Brian White | June 23, 2021 | Car Accidents
Traffic accidents occur every day in Texas. In 2019, a person was injured every two minutes and three seconds in car accidents. Moreover, a reportable crash occurred every 56 seconds.
Unfortunately, a motor vehicle accident can be very disruptive to your life—even if you do not sustain injuries. Dealing with a simple property damage claim can be frustrating and time-consuming. For victims who sustain injuries, the recovery period may be lengthy, painful, and costly.
Knowing what to do after a car accident is crucial for recovering the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver. The steps you take immediately after a car crash can significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury claim.
Our car accident lawyers created a step-by-step guide for car accident victims that explains what you should do after a car wreck.
Five Steps to Take After a Texas Car Accident
Try to remain calm and follow these steps after a car accident:
Step One: Call 911 to Report the Accident
Call emergency medical services for anyone who is injured in a car accident. Calling 911 is the quickest way to receive help. The emergency operator provides guidance about what to do based on the description of the accident and circumstances.
Calling 911 is also the best way to report the car accident to the police. Drivers are required to notify law enforcement officials by the “quickest means” possible if an accident involves injury or death to a person. Drivers must also report an accident if crash damage makes a vehicle unsafe to drive.
In most cases, it is best to call 911 to report a car accident—even if you don’t believe you are injured. You could develop symptoms of an injury hours or days after an accident. Moreover, having an official police report can be beneficial when filing an insurance claim.
Step Two: Gather Evidence at The Accident Scene
Proving that the other driver was responsible for causing the car crash is essential for recovering compensation for your injuries and damages. Therefore, you should gather as much information and evidence from the accident scene as possible.
Some steps to take include:
- Use your cell phone to take photographs and make a video of the vehicles and the surrounding area. Pay close attention to the position of the cars, the damage to each vehicle, and any skid marks.
- Note the road conditions, including road debris, potholes, etc.
- Ask eyewitnesses for their names and telephone numbers
- Take pictures of your injuries
- Make notes about what you can remember about the accident
Avoid discussing the details of the accident with anyone at the accident scene. Do not apologize or admit fault for the cause of the crash.
When the police officers arrive, stick to the facts, and do not embellish the details of the accident. The police officers may make an initial determination as to fault. If the officers blame you for causing an accident that was not your fault, contact a car accident attorney immediately.
Step Three: Seek Medical Treatment for Injuries
Prompt medical care after a car accident is crucial for your health and a personal injury claim. Car accidents can cause numerous injuries, including brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and neck injuries. It is best to see a doctor right away, even if you don’t think you’ve sustained a serious injury. Some injuries may not present symptoms right away.
When you delay medical care, you give the insurance company a reason to fight your claim. The company may argue that you made your accident injuries worse by waiting days or weeks to see a doctor after the crash.
However, if you see a doctor and report all symptoms, including aches and pains, you have a medical record that can help connect your injuries to the car crash.
Step Four: Notify Your Car Insurance Provider
Texas drivers are required to carry minimum car insurance coverage. Most policies require that you notify the insurance company of a car wreck within a specific period. Even if you do not believe you caused the crash, you still need to notify your car insurance carrier of the crash.
Step Five: Seek Legal Advice Before Discussing the Crash with an Insurance Adjuster
Making statements and answering questions for insurance adjusters can hurt your chance of recovering fair compensation for your injury claim. Even if you are dealing with your own insurance company, it is best to get legal advice before signing any documents or making formal statements.
Claims adjusters work to protect the best interest of the insurance company. Their job is to reduce the company’s liability for your claim. Therefore, the claims adjuster may use the information they obtain from you to undervalue or deny your injury claim.
How Do I Know Whether I Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you were injured or are being blamed for a car crash, you need a car accident lawyer. A Houston car accident attorney guides you through the process of filing a personal injury claim and helps you avoid making mistakes that can hurt your claim.