Do you know what to do after a car accident in Houston? Are you familiar with insurance laws and personal injury laws in Texas? Do you know how much your personal injury claim is worth?

Most people would answer no to these questions. However, if you are injured in a car crash, you need to know the answers to these questions and many more to protect your personal injury claim. Moreover, you need to hire an skilled lawyer who will protect your best interests.

Getting the money you deserve for a car accident can be a challenging and difficult fight. The steps you take after your car accident can significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury claim.

Dos and Don’ts After a Houston Car Accident

Our car accident lawyers counsel our clients on the dos and don’ts of car accident cases. Let’s discuss some of these issues to help you understand what might be at stake.

Do report the traffic accident immediately. 

You should report the crash — even if the other driver does not wish to call the police. If you do not report the accident, the other driver might change their story about how the accident occurred. Reporting the accident means that law enforcement will investigate the crash and issue a report about how it occurred and who may be at fault.

Unless you have an eyewitness or video evidence of the crash, the matter comes down to “he said” versus “she said.” 

Do Seek Immediate Medical Attention

You need medical records proving that you sustained injuries because of the collision. If you wait to go to the doctor until you are in severe pain, the insurance company might allege that the accident was not the cause of your injuries. Prompt medical care can help connect your injuries to the car crash.

Don’t Admit Fault or Apologize

Whoever caused the car accident is liable for the damages caused by the crash. The other party will use your words, including a casual apology, against you to deny fault and liability. If your apology is considered an admission of fault, you could lose your right to recover money for your injury claim.

Any admission of fault could lower the value of your claim under Texas comparative fault laws. These rules reduce the amount of your compensation to account for your percentage of fault for the crash. If you are 51 percent or more at fault, you will receive no money for your claim. 

Don’t Talk About the Car Accident with Anyone

You do not want your family and friends called as witnesses for the other side at trial. If you tell your friend in great detail about how you are not entirely sure you caused the crash, that information could come back to haunt you if your friend is subpoenaed as a witness.

Don’t Accept a Settlement Offer Without Talking to a Lawyer

The initial settlement offer from the insurance company is generally much lower than the value of your damages. The insurance company wants to get rid of your claim for as little money as possible. Therefore, it could save tens of thousands of dollars by getting you to sign a settlement agreement before you know the value of your claim.

If you sign a settlement agreement, your case is over. You give up the right to file a personal injury lawsuit or demand more money for future medical bills, lost wages, or other damages. 

Don’t Settle Your Claim if You Are Still Receiving Medical Treatment

Until your doctor releases you from care, you cannot be sure how much your medical care will cost or how much wages you will lose while you recover. Also, you cannot know whether you suffered a permanent impairment because of the accident.

These factors can have a significant impact on the value of your injury claim. If you have been undergoing care for a lengthy period, talk with a lawyer now to make sure you do not run out of time to file an injury claim. 

Don’t Provide Statements or Sign Medical Release Forms for the Insurance Company 

The insurance company searches for ways to lower the value of your injury claim or deny your claim. A common tactic is requesting a written or recorded statement from the accident victim. The insurance adjuster might ask leading questions that could raise doubts for jury members if your case goes to trial.

The insurance adjuster may also request a signed medical records authorization. Do not sign this document without talking with a lawyer. The insurance company may be searching for pre-existing conditions and injuries to minimize the accident’s impact on your health. 

Don’t Wait Too Long to Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer

The Texas Statute of Limitations places a deadline on filing car accident claims. If you wait too long to seek legal advice, you could miss the deadline for filing a claim. Protect your rights and your best interests by seeking advice from an experienced injury attorney who has your best interests as the top priority. 

There are many more things you should and should not do after a Houston car accident. Talk with a car accident lawyer to learn more about how you can protect your right to receive fair and just compensation for a car accident claim.