What to Do After a Car Accident in Texas
If you need to know what to do after a car accident, contact our Houston auto accident attorneys to discuss your legal options. Schedule a free case evaluation today.
Car accidents are traumatic events. Oftentimes, they are an overwhelming experience that leaves people feeling tense and frustrated. As such, it’s hard to have the presence of mind to know what to do.
When a motor vehicle collision causes serious injuries, it’s common to miss work and accrue hefty hospital bills. However, when someone else’s negligence leads to your injuries, there’s potential to seek compensation for your expenses. With the right damages, you have the financial stability to move forward in your life.
What you do after a car accident makes a world of difference in whether your personal injury claim is successful. Below, we discuss some of the basic steps to take after an auto accident.
Prepare Yourself in Advance
While there’s never a way to fully prepare yourself for the shock of another driver colliding with your car, you can prepare yourself for the aftermath. When you know what to do after a car accident, you have what you need to act quickly.
To begin, ensure that your documents are ready and in reach. Oftentimes, drivers keep their registration and proof of insurance in their gloveboxes. When the police arrive to investigate, provide them with this information.
Additionally, it’s beneficial to have a pencil or pen and a small pad of paper with you. This gives you an easy place to write things down. For instance, when your phone breaks or dies, it’s a good way to gather license plate numbers, driver information, and witness contact information. Moreover, you still need to record the other driver’s insurance and license information.
Should I Request an Ambulance?
As you wonder what to do after a car accident, your number 1 priority is health. Check on yourself and others to see whether anyone requires emergency medical care.
Check Yourself for Injuries
First, examine yourself to determine the extent of your injuries. When you require emergency medical treatment, request an ambulance yourself or ask someone else to call 911 for you.
Check on Passengers
After a collision, we have to provide reasonable assistance to anyone who sustains an injury. This includes arranging for their transportation to a hospital. Check on your passengers and determine whether anyone needs a trip to an emergency room. Request an ambulance for each person with an injury.
Get to Safety
When an accident involves injuries or a fatality, remain at the scene. It’s essential that you keep yourself safe, so move your vehicle to a safe location out of active lanes. When the accident only involves damage to the vehicles, move it off the road to a safe place.
Always Contact the Police
One of the key personal injury elements of what to do after a car accident is to contact the police. Whether it involves an injury or a death, police provide a report that documents the incident. When the other person is at fault, this report helps establish your personal injury claim.
Even after a minor accident, it’s important to contact law enforcement simply to gain this official accident report.
After you call the police, wait for them to arrive at the scene. Never leave the scene of an accident before they arrive – unless for emergency medical care. Without a severe injury, the police may charge you with “failure to stop.” This is a serious criminal charge with severe penalties.
To reiterate, always contact the police, even after a minor auto accident. Police reports are crucial in car accident claims.
Document the Scene and Gather Evidence
As you wait for the police to arrive, there’s no need to wonder what to do after a car accident. When you are able, gather evidence and document the scene. Use your phone to take photos of the vehicles before they move – unless they are in a dangerous situation.
Photos of the following help your auto accident attorney build your case.
- Damage to the vehicles
- License plates and vehicle information (especially if a commercial vehicle)
- Property damage
- Your injuries
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Nearby structures (which might have security cameras)
- Traffic signs and anything blocking it
- Road hazards
Once teams clear the road, a lot of evidence is gone. If you notice security cameras in the vicinity, take note of their location. Video evidence provides a great deal of support for your car accident claim. However, it’s important to acquire it quickly.
If there are witnesses on the scene, write down their names and contact information. When possible, ask whether you can record a short statement about what they saw.
If you cannot document the scene or gather information, request help from someone else.
Should I Apologize After a Car Accident?
Part of knowing what to do after a car accident is knowing what NOT to do.
There are numerous factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents. Even if you feel responsible, it’s far too soon to know what happened.
Exchange your information, identification numbers, registration, and insurance information with everyone involved. However, avoid discussing the details of the accident with other drivers.
Oftentimes, people feel upset or ramped up after a collision. It’s essential to maintain control of your emotions and keep a cool head. Typically, angry outbursts do nothing but make bad situations worse.
Additionally, be sure not to accuse the other driver of liability. Most importantly, never accept blame for an accident. Even when you believe you caused an accident, there’s no way to be 100% sure until you examine the full incident.
Many victims want to apologize to others or minimize the extent of their injuries. However, without proper medical care, you don’t yet know the extent of your injuries. After an accident, we often feel a surge of adrenaline that masks pain and injuries.
Later on, we learn more about the severity of the situation. While these comments seem harmless, insurance companies use them against you. Moreover, they use these statements to deny or reduce your compensation.
When the police arrive, they investigate and determine the cause of the accident.
Should I Talk to Insurance Companies?
Your Insurance Company
When you know what to do after a car accident and what to say, it’s okay to contact your insurance company. Inform them that there was an accident, and provide the other driver’s name and insurance information.
- As they ask questions, answer honestly without assigning blame.
- Never engage in speculation.
- Don’t mislead them about the incident.
In the end, you may have to file a personal injury claim against your own insurance company. Oftentimes, this occurs because the other driver doesn’t have insurance. In other cases, damages exceed the limits of their insurance.
Additionally, you need the insurance company on your side in case the other driver files a claim against them.
The Other Driver’s Insurance Company
While it’s good to be upfront with your insurance provider, never discuss the accident with the other driver’s company. When you sustain an injury caused by the other driver, you might seek compensation from their insurance company.
In this situation, your best bet is to work with an aggressive car accident lawyer. When you hire a personal injury attorney, they handle all communication with both insurance companies.
Moreover, when you try to tackle insurance companies on your own, it puts you at a disadvantage. Companies often utilize manipulative tactics to twist your words. A good attorney knows their tricks.
What to Do After a Car Accident: Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
Now that you know what to do after a car accident in Texas, you know how important it is to act quickly. The steps you take following a car wreck are essential for a successful car accident claim.
If you sustained an injury in a crash caused by another’s negligence, follow the steps outlined in this article. When someone causes you harm, it’s important to fight for your future and hold them accountable. Pursue the compensation you need for medical bills and car repairs.
As aggressive personal injury lawyers in Houston, we help people fight for the compensation they deserve. We are your advocates against the insurance companies that want to minimize your value.
Schedule a free case evaluation with our car accident lawyers today. Call 713-913-4627 or contact us online.