10 Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Texas
You’re on your way home from work when all of a sudden you hear a loud thump as something hits the side of your car. Your head spins for a while as you process exactly what just happened.
What do you do next? Do you drive away, afraid that you got distracted for a second and you were at fault? Do you get out of your car and start yelling at the other driver? It’s never easy to deal with an unexpected car accident. You’ll likely experience a range of emotions including confusion, stress, and anger.
After a car accident in Texas, it is important to remain calm in order to deal with the ordeal. If you become impulsive and act before you think, you may just end up finding yourself in deep water.
1. Stop and check the condition of the other party.
Your normal fight or flight response may prompt you to either stop and deal with the situation or simply flee and drive away from it all. However, it’s critical that you stay and check that the other parties involved do not have any major injuries. Find out if immediate medical assistance is needed. Turning a blind eye and choosing to ignore an accident that resulted in severe injuries or deaths may be considered a hit-and-run offense. Possible criminal penalties include fines, license disqualification, and imprisonment.
2. Inform the police as soon as possible.
Contacting the police is typically not necessary when a minor accident results in only mild scratches or dents. However, if you’re dealing with a major accident that involves considerable physical injuries, property damage, or deaths, it’s imperative that you inform the police before anything else.
Remember: If you fail to let the police know about the details of your road accident, it’s possible that you won’t be able to claim the compensation you deserve. Ensure that you keep a list of the cops, including their badge numbers, who get to the scene of the accident. Moreover, ask for a comprehensive police report later.
3. Keep your cool and avoid arguments.
Many people inevitably become agitated and argumentative after a sudden car accident, particularly if they firmly believe that they’re not at fault. Still, it’s important to keep your calm throughout the ordeal. Don’t fight fire with fire. If the other drivers and/or passengers start yelling at you, avoid saying harsh words back at them.
Tense arguments will only worsen the situation and may even lead to physical attacks and further trouble. Thus, try to remain polite, rational, and level-headed. Exchange necessary information with the other party, and promote a respectful manner of communication.
4. Provide important details.
Certain information must be shared and exchanged with the other party involved in a vehicle accident. This includes the names, home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and basic insurance information of you and the other driver/s. Also, don’t forget to ask for license numbers and license plate numbers. The passengers must also share their names, addresses, and contact details. If there are clear witnesses, it helps to ask for their names and phone numbers to support your claim evaluation later on.
Remember to share accurate details. Providing incorrect, vague, or misleading information can be considered an offense. Let the other party know if you’re not the car owner. After writing down all necessary information, try to take pictures of the accident site to also help with the claim evaluation process.
5. Do not accept or admit fault.
No matter how adamantly the other party insists that you were at fault, never state that you accept the blame. The other party may use your statements to their advantage during the claim evaluation and police investigation. It’s tough to determine the culprit of an accident right away.
It’s important to have the accident site properly investigated and all parties involved thoroughly interviewed. This process may take a while, so avoid admitting you’re at fault in the heat of the moment. Unsurprisingly, in many cases, both parties share the blame. Seek the guidance of a reputable attorney who specializes in your specific situation.
6. Stay away from advanced payment offers.
Keep in mind that filing a claim is the right course of action to take to acquire proper compensation when you get involved in a car accident. Avoid accepting any payment ahead of time from the other party. Similarly, never make an offer to the other party.
Be careful when exchanging details. You may want to consult your lawyer first if the other party asks for more information than necessary or attempts to entice you with an early settlement. Your trusted attorney will likely advise you to wait until you receive proper treatment for any physical injuries and/or debilitating mental or emotional trauma.
7. Ensure your insurance provider is well-informed.
You might think that a car accident can drastically affect your insurance premium. Nevertheless, it’s critical to inform your insurance provider if you don’t want to end up not getting adequate compensation. You’ll be surprised to know that your insurer will still find out about the accident sooner or later because if you don’t report it the other party will. Maintain cooperation and honesty when recounting the accident. Provide all important details, documents, bills, and photos requested by your insurer to experience a smoother and faster claim evaluation process.
8. Monitor your medical treatment.
Did you suffer any physical injuries that required hospital treatment? If so, it’s essential that you compile all relevant information, including the names of doctors, medical reports, bills, and receipts. Besides physical injuries, your mental and emotional well-being also matter. Put everything in a daily journal, especially if you missed work or failed to perform typical activities for a number of days or weeks due to physical injuries or mental/emotional suffering.
9. Talk to your insurer about car repairs.
If your car needs repair, discuss your options with your insurance provider first. They may tell you that you’re allowed to have your car fixed only at approved automotive shops. If you go to a non-approved shop, your insurer may refuse coverage of the repairs.
10. Ensure correct property damage valuation.
Your insurer will likely send a representative to conduct a damage valuation. Make sure proper assessment has been done. If you believe your vehicle has been valued inaccurately, you may acquire repair estimates from two different auto shops to have a better comparison. Let the claims adjuster know of any incorrect damage valuation to address the problem.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
With these steps in mind, you’ll be able to avoid costly mistakes when you get tangled in a stressful vehicle accident. Work hand in hand with yourcar accident injury attorney to obtain sufficient compensation and know the right actions to take.
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