Seek Proper Medical Care
Your number one concern after an auto accident is likely your health. The level of medical care you require depends on the nature of your injuries, so you’ll have to decide whether the emergency room or urgent care center is the right fit for your needs.
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you should follow up with your physician within a few days after the accident. You may not experience pain right away, and may have injuries that aren’t openly obvious.
Report the Accident to Authorities
Under Texas law, you’re required to report a collision if it involves injury, death, or property damage to a vehicle that renders it impossible to drive. The statute mentions contacting authorities by the “quickest means of communication,” so you should call 911 and wait for assistance following such a crash. Police will write up a report of the incident, which may be useful if you intend to file a personal injury claim.
Many people involved in less serious crashes wonder what to do after a minor car accident in which no one was hurt, injuries were slight, or there was limited damage to the involved vehicles. In such a situation, you may not need to call 911. There also will be no police report. The law still requires you to file an accident report within 10 days if there were any injuries or property damage in excess of $1,000. This report may also play a role in your claim for injuries.
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Gather Information at the Scene
One of the most important steps to take after a car accident is to collect as many details as possible from the scene of the crash and the surrounding area. Much of your success in a motor vehicle collision will depend upon evidence regarding the fault of the other driver. Therefore, you should:
- Exchange contact and insurance information with all involved drivers.
- Use your phone to take car accident pictures, video, and notes.
- Document the area around the crash, noting the details of the roadway, curves, traffic signals, the direction of traffic, and other information.
- Talk to any witnesses, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and other individuals in the area.
- Scan the scene for businesses that may have security cameras installed, as this footage could be useful for proving fault.
This information may change or become unavailable in the days or weeks after the crash. Plus, your own recollections and those of witnesses may fade. These details can help refresh your memory in the future.
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Consult a Texas Car Accident Lawyer Right Away
Though you may realize you have rights as the victim of an auto collision, you should discuss your situation with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. You may inadvertently give up crucial information if you talk to the other driver’s insurance company, accept money, or sign any documents. You can rely on an experienced legal advocate to assist with the next steps:
Filing a Claim
One of the first steps to take after a car accident is filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. Texas law requires all motorists to carry auto insurance to cover the losses of victims who are injured or sustain property damage. There can be challenges in filing a car insurance claim after an accident because the insurer may:
- Dispute fault
- Blame the crash on you
- Contest the severity of your injuries
You should retain the help of an attorney after a car accident to help you navigate the claims filing process, including assistance with documents, medical records, and settlement negotiations.
Litigation to Recover Compensation
If you’re unable to reach an agreement on your claim, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit after a car accident. Litigation can be complex, requiring knowledge of relevant statutes, case law, court rules, and procedures covering your case. Mistakes can affect your rights or amount of compensation.