How Insurance Companies Reduce & Deny Pedestrian Accident Claims
Get a Texas pedestrian accident lawyer who understands their tactics
Injured victims of pedestrian accidents and the families of fatal crash victims have the right to seek compensation in Texas. They deserve money for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and other damages that may result when a person is hit by a car. In this situation, many victims are shocked when the insurance company makes them fight for the compensation they are clearly entitled to recover.
It may seem obvious that a driver is at fault in a pedestrian accident, but the insurance company will still fight hard to get out of paying. You need the right attorney to fight back. The pedestrian accident lawyers at Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C. have decades of experience handling injury claims in Fort Worth and throughout the DFW area.
We understand the tactics insurance companies use to lowball settlements and deny claims. At a time when walkers, joggers, and runners are being hit by cars at an accelerating rate in Fort Worth and throughout Texas, this knowledge can help victims demand the full compensation they deserve.
Texas pedestrian accident statistics and trends
Pedestrian accidents are a huge and growing problem in Texas. From 2012 through 2022, fatal pedestrian accidents increased by 73 percent statewide. Researchers say poor driving behaviors – especially drunk driving, speeding, texting, and distracted driving – are major contributors to the death toll.
Many roads and streets in the DFW area and throughout Texas are highly dangerous for pedestrians. According to studies and local news reports, some of the most dangerous highways for pedestrians in the area include:
- Loop 12
- Loop 820
Local roads in Fort Worth with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities include:
- Berry Street
- Hemphill Street
- Seminary Drive
- Hulen Street
In addition, many of downtown Fort Worth’s intersections are consistently hazardous for pedestrians.
Some of the most common circumstances for fatal pedestrian accidents involved people who were walking or running along the road, crossing expressways, standing in the road, or standing outside a disabled vehicle.
Traffic regulations that apply to pedestrian accidents
- Pedestrian right of way. Drivers in Texas are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians entering crosswalks, including both marked and unmarked crosswalks. However, there are exceptions to driver liability at intersections. Insurance companies may use these exceptions to deflect blame.
- Traffic regulations. Drivers in Texas must exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians on the roadway. Pedestrians have a right to walk on the road when there’s no sidewalk available, or if the sidewalk is blocked or unsafe.
Insurance company tactics to deny claims and reduce settlements
Pedestrian accidents often cause severe injuries that can be expensive to compensate, such as spinal cord injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, burns, lacerations, punctures, and more. Many pedestrian accidents are fatal.
Insurance companies know this. To protect their bottom line, an adjuster may question the seriousness of a victim’s injuries or argue the injuries happened before or after the crash. They may say the pedestrian was jaywalking or “darted” into the street out of nowhere. (It is worth noting that neither of these scenarios, by themselves, are reason to deny a pedestrian accident claim.) Here are some common insurance company tactics:
- Deny liability, with or without a reason.
- Blame the victim, or accuse them of lying, faking injuries, or neglecting personal safety.
- Minimize injury severity and question the necessity of doctor-recommended medical treatment and procedures.
- Insist a claim is “not covered” in an intentional misrepresentation of the policy and exclusion clauses.
- Allege the claim was not filed on time.
- Delay claim processing or ignore the claim.
- Delay payment.
- Request the same documents over and over to exhaust the victim’s time and resources.
- Use leading questions to pull damaging statements out of victims.
- Offer a quick “lowball” settlement and insist it is their “best offer.”
Insurance companies may also try to take advantage of the “modified comparative fault” rule in pedestrian accident claims. Under Texas’ modified comparative fault system, a person who is 51 percent or more at fault in an accident cannot file a claim seeking injury compensation. If they are partially at fault, but less than 51 percent, compensation will be reduced by their contribution. For example, if a pedestrian’s actions contributed 10 percent to causing an accident and they have $100,000 in damages, their compensation would be reduced by 10 percent ($10,000) to $90,000. Insurance companies know that the more fault they can heap on victims, the less they have to pay.
Texas laws that apply to pedestrian injury insurance claims
Texas regulates insurance and sets claim and compensation processes and standards. Circumstances will determine how the law applies in each case, but in general, it is illegal for insurance companies to negotiate in bad faith or “unreasonably” reject a claim. Texas bars insurance companies from negotiating in bad faith and using other “unfair” settlement tactics including:
- Misrepresentation of a policy’s facts.
- Rejecting a claim in which the insurance company’s liability was "reasonably clear.”
- Failing to promptly explain the basis for a denied claim.
- Ignoring claims (failure to confirm or deny coverage).
- Refusing, failing, or “unreasonably” delaying a first-party settlement because a third-party may be liable.
- Seeking to close a claim before the recipient has collected full compensation.
- Refusing to pay a claim without ever conducting a “reasonable” investigation.
That said, insurance companies are adept at walking the line and finding reasons to deny, dispute, or delay claims without overtly violating the law. Only an experienced attorney who knows how the insurance company operates can help protect your rights in this situation.
How to protect your rights after being injured in a pedestrian accident
Insurance companies have one goal: to pay injured accident victims as little as possible or nothing at all. One of the most effective ways to fight back is to contact a lawyer for a free case evaluation as soon as possible after an accident. They can explain your rights and options and guide injured victims and their families forward.
Remember: The insurance companies have teams of lawyers on their side. Don't take them on alone. At Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C., we take the burden of dealing with the insurance company off accident victims as our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers fight aggressively for maximum results.
Our experienced Fort Worth pedestrian accident lawyers possess the knowledge and skill to counter insurance company strategies and ensure your rights and interests are thoroughly protected. We understand the intricacies of injury claims in the DFW area. We negotiate aggressively on behalf of injured victims for maximum compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial losses. To learn more about how our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers can help, contact us for a free case evaluation.
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