Julio: Hi Jason, my wife was in a car accident, and it wasn’t her fault. She’s okay, but the car isn’t drivable. The insurance company called and made us an offer. It sounded like a fair deal, but the lady was kind of pushy and so I told her we would think about it. Is it normal to take an offer over the phone like that?
Jason: Hi Julio, I’m really glad that you contacted me before accepting that offer. It is common for insurance companies to make verbal offers – it’s a practice called ‘swoop and settle’ and there are currently bills proposed in both the Texas House and Senate that would outlaw insurance companies from doing this.
Julio: Really? I mean, I thought the offer was fair, but I got a bad feeling when she kept trying to get us to say yes right away.
Jason: That’s what they do. They want it to sound like they care and that they are trying to take care of you fast. But the truth is that if they get a verbal agreement from you over the phone the case is legally settled.
Julio: So does that mean you can’t ask for any more money if it ends up costing more?
Jason: Correct. It is a legal settlement. Anything above the amount you agreed upon will be your responsibility. And if your wife experiences whiplash or other medical issues, which can show up days or even weeks later, you are also responsible for all of those bills.
Julio: Wow, that doesn’t sound fair.
Jason: No, it’s not. And that is why some legislators are trying to change the law by requiring the insurance companies to put it in writing for all parties to read and review before agreeing to anything.
Julio: So has it passed?
Jason: No decision has been made yet on either bill, however, the House bill, HB 150 is moving through the consideration process. The insurance companies claim that verbal agreements speed up the process and that requiring written agreements will slow down the process.
Julio: Well I would rather it take longer if it means they pay us the right amount.
Jason: You were wise not to take the offer right away, Julio. You have to report the accident, but beyond that, you don’t have to tell them anything or agree to anything without first consulting a lawyer.
Julio: Do you think you could help us with this?
Jason: Yes, I will take a look at your case, and you can call me anytime on my personal cell if you have any questions.
Julio: Thank you Jason!
DeSouza Injury Lawyers is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.
If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18-wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call Jason DeSouza personally today at 210-591-9777 or 361-799-2222 or visit the firm online at https://jfdlawfirm.com