After being in a car accident, it can be hard to take a step back and think logically. After all, you’ve just been involved in a traumatic experience, so it is understandable that you might not be thinking clearly.
However, it helps to have a clear mind and to take a few steps that will help immensely when preparing an accident claim or filing a legal claim against the other driver at fault. The following can help if you’re involved in a car accident and are unclear of what to do.
Pull Over and Check on Everyone in Vehicle
The first step to take is to safely pull the vehicle over to a location off of the road and ensure that everyone in the car is safe, if at all possible. If anyone is injured, it is always recommended that 911 be contacted to ensure that injured individuals receive proper treatment as soon as possible.
If it is possible, it is also recommended to ensure that others involved in the accident are safe, as well. If the other driver or passengers in the other vehicle are also injured, call 911 to get them medical attention.
Never Leave Scene of Accident
It is imperative that the individuals involved not leave the scene of the accident. It is important that all drivers involved exchange information, but also that they talk with police if they are called to the scene.
Leaving the scene of an accident can not only result in the driver’s license being revoked or suspended, but it can result in possible criminal liabilities as well.
Report Accident to the Police
After everyone is safely off of the road, the next step is to contact local authorities to come to the scene of an accident.
In fact, it is Texas law that any driver who is involved in a car accident that results in injuries or death must contact the police after an accident. Failure to report an accident involving these circumstances is illegal.
Additionally, all drivers involved in a car accident in Texas are required to provide specific information to other motorists, passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident. It is important that this information be provided at the scene of the accident and not at a later date.
This information can include name, address and other contact information for the person involved; driver’s license number; license plate number of the vehicles involved in the accident; and car insurance information for the driver’s involved.
Additional Recommended Steps at Scene of Accident
It may also be helpful to take pictures of the scene of the accident. This information can be very helpful if fault is being disputed and can be provided to insurance providers or personal injury attorney’s later.
Additionally, if anyone witnessed the accident occur, get that person’s name, contact information and an account of what he or she saw. This information may also prove to be priceless if fault is disputed later, as well.
If someone hits an unattended or parked vehicle, it is important that he or she makes all efforts possible to locate the owner of that car. If that is not possible, it is recommended that the person who struck the vehicle leave his or her name, contact information, and a note regarding what occurred on the vehicle.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if the driver feels that he or she is perfectly fine, many injuries do not manifest right away, even for several weeks after an accident.
It is best to be safe and get checked out at an emergency room or at least the person’s doctor to ensure that no serious injuries were sustained. This initial report can be used as a baseline in the event other injuries happen to manifest later on.
Texas Department of Transportation Report
In some situations, the individuals involved in a car accident may need to make a report to the Texas Department of Transportation. The driver is required to complete and submit a TDOT’s Driver’s Crash Report within 10 days of the accident if a police report has not been filed and any of the other following conditions exist:
- The accident caused injury or death; or
- Property damage to someone’s property of $1,000 or more occurred.
The TDOT must include information regarding car insurance, and this information will be then cross-checked with the person’s reported insurance company.
Additionally, after an accident, it is recommended that the driver contact his or her insurance company regarding the accident, especially if any injuries or property damages were sustained.
Many drivers hesitate to do this for fear that their insurance rates will increase, but it is best to keep insurance providers informed rather than hope that they will not find out. If the other driver reports the accident before the policyholder, it may not work to his or her advantage in the long run.
Be upfront with the insurance company, provide all information, including medical receipts and police reports when making the report.
Contact Us Today
The attorneys at Herrman & Herrman have over 100 years of combined legal experience representing injured Texas residents. Contact our office for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. Call Herrman and Herrman today at 361.882.4357.