No one wants to hear the sound of screeching tires or feel the impact of another car hitting their own. Yet in 2015, there were more than 500,000 car crashes in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. The number of car accidents in certain Texas counties are on the rise, too.
The minutes after a car accident can seem to pass in a blur. You might be disoriented from the impact of the crash or in disbelief that it has happened. Despite how you might feel, it is important to remember to follow three steps after a car accident, so that the incident is properly documented and you can receive the compensation you deserve.
One of the first things to do after a car accident is move the vehicles involved out of the way of traffic, if possible. According to Texas law, if you are able to move the cars involved in the accident, you must do so. You don’t need to wait for the police to arrive before moving the cars.
Put the car’s hazard lights on, even after you’ve moved out of the way, so that approaching drivers can see you and the vehicles. If you are unable to move the cars, use flares and hazards lights to alert other drivers and reduce the risk of further injury or damage.
Call 911 and have a police officer come to the scene, even if no one appears to be injured. In Texas, you are required to call the police if there is an injury, if the cars can’t be moved, if a driver appears to be drunk, if a driver flees the scene, or if a driver doesn’t have insurance. It can still be worthwhile to have an officer arrive to take statements and complete a police report, even if no one is hurt and no clear laws have been broken.
The police report provides a neutral, third party point-of-view, which can come in handy later in the process. According to US News and World Report, having a police report on file, even for what seems like the most minor of traffic accidents, keeps the proceedings from turning into one person’s word against the other.
It’s very important to get the other driver’s insurance information after a car accident and to provide your own information as well. In Texas, drivers need to carry a minimum of what’s known as 30/60/25 coverage. The coverage provides up to $30,000 in protection against bodily harm per person, per accident, up to $60,000 for bodily harm per accident and up to $25,000 in property damage per accident. Not having insurance results in a fine.
When you contact your own insurance company after the accident, you need to be able to give them the details about the other driver. That way, the two insurance providers can work together to determine who is at fault and who is responsible for covering the cost of damages and injuries.
The more documentation about the accident you can gather, the better. Use the camera on your phone to take pictures of the damage to the car and any injuries you or your passengers might have experienced. Take the pictures before you drive the car home or to the repair shop. Get a picture of the area where the accident took place and write down the street name or intersection.
It’s also helpful to get the contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident and to take statements from those witnesses. If people are willing to come forward and share what they saw, it can help your case, particularly if the other driver changes his or her story later on.
Go to the hospital as soon as you can after the accident and get medical treatment if you or a passenger were injured. The sooner you see a doctor, the better. If you delay getting medical help, the other side can argue that your injuries weren’t related to the accident.
Whether you are partially at fault for a car accident or not, if you’ve been injured in a crash you might be entitled to compensation. The personal injury team at Felix Gonzalez Law Firm has years of experience helping people receive the money they are entitled to after a crash. For a free consultation, contact us online or call 210-298-6666 today.