In the aftermath of a car accident, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Your adrenaline is pumping, you’re disoriented, and you may be recovering from the shock of impact. But while it’s not always possible to prevent a crash from happening, there are things you can do to make sure you’re prepared. Below, we explain what to do after a car accident in Texas and how you can protect your rights.
Check for Injuries
It’s important to stay calm and think clearly. Take a deep breath, and check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If you feel okay, check to see if the other drivers or passengers are injured.
Move to a Safe Area
Make sure to get out of harm’s way. Turn on your flashers or move your vehicle to the side of the road so that you’re not blocking oncoming traffic.
Even if you or the other drivers are not seriously injured, you should always call 911. You need to obtain a police report of the incident in order to file a claim with your insurance company.
Inform the dispatcher about any injuries and hazards, such as broken glass, debris in the roadway, or leaking fluids. You should also describe the direction in which you were traveling and where the vehicles are currently located.
Stay at the Scene
You should never leave the scene of an accident. Texas imposes harsh penalties for fleeing after a car crash, including the possibility of license suspension. Keep the scene as safe as possible until law enforcement arrives.
Report the Incident to the Police
When the police arrive, they will complete an accident report. Tell investigating officers everything you know about what happened. Provide descriptions and show them pictures on your phone, if possible. Do not guess or misstate facts of the crash. If they ask you if you are injured, and you don’t feel any pain, you can say you’re not sure. Sometimes injuries take hours or days to manifest in symptoms.
Take Pictures and Video
Document the scene as well as possible. Take pictures of the vehicles, people, and the surrounding area. Note the weather and geography around you. However, do not interfere with an ongoing investigation. If the police set up barriers and you are unable to take pictures of the scene right away, go back later to take them if possible.
In addition to gathering images, you should obtain information about the people who witnessed the accident or were involved. You can take pictures of their driver’s licenses or have them write down information on a notebook. Some of the information you should obtain includes:
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of other drivers and eyewitnesses;
- Insurance information of everyone involved; and
- License plate numbers of all vehicles that were involved.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company and report the accident. Many policies require that you notify them immediately after a crash. This can provide valuable protection if the other driver ends up filing a claim against you. Delaying this could have serious consequences, and make it harder for your insurance company to investigate a claim.
Seek Medical Attention
The adrenaline you experience immediately after the crash may mask some of the pain of your injuries. You may not notice symptoms until days or weeks after the incident. For example, concussions are particularly hard to identify after a car crash, because symptoms usually don’t appear until later. That’s why the sooner you see a doctor, the better.
Even minor accidents can result in serious injuries. So even if you feel that you are okay, you should always see a doctor to make sure you don’t worsen the condition. Medical records will also provide valuable evidence in a car accident claim.
Keep Records of the Accident
Keep a folder or file with all accident-related information so that you can show it to your insurance company and your attorney. Include your claim number, the name of the claim adjusters on the case, phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for all expenses, and medical documents from any providers you see. You may also want to keep an injury diary, where you keep track of your symptoms and note whether they lessen or worsen as days pass.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney
When it comes to knowing what to do after a car accident, perhaps one of the important items on your checklist is to contact an injury attorney. Your attorney can ensure that you protect your rights, preserve evidence, and are aware of your legal options. Contact Brylak Law to learn more about how we can help.