What to do after a Houston car accident | Sneed|Mitchell LLP
Our Houston Car Accident Injury lawyers recommend the following 12 steps if you are in a car accident in Houston:
1. Remain at the scene if someone else was injured
If someone was injured or killed, remain at the accident scene until the police come unless you need immediate medical assistance. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury could get you charged with a Houston hit and run - a fine ranging from $500 fine, Class B misdemeanor to up to 10 years in prison.
If the only harm appears to be property damage, you may legally leave the accident scene after identifying yourself to the parties involved.
2. Seek medical attention if needed
If you were injured and need immediate medical assistance, do not wait for the police.
Call 911 or ask someone else to call for you. If someone else is taking you to the Emergency Room, make sure you leave your contact information with the other driver(s) first if you are able.
3. Move to a safe area
If it is safe to do so, move your car to the shoulder or somewhere else safe. Cars that are blocking traffic can result in further injuries to you or other people. But leave the cars where they are if moving them would be dangerous. You should also leave the cars where they are and wait for law enforcement if someone was killed or seriously injured, unless the cars pose a significant hazard.
4. Record information about the other vehicle
Once you have moved the cars (if appropriate) and/or sought medical attention for those injured, write down or photograph the license plate number of every other vehicle involved in the accident and year, make, model and color of the other vehicle(s).
5. DO NOT ADMIT FAULT
It is extremely important not to admit to any wrongdoing even if you think the accident was your fault. Do ask, however, whether the other driver is injured or needs medical assistance.
6. Do not say you are not hurt
Even if you think you were not injured, do not tell that to the other driver. Soft-tissue injuries are not always immediately apparent. Saying you are not hurt gives the other driver's insurance company an excuse to deny your claim or offer you less than it is worth. That does not mean that you should lie. A lie can come back to undermine your credibility. You can simply say you don't know and will be seeking medical attention if necessary. Whiplash and soft-tissue injuries are not always apparent right after a car accident
7. Take photos of the accident scene
If you are able to do so safely, photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved can help your lawyer or adjuster determine what happened.
It can also prevent someone from claiming that you are responsible for any damage the vehicle or property later sustains. If it is not safe to take photos of the accident scene, or if you had to leave to seek medical help, return as soon as you are able if there is a safe place to take photos. Even afterwards, photos can help your Houston injury lawyer or your insurance adjuster get an idea of what happened.
8. Make a record of your version of the accident right away
As soon as is practical, write down everything you can think of about the accident, no matter how unimportant it may seem.
Details will fade along with the shock of the accident, so the sooner you record your impressions the better.
Things to write down or record include (but are not limited to):
The time and date of the accident, The cross streets and direction of travel of each vehicle,Your best estimate of each driver's speed, The color of any traffic lights that were visible, andAny adverse road conditions (such as potholes or bad weather).
9. Document your injuries
Take, or have someone else take, photographs of any visible injuries with your phone or camera. If you seek medical attention, ask a nurse or other health professional to take photos of your injuries as well.
As soon as you can, also write down or record your own impressions of what hurts or is damaged. The more evidence of your injuries that is documented, the better your chance of getting the recovery you deserve.
10. Notify your insurance company
Many people do not file a car accident claim in Houston for fear their rates will go up. Houston is one of only two states that legally prohibit auto insurers from raising rates if an accident is not the policy holder's fault.
Furthermore, most Texas auto insurers require policy holders to report an accident promptly, especially the larger such as, Statefarm, Geico, Texas Farm Bureau an Allstate.
11. When you don't have to rush and report
The one time it makes sense not to report an accident is if no other driver was involved and your car sustained only minor damage which you can live with or are willing to pay out-of-pocket to repair.
12. Consider retaining a Houston personal injury lawyer
An experienced Houston accident attorney can help protect your rights and determine whether you have a right to compensation. A lawyer may also be able to help you find a doctor who will accept a medical lien if you cannot afford to pay for treatment. Your lawyer can also draft that is likely to get a settlement offer.
Finally, a good Houston injury lawyer knows all the insurance companies' tricks. Your lawyer can save you the headache of dealing with your own and the other person(s)' adjuster(s) so that you get the best settlement possible.
Injured in a car accident in Houston ? Call us for help…
On average, 640 people die on Houston-area roads every year, making the region, by almost any measure, the most deadly major metro area in the country in which to drive, a Houston Chronicle analysis revealed.
If you or someone you know was in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, or if you were hurt in a “pedestrian knock-down,” we invite you to contact our Houston Car Accident Injury lawyers for a free consultation.