When it comes to big-time players in the auto insurance industry, the United States Services Automobile Association (USAA) comes in at No. 8 in Texas – collecting more than 583 million in auto insurance premiums annually in the Lone Star State alone. With such deep pockets, you would think that getting a fair settlement for an auto accident injury would be relatively easy with USAA, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Like all insurance companies, USAA is in the business of making money – big money. So, the less it pays out, the more it makes. This means that when it comes to car wreck injury claims, USAA’s first priority is its bottom line – not your best interests.
That’s where Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group comes in. Our Fort Worth car accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident, establish the true value of your injury case, and then fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. In this article, our attorneys explain how to maximize an auto accident injury claim against USAA and the steps you should take to help ensure a successful outcome.
Understanding USAA Insurance and Their Role in Your Accident Case
USAA (United Services Automobile Association) is a prominent, nationwide insurance provider that serves military members and their families. It is not a government agency and it is not a non-profit organization. Based in San Antonio, the company generates billions of dollars annually in revenue by offering a range of insurance products to eligible members across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This includes auto insurance, which covers policyholders in case of accidents, property damage, and personal injury.
When you’re involved in an auto accident with a USAA policyholder, or if you’re a USAA policyholder yourself, the company plays a crucial role in your accident injury case. They’re responsible for processing your claim, negotiating settlements, and providing compensation for damages and injuries sustained
Processing Your Claim with USAA
After an injury accident, you’ll need to file a claim with USAA – either as a first-party or a third-party claimant. First-party claims are filed when you’re a USAA policyholder, while third-party claims are filed when you’re not a policyholder but were involved in an accident with someone who is.
We will further explain the two types below, but before we get to that, we recommend not contacting and trying to file a claim against USAA yourself. Let a personal injury attorney handle all of that for you. The team at Varghese Summesett Injury Law Group has extensive experience in negotiations with USAA, and we know the best strategies to get you the most compensation for your accident-related losses.
In a first-party claim, you’ll be dealing directly with your own insurance company. Texas follows a “fault” system, meaning the person responsible for causing the accident is liable for damages. However, your policy may include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage, which pays for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault.
In a third-party claim, you’ll file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, in this case, USAA. You’ll need to prove the other party’s negligence and establish the extent of your damages. Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company may be challenging, as they will likely try to minimize payouts. Again, that is why it is so important to let a highly skilled personal injury attorney handle all correspondence with the USAA. If you say or do the wrong thing, it could jeopardize your claim.
Maximizing Your Claim Against USAA: What to Do After an Accident
To maximize your auto accident injury claim against USAA, it’s essential to take certain steps immediately following the accident, as well as weeks and months later. These actions will help strengthen your case and improve your chances of receiving fair compensation:
Call the police
Report the accident and obtain an official police report. This document is critical for establishing the facts of the incident and may be used as evidence in your claim.
Document the scene
Take photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. If possible, gather contact information from witnesses who can provide statements supporting your claim.
Seek medical attention immediately
It’s crucial to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible after the wreck. Serious Injuries may not be apparent immediately after an accident, and having a medical evaluation can help identify any issues and serve as evidence of your injuries.
Follow your doctor’s advice
It’s extremely important to follow your doctor’s orders for treatment and follow-up care. Failing to comply with their orders can be used against you by USAA to argue that your injuries are not as severe as claimed or that you contributed to your delayed recovery.
Maintain detailed records of your medical treatments, bills, lost wages, and any other expenses related to the accident. These records will help in calculating your damages and substantiating your claim.
Don’t give USAA a recorded statement
Whatever you do, do not give a recorded statement to USAA insurance agents – and never admit fault. Politely decline to answer their questions and say your lawyer will get in contact with them.
Contact a personal injury lawyer
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer. Working with a skilled personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your claim. An attorney will evaluate your case, build a strong legal argument for liability and damages, and work to ensure that USAA does not undervalue your losses.
The attorneys at Varghese Summersett are here to assist you in maximizing your claim against USAA insurance. We have extensive experience in negotiating these types of claims and know the best strategies for recovering full compensation for losses incurred due to an auto injury accident.
How the USAA Settlement Claim Process Works: What You Can Expect
When you are involved in a car accident with a driver insured by USAA and sustain injuries, the settlement claims process will generally follow these steps:
Reporting the Accident
Contact USAA as soon as possible to report the accident. You can file a claim online, through their mobile app, or by calling their claims department. We recommend retaining a personal injury lawyer from the beginning to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Investigation and Evaluation of the Claim
USAA will assign an adjustor who will investigate the accident and review your claim. The adjuster will review the details of the accident, assess the damage to the vehicles involved, and determine the extent of your injuries. This includes examining medical records, police reports, photographs of damaged property, witness testimony, and other evidence related to the incident.
Evaluation of Damages
The claims adjuster will calculate the damages you are entitled to based on the information gathered. This may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other costs related to the accident.
USAA will present a settlement offer based on their evaluation of your damages. Keep in mind that the initial offer may be lower than what you deserve, as insurance companies often try to minimize their payouts.
If you disagree with the settlement offer, you can negotiate with the adjuster to reach a fair amount. It is strongly recommended that you have an experienced personal injury attorney representing you during this process, as they can help build a strong case and negotiate on your behalf.
Acceptance or Lawsuit
If you and USAA reach an agreement on the settlement amount, you will sign a release form, and USAA will pay the agreed-upon compensation. If an agreement cannot be reached, you may choose to file a lawsuit and take the case to court. In this situation, a personal injury attorney will be invaluable in presenting your case and advocating for your rights.
Throughout the process, you can expect USAA to act in its best interest, which may mean trying to minimize the compensation you receive. To ensure that you receive a fair settlement, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help navigate the claims process and protect your rights.
Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Protect Their Bottom Line
Insurance adjusters are responsible for protecting their company’s bottom line, which may involve employing various tactics to minimize the amount they pay out in auto accident injury claims. Some of the tactics insurance adjusters may use include:
Quick settlement offers
Adjusters may present a low initial settlement offer soon after the accident, hoping that you will accept it without fully understanding the extent of your injuries and damages. This tactic takes advantage of your immediate need for financial assistance and may result in inadequate compensation for your losses.
Requesting recorded statements
Insurance adjusters may ask you to provide a recorded statement about the accident. They may use your words against you, trying to find inconsistencies or admissions that could reduce or deny your claim. It’s generally advisable to consult with an attorney before giving a recorded statement.
Delaying the claims process
Adjusters may purposely delay the claims process, making it difficult for you to obtain the compensation you need in a timely manner. This tactic may pressure you into accepting a lower settlement out of desperation.
Disputing the severity of your injuries
Insurance adjusters may try to downplay the severity of your injuries or argue that they were pre-existing, in an attempt to reduce the value of your claim.
Adjusters may argue that their insured driver was not at fault or that you contributed to the accident, which could reduce or eliminate your right to compensation under Texas’ comparative negligence law.
Requesting excessive documentation: Adjusters may ask for extensive documentation and records, such as complete medical histories, as a way to delay the claims process or find information that could be used against you.
- Surveillance: In some cases, insurance companies may conduct surveillance on claimants, hoping to gather evidence that contradicts the severity of their injuries or their need for compensation.
To protect your rights and interests when dealing with insurance adjusters, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the claims process and counteract these tactics. Varghese Summersett offers a free consultation and operates on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no upfront cost to you, and you won’t pay any legal fees until they win your case.
Why You Need a Varghese Summersett Personal Injury Lawyer to Fight USAA
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer at Varghese Summersett can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a fair settlement from USAA. Our skilled and savvy attorneys understand the tactics employed by insurance companies and can help you navigate the complex claims process and advocate on your behalf. Here’s how our team can help you:
Evaluate Your Claim for Free
We’ll assess your case, determine the full extent of your damages, and provide guidance on the best course of action. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, so you can make an informed decision before committing to anything.
Investigate and Gather Evidence
Our team will thoroughly investigate your accident, gather crucial evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf. This process includes reviewing photos and records, consulting with experts and witnesses, and determining liability.
Accurately Calculate Your Damages
To calculate your damages, our team considers various factors and categories of losses that you have suffered as a result of the accident. These damages can be broadly divided into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic Damages: Economic damages are the quantifiable financial losses that you have incurred due to the accident and include medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle damage, and loss of earning capacity.
- Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are more subjective and harder to quantify, as they involve the emotional pain and suffering caused by the accident. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium
Once we have a clear picture of your damages, we will fight aggressively to ensure you receive a fair settlement from USAA.
Submit a Strong Demand Letter
After calculating damages, we will draft a persuasive demand letter and submit it to the insurance company. The demand letter outlines all the damages you have suffered, as well as your legal rights and claim for compensation. We have found that a demand letter is a very powerful legal tool in the process and puts pressure on the insurance company to do the right thing sooner – rather than later.
Aggressively Negotiate on Your Behalf
Our attorneys are expert negotiators who know how to leverage evidence and build a strong case for maximum compensation. We won’t rest until you receive a fair settlement from USSA.
File a Lawsuit Against USAA
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, insurance companies like USAA are required to promptly investigate, settle, and pay claims fairly and in good faith. When they do not, they should be aggressively challenged by the filing of a lawsuit. We have extensive trial experience and will not hesitate to file a lawsuit to take USAA to court if they refuse to settle your claim in good faith.
