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What To Do After A Car Accident

No matter how careful you are these days, it’s not all too uncommon to become involved in some type of car accident or other vehicle accident at some point or another in your life. And, while emotions may run high if or when that time comes, it’s best for you to take a few breaths, calm yourself, and focus on a few key steps you can take to help protect yourself afterwards.

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let me just point out that this article isn’t aimed at managing the practical or technical aspects of an accident scene, such as moving the involved vehicles to a safe place, setting out cones or safety flares, calling 911, etc. Instead, this article focuses on critical steps you can take immediately after being involved in a car accident to help protect yourself and your legal interests.

10 Things to Do after Being Involved in a Car Accident

1.  Stay at the Scene of the Accident — Though, this may seem obvious, do not panic and flee the scene of the accident. In Texas, fleeing the scene of an accident involving damage to a vehicle or personal injury or death is a criminal offense that can range anywhere from a Class C Misdemeanor all the way up to 2nd Degree Felony. Furthermore, it can expose you to much harsher damages in the event that you are later sued in a civil court for damages.

2.  Remain Calm — No matter whose fault you believe the accident to have been caused by, do not let your emotions get the better of you and become angry. Don’t threaten or harass anyone at the accident scene. Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, a jury isn’t going to feel too much sympathy for you later on at trial if witnesses or recorded video from the accident scene show you cursing the other driver involved in the accident.

3.  Call the Police — Even if there are no serious injuries, it’s generally a good idea to call the police so they can make an accident report, which you may need in order to file a report with your insurance company. In addition, once the police arrive, it’s much easier for them to control the scene of the accident, gather information, and provide instructions, as opposed to you attempting to do everything on your own.

4.  Take Pictures — Now days, almost everyone has a cell phone on them that can take and save pictures. After a car accident occurs and while waiting for the police to arrive, try to take several pictures of the scene as soon as possible before the vehicles are moved off the roadway. Take pictures of the vehicles’ positions, the damage to each vehicle, the roadway or intersection, the drivers of the vehicles involved, their insurance cards, etc.

5.  Obtain/Exchange Information — Hopefully, the responding police officers will gather information, such as the names, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy details from all the drivers and witnesses involved. But, if they don’t, make sure you or somebody else does on your behalf. Also, be aware Texas Transportation Code, Section 550.023 states that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle or the injury or death of a person is required to provide his or her name, address, vehicle registration number, name of insurance company, and driver’s license upon request.

6.  Do Not Admit Fault — Even if you believe you caused the car accident, it is best not to admit fault or guilt either intentionally or unintentionally. For example, if you tell the other driver involved in the accident, “I’m so sorry, but I didn’t see that stop sign,” you are essentially