What to do if you are in a Car Accident in Texas
Planning before a crash happens
No one plans to get into a car accident, but it is important to be prepared in the event the unexpected happens. First, it’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, not only for accidents, but for any sort of injury that may occur in or near your vehicle. Carrying a mobile phone or emergency call device can help in the event the police are needed. Pen and paper, as well as a camera – if your phone does not have one, is also helpful following a crash. You’ll have a lot of information to collect and it may be easier to photograph important documents than copying down all the needed information.
What do you do when an accident happens?
CALL 911 after any car accident, regardless of how serious. Many times a police officer will be dispatched to the scene of your accident if there are safety concerns or injuries reported. He or she will prepare a police report containing details about your accident. However, it is important to note that even if there are minor injuries – meaning no ambulance is needed, a police officer may not be dispatched to your location. If you can safely exchange information and medical attention is not immediately required, you may be requested to collect the necessary information on your own.
Remember, even if you did not call 911 from the scene of your car accident or if the police did not come to the scene of the accident, you need to call the non-emergency police number to report your accident and information as soon as possible. Be sure to give the police as much information as possible about the accident. Texas law requires that an official Crash Report be filed when an accident occurs that results in injury or death, or when damage to property or vehicles is more than $1,000.
Get off the road or away from oncoming traffic
After determining that everyone is safe after the accident, you need to collect information from the other driver and his or her passengers. Before you do so, it is important to get to safety as soon as possible. Many serious injuries occur to motorists standing outside of their vehicles. You do not have to leave the cars where the accident occurred if you had a minor fender bender, it’s best to move out of the way of oncoming traffic for your safety and the safety of drivers still on the road. Call 911 if you cannot move your car without causing further damage. Your insurance company may also be able to locate a tow truck to move your vehicle for you.
Watch what you say to others
Speak to the other driver only to check for injuries and get additional information. Even if you feel remorseful the accident occurred, do not admit fault or even say that you are sorry during your conversation. You may not have been the cause of the accident and this information can be used against you in court. Let someone familiar with accident investigation and the safety rules of the road evaluate your accident.
Gather the necessary information
You need specific information in order to file your claim, speak to an injury attorney, or pursue any court action. Collect the following information:
- Name, Address, and Phone number of the other driver, passengers, and/or witnesses.
- Make, model, year and license plate number of the cars involved in the accident
- Insurance carrier and policy number of all vehicles involved.
Pro Tip: If the driver’s name is different from the name on the insurance card, find out the relationship between the driver of the vehicle and the person insured.
- You don’t just need information from other drivers, passengers, and witnesses. You also need the police officer’s information. Make sure to get his or her name, badge number, phone number, and your crash report number.
- Finally, if you have the ability, take photos of the damage to both vehicles, the location of the accident, the people involved in the accident, and the weather at the time of the accident, if relevant.
Don’t be shy, offer your information to others requesting it, as well. This could speed up the claims process.
What happens after the car accident?
First, you may start to feel sore or experience pain following your accident. This is normal, and somewhat common. It’s important to seek a medical evaluation immediately. There is a limited amount of time to recover for injures after an accident. It’s important to find even the most hidden of injuries prior to resolving any damage claims.
So who pays for the damages? If the accident was minor, you and the other drivers may decide to take care of the damages without involving insurance agencies. But this isn’t always the best idea and not everyone follows through on his or her word alone.
You may need to contact a car accident attorney. Not to necessarily file a lawsuit immediately, but to evaluate your case. Brandy Austin Law Firm offers a free case evaluation. We can do so both on the phone and in person. There is no obligation to sign up as a client. The legal staff simply want to make sure you recover what is necessary for you to move on with your life.