Take Your Case to Trial and Fight for Maximum Compensation
If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, our team is prepared to represent you in court and fight for the compensation you deserve. We are not afraid to take on big insurance companies and go to trial. In fact, trial is where we feel most at home.
Ready to File a Claim Against USAA? Contact Us.
Our attorneys at Varghese Summersett are committed to helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve. We have extensive experience with insurance companies like USAA, so we know how to maximize your claim and make sure you receive a fair settlement. If not, we won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit and fight for you in front of a jury.
Contact Varghese Summersett at (817) 207-4878 or online for a free consultation. If we take your case, you will never pay us anything upfront or out of pocket. We work on contingency, which means we only get paid if we win your case.
Let us handle all he legal details while you focus on recovery and getting back to normal. We are here for you every step of the way.
FAQs About Claims Against USSA Insurance
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim related to an auto accident is generally two years from the accident date. This means you have two years to file a claim against the at-fault party to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. It is recommended to file your insurance claim as soon as possible after the accident to ensure that evidence and witness accounts are preserved, and the claim is processed in a timely manner.
It is important to point out that the statute of limitations may differ if your claim involves a government entity or if you were a minor at the time of the accident. It’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand the specified deadlines that apply to your situation.
If your claim is denied, it’s crucial to understand the reasons for the denial and take steps to appeal the decision. Common reasons for denial include lack of coverage, missed deadlines, or insufficient documentation. To appeal a denied claim, gather additional evidence and enlist the help of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
The claim process timeline may vary depending on the complexity of the case and the responsiveness of the involved parties. In some cases, it could take a few months. In others, it could take a year or more, especially if a lawsuit is filed against USAA and it goest to trial.
If you disagree with the settlement offer from the insurance company, consider taking the following steps to protect your rights and interests:
- Consult a personal injury attorney: Seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case, determine the true value of your claim, and provide guidance on the best course of action. Remember that Varghese Summersett offers a free consultation and operates on a contingency fee basis, which means there’s no upfront cost for their services, and you won’t pay any legal fees until they win your case.
- Gather evidence and documentation: Strengthen your case by gathering and organizing all relevant evidence, including medical records, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, proof of lost wages, photos of the accident scene and your injuries, and witness statements. This evidence can help support your claim and provide a basis for negotiating a higher settlement.
- Formulate a counteroffer: With the help of your attorney, draft a well-reasoned counteroffer that outlines the damages you have sustained and the compensation you believe is fair. Include supporting documentation and a clear explanation of why the initial offer is insufficient.
- Negotiate with the insurance company: Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf, using the evidence and counteroffer as a basis for discussion. They will advocate for your best interests and work toward reaching a fair settlement.
- Consider alternative dispute resolution: If negotiations stall, you and your attorney may explore alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration, to resolve the dispute without resorting to litigation.
- File a lawsuit: If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Remember, it’s essential to act promptly to protect your rights and preserve evidence in your case. If you disagree with a settlement offer, don’t hesitate to call Varghese Summersett at (817) 207-4878 or contact them online for a free consultation
It’s generally not advisable to accept the first settlement offer from an insurance company without careful consideration and consultation with a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies often make initial offers that are lower than the true value of your claim in an attempt to minimize their payout.
Here are some reasons why you should consider seeking legal advice before accepting the first offer:
- Inadequate compensation: The initial offer may not fully cover all the damages you have sustained, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. By accepting a low offer, you may end up with insufficient compensation to cover your needs.
- Difficulty of future claims: Once you accept a settlement offer and sign a release form, you typically cannot seek additional compensation for your injuries, even if you later discover that your damages were more extensive than initially thought. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of your injuries and future needs before agreeing to a settlement.
- Lack of experience: Insurance adjusters have experience evaluating and negotiating claims, while most accident victims do not. An experienced personal injury attorney can help level the playing field by assessing the true value of your claim, negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, and advocating for your best interests.
- Preservation of legal rights: If you accept the first offer without consulting an attorney, you may unintentionally waive important legal rights or fail to meet deadlines that could affect your claim. An attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Before accepting any settlement offer, it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case, help you understand the full extent of your damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
At Varghese Summersett, we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning our clients don’t pay us anything upfront, there’s no cost for a consultation, and there is no legal fee until we win your case. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping you maximize your auto accident injury claim against USAA and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait to seek the legal representation you need. Time is of the essence, as delaying could jeopardize your claim. Call Varghese Summersett today at (817) 207-4878 or contact us online for a free consultation and let us fight for your rights.