What To Do and Not Do After a Car Accident in Texas (in 2021)
Knowing what to do after a car crash is an essential skill. What you do immediately following your accident can have an enormous impact on your ability to recover damages.
Here are several key actions to take (and mistakes to avoid) if you find yourself involved in a car crash either in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, or anywhere else throughout the State of Texas.
DO: GET HELP
First and foremost, figure out whether or not you or others have been injured during the accident. Call 911 to get help for those that need immediate medical assistance, as well as report the collision to the police. Contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer, even while at the scene, can aid you in protecting your claim. You can contact our Texas Car Accident Lawyers here, or call 866-434-0014.
DON’T: IGNORE THE CAR CRASH
You should ALWAYS visit a doctor as soon as possible following a car accident. You might think you’re fine, but shock and adrenaline often mask serious injuries to the back, shoulder, head, or internal organs. Be specific about what happened, make sure the doctor examines you thoroughly, and then follow the recommended course of treatment. Although some complications, like crush injuries or broken bones, other are more evasive and are symptom based.
DO: DOCUMENT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT
Make sure to take photos of the exterior and interior of all vehicles before anything can be moved from the scene of the accident. Photograph license plates, skid marks, broken glass, nearby traffic controls, and the general scene of the accident. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers, and try to collect the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
DON’T: OVERREACT AT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT
A car crash is an adrenaline-inducing event, and emotions tend to run high in the immediate aftermath. But staying calm will help you deal with the situation rationally and protect yourself. Whatever the circumstances, don’t admit fault following the accident. Don’t try to assign blame. Simply gather the information you can while cooperating with police and emergency responders. Answer their questions honestly in as few words as possible.
DO GET A COPY OF THE POLICE REPORT
Make sure you take down the name, badge number, and agency of the law enforcement officer who responds to the crash. Write down the traffic crash report number. Wait a day or two following your accident, then contact the law enforcement agency and request a copy of the report.
DON’T FORGET TO FILE A WRITTEN REPORT
Those involved in a “reportable accident”--an accident resulting in death, bodily injury, or property damage of $1,500 or more for insured vehicles, $500 or more for uninsured vehicles--have a legal duty to file a written report with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) within 10 days of the accident. The law enforcement officer that responds to a reportable accident will give you a paper form for reporting purposes, or you can go online to CrashDot.
DO COOPERATE WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY - BUT WATCH OUT
The law may not require you to report your accident to your insurance provider, but your policy itself likely does. You should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. If your insurer asks you to provide a statement, be careful. Don’t admit or assign fault and contact a lawyer to be on the call with you. An experienced Texas car accident lawyer Don’t downplay your injuries or the damage to your vehicle. Try to give only factual, unbiased information. Even your own insurance provider may attempt to downplay your accident in order to pay a smaller settlement on your claim.
DON’T HELP THE OTHER DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY
Should another insurance company contact you, be polite but cautious. Redirect them to your own insurance company or your lawyer. Insurance adjusters, whether with GEICO, State Farm, or any other, are all for-profit companies, so they don't help them lower the value of your claim. Never agree to give them a recorded statement. Never sign anything without the review and approval of an experienced Houston car accident attorney.
DO DOCUMENT YOUR ACCIDENT AND RECOVERY
Write down your account of the accident while the memories are fresh. Then, keep a journal of your injuries and document how they have impacted your day-to-day life. Keep a file of medical bills, receipts, accident reports, work records, and any correspondence with insurance representatives.
DON’T DISCUSS YOUR CASE WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OR YOUR FAMILY
Be careful about discussing your accident with anyone outside of your family. Anything you say to friends or the general public is not protected by confidentiality privileges. It is especially important to never discuss your accident on social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
DO CONTACT A TEXAS CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
Contact a qualified Houston car accident attorney as soon as possible following your accident. Statutes of limitations mean that, in Texas, personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits can only be filed for a limited time following a collision.
At Sneed|Mitchell LLP., our initial consultations are free, no-obligation, and completely confidential. We want you to get the legal help you need as soon as possible.
Our Texas car accident lawyers will fight to protect your interests. You can trust us to be your advocate. And in situations like this, you need an advocate. Even your own insurance company is out to protect its bottom line. You can trust us to investigate your case, file the legal paperwork you need to proceed, and help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Call Sneed|Mitchell LLP today or contact us through our convenient online form. It’s hard to know what to do after a car crash. We understand the stress and confusion you may be feeling, and we’re ready to help.