What to do after a car accident in Texas
After a car accident in Texas, prioritize your health and safety. Call emergency services and get medical attention. Then gather necessary information, preserve evidence, and contact a skilled car accident lawyer to help pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve. Follow these steps to protect your health and your claim.
Remain at the Scene
It’s crucial to stay at the accident scene. Texas law states that leaving may result in hit-and-run charges, especially if injuries or significant property damage occurs. Stay put and follow legal protocol.
If Possible, Check to Make Sure Everyone Is OK
The safety of you and others involved in the accident take priority over everything else. Once you confirm your well-being, check on other drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. If anyone needs medical attention, call for it immediately.
Call the Police to Report the Accident
No matter how minor the accident may appear, it’s essential to report it to the police. Texas law requires reporting any accident that results in injury, death, or property damage. Not only is it a legal requirement, but a detailed police report is crucial evidence for your insurance claim.
When law enforcement arrives, cooperate fully with their inquiries. Give a clear and factual account of events. However, avoid speculation or making any self-incriminating statements. The police will document the scene, note any traffic violations, and include statements from witnesses. This official report provides a neutral perspective on the accident – contributing significantly to resolving your insurance claim and any potential legal proceedings.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Getting the correct information from the other driver is a critical step following a car accident. Essential details include their full name, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance details. Also, record their vehicle’s license plate number, make, model, and color.
If there are passengers in the other vehicle, it might be helpful to get their names and contact information as well. Make a note of the other driver’s behavior and statements. All these details can be valuable during your claim process and any potential legal proceedings.
Take Pictures or Video of the Accident Scene to Help Preserve Evidence
Photograph or film the accident scene from multiple angles. Focus on vehicle damage, road conditions, traffic signs, and any visible injuries. This visual evidence can support your claims later.
Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you believe you caused the accident, do not admit fault. Determining liability often involves complex factors, and the other driver may share the blame. Any admission of guilt could complicate your case.
Do Not Post Anything on Social Media
The instinct to share our experiences on social media platforms is strong. However, you should resist this urge after a car accident. Discussing the accident, your injuries, or feelings about what happened can have unintended consequences. These posts, pictures, or comments can be discovered by insurance companies or opposing attorneys who can use them against you. They may argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claimed. They may even suggest you were at fault.
Watch what you say online until your case completely resolves, including when commenting on friends’ posts. A good rule to follow is to only discuss the accident with your attorney, your insurance company, and law enforcement.
Get Medical Care, Even If You Feel OK
Always seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you think you escaped unharmed. The adrenaline rush from the traumatic event can mask pain, hiding injuries. Some conditions – like whiplash, concussions, or internal injuries – might not show symptoms immediately but can cause severe complications if left untreated. When you visit a healthcare provider promptly, they can diagnose and treat any hidden injuries.
Your medical visit also documents your injuries, linking them directly to the accident. This medical record becomes a critical piece of evidence when negotiating with insurance companies or if your case goes to court.
Call Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurer about the accident as soon as possible. Provide honest, factual information. But refrain from making statements they could see as an admission of guilt.
Don’t Take the First Settlement Offer You Receive
Insurance companies often aim to resolve claims quickly and with minimal payout. As such, the first settlement offer they present may not fully cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs resulting from the accident. Instead of accepting this initial offer, take the time to understand the full extent of your losses. Discuss the offer with an experienced car accident attorney who can assess its worth.
Remember, once you accept a settlement, you usually cannot go back and ask for more money later. It is crucial to ensure that the compensation you receive truly reflects the losses you have suffered. Negotiating a fair settlement often requires patience – but it is crucial to your recovery.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident due to another’s negligence, choosing the right attorney is an important decision. Fleming Law offers high-quality legal representation to people injured in all types of accidents.
Our skilled legal team sets us apart from other Houston-based law firms. We have a team of board-certified attorneys, a designation achieved by a small percentage of attorneys in Texas. This signifies our lawyers’ dedication to providing the highest quality of legal services. With Fleming Law, you have direct contact with the lawyer handling your case. You won’t be passed off to a paralegal or other staff members. We involve our clients in their cases so they remain informed about critical legal matters that affect them.
With over 30 years of experience, Fleming Law has helped our clients achieve positive results both in and out of the courtroom. We’ve earned several multi-million-dollar victories for our personal injury clients. The attorneys at Fleming Law have the experience, knowledge, and determination to skillfully represent you. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.
Nicholas P. Fleming focuses his practice in the area of civil litigation. As a skilled personal injury attorney, he handles a broad range of cases including motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, workplace accidents, and wrongful death. He is licensed to practice by the State Bar of Texas and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law, earning his J.D. in 2017. Nicholas prides himself on providing personalized service to his clients, who are often facing extremely stressful situations.