (210) 593-8709, or visit our contact page to request a consultation.

Texas Injury Lawyer Stacey Barrus Explains PIP and Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Texas.As an injury lawyer, I often get asked whether drivers should have PIP and UM/UIM coverage. In the last couple of years I have noticed a significant increase in car accidents involving uninsured drivers. This could be a result of the recent economic downturn, or perhaps an influx of undocumented immigrants who are not able to get insurance. No matter what the cause, accidents involving uninsured drivers have been on the rise in Texas. These accidents have devastating consequences for persons who are injured by the negligence of uninsured, or underinsured drivers in Texas.   on persons injured by no fault of their own.

As a personal injury lawyer, I am painfully aware of the hardships presented to those who are injured by and under insured motorist. Medical bills start to pile up, you’re missing work as a result of your injuries, and you wonder who will pay your medical bills and living expenses while you recover from injuries. And, sadly, the uninsured motorist has little to offer you. Unfortunately, this is a scenario I see nearly every day in Texas. In fact, Texas leads the nation in uninsured motorist, And the laws are insufficient to prosecute and hold accountable those who decide to drive without insurance.

As I have told my clients for years, the only way to protect yourself from uninsured motorists is by purchasing two separate types of insurance coverage. First, all Texans should purchase uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.   Second, I’ll text and should also purchase personal injury protection coverage, often referred to as PIP. As I often tell my clients, driving in Texas without UIM coverage and PIP coverage is like playing Russian roulette – it’s simply a poor choice.

So, let’s talk about these two types of insurance coverages for moment. Let’s start with PIP insurance.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection is additional coverage that you purchase from your own insurance company. In fact, under Texas law insurance providers must offer you PIP coverage, and if you decline coverage, you must sign a document stating that you have declined this coverage.

After an accident, many people are but have PIP coverage are hesitant to utilize it for fear that their insurance rates will increase. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is against the law in Texas for insurance company to raise your rates simply because you utilize your PIP coverage. PIP coverage is extra protection that you pay for, and as I often tell my clients failing to utilize your PIP coverage is like holding a winning lottery ticket but refusing to cash it in-which obviously makes no sense.

One of the real benefits of PIP coverage is that you can often times make a PIP claim quickly, and receive some money to assist you with your medical bills and lost wages while you are receiving treatment and recovering from your injuries.

The second coverage that I recommend all Texans purchase is Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage (UM/UIM).

Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage (UM/UIM)

UM/UIM coverage protects you in two different ways. First of all, if you’re here by driver with no insurance at all, or if you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you’re under insured motorist coverage is there to provide you with compensation up to the amount of coverage you have purchased.   I generally recommend having at least $50,000.00, but preferably $100,000, in uninsured motorist coverage.

Secondly, if your histories car accident with someone who has minimum limits Insurance coverage, which is generally $30,000 in Texas, it is very likely that your medical bills Will exceed the available $30,000 in coverage. In this case, you’re under insured motorist protection Will compensate you the difference between the other drivers limits up to the amount you have selected in underinsured motorist protection.   In other words, it will step in to provide you with some additional coverage to pay for your medical bills lost wages and pain and suffering.   Because Texas has extremely low minimum coverage limits, especially considering the rising cost of healthcare, I think it is essential for every text to carry at least $50,000 in UM/UIM protection. This added coverage does not cost much, and will be in valuable to you and your family if you’re involved in an accident by someone who either has no insurance, or very little insurance coverage.

In most cases involving UM/UIM insurance coverage, the person claiming this coverage will almost always need to be represented by an attorney. This is because, unfortunately, a person’s own insurance carrier will often deny or try to minimize their claims. After all, they are an insurance company, and they do not make billions of dollars every year by treating others fairly, which includes their own insured.

If you have been seriously injured by a driver without insurance, or by someone without sufficient insurance to cover your claim, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in order to understand and protect your right following an accident. We offer a free consultation, and our no fee guarantee ensures that you will never pay a fee unless we win your case. Give us a call at (210) 593-8709 or request a free consultation via our website.