What To Do After a Texas Car Crash
A step-by-step legal checklist for how to handle a car, truck or motorcycle accident in Houston, TX
Having a car accident is frustrating, if you’re lucky, and life altering if you’re involved in a serious crash. Obeying all of the necessary Texas laws that concern what to do after an auto accident will help make things easier all around, especially if you choose to pursue a car crash injury claim down the road.
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It’s extremely important that you contact a qualified car accident attorney near you to discuss your case as soon as possible. If live in the Houston area, contact our personal injury lawyers immediately to schedule a free consultation.
For now, let’s rewind and go over all the steps you should take immediately following the accident...
You’re driving along listening to your favorite song when out of nowhere comes another car. Screeeeeeech! Crash! It all happens in the blink of an eye.
1. Check for injuries
Even though an accident is a frightening and stressful scenario, it will help you to stay as calm as possible. First, take a deep breath and assess your body. Can you see or feel any obvious injuries? Are you able to stand and get out of the vehicle?
Next, if you feel okay, check on the passengers in your vehicle. Then, see if the other driver and their passengers are injured.
2. Dial 911
Always call 911 to get help for anyone who has sustained an injury and use caution when trying to move an injured person, or get someone else to make the call if you’re unable to.
Be sure the dispatcher knows about any injuries or fatalities you can observe, including you own, and make sure he or she aware of any hazards that emergency medical services and police should know about before they arrive such as leaking fluids, broken glass or fiberglass and accident victims who are possibly disoriented.
The dispatcher will ask your location. Use the closest address or mile marker. Also, describe the direction you were traveling and which side of the road your vehicle is on.
Although Texas law does not require you to call 911 for minor accidents, it’s always better to call as this step helps ensure you have a record of police and EMS contact.
3. Stay at the accident scene
While you wait for police and an ambulance to arrive, be sure to stay put. Never leave the scene of an accident. Texas imposes severe penalties for fleeing the scene of a serious accident that involves the possibility of a license suspension.
If you must move your vehicle, make sure you're not blocking traffic in the process. The last thing you want is a situation that involves a second collision because someone was unable to navigate around your car. Do your part to keep the scene as safe as possible until the police arrive.
4. Follow police instructions
Once the authorities arrive at the scene, focus on following their instructions. They are professionals who know what they’re doing. Answer any questions they ask honestly and stay at the scene until they tell you it’s okay to leave.
If they instruct you to go in an ambulance to the hospital, then do so.
5. Gather information and take photos
Evidence is essential if you wish to prove that another driver caused your injuries. Some of the damages you can claim include medical expenses and lost wages, as well as damage to your vehicle. It’s important to document everything now to help make your case down the road.
Before you leave the accident scene, be sure to write down the necessary information and take photos of the crash scene. You can use your phone camera if possible.
Here’s a list of the information that you’ll need to record:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information from the other driver and their passengers
- License plate numbers of all involved vehicles
- Names and contact information for witnesses who saw the accident
- Photos of the accident scene, including both vehicles from multiple angles
Photos and videos of the accident scene can help add weight to your case. Some of the things that you can document this way include evidence of an intoxicated driver, road obstructions or potholes, the weather and the positions of vehicles. One of the most important reasons to document your evidence is to help protect yourself against another person involved changing their story.
A police report will be filed and sent to you within 10 days. Crashes where a report is necessary include when there’s more than $1,000 in property damage, a fatality or a serious injury.
6. Contact your insurance company
Your auto insurance policy represents a binding contract between you and your insurance company. One of your obligations is to notify the company immediately after an accident, regardless of who caused it. Reporting even a minor accident will help provide you greater protection if the other driver decides to file a claim against you.
Any delay in notifying your insurance company after an auto accident can have serious financial and legal consequences. It’s much harder for an insurance company to investigate a claim if you wait to initiate contact with the insurer.
The sooner you take the initiative, the sooner you’re likely to see a resolution to your case.
7. Seek medical attention
One thing many accident victims don't realize is that they can sustain injuries that lack immediate symptoms. The adrenaline rush you feel immediately after an accident might make it harder for you to notice chronic injuries like whiplash, for instance. Concussions are another example of injuries that may not have symptoms for several days following the accident.
For this reason, it’s important that you get checked out by a doctor shortly following a car crash, even if you feel okay. This will help ensure that you can prevent further injury.
Failing to treat an injury after an accident might result in worsening condition. Another reason to seek medical attention is that an insurance company might question whether the accident caused your injuries if you wait too long to see a doctor.
8. Contact a car accident attorney
Finally, if your insurance claim was denied, or the accident settlement falls short of your injuries and damages, it may be in your best interest to contact a local personal injury attorney who specializes in auto accident cases like yours.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident around Houston, contact our Texas auto accident lawyers immediately to schedule a free consultation. With our No Fee Guarantee, there’s no commitment on your part. Just answers. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
In the meantime, we invite you to check out the following free Car Accident Resources to continue preparing for your case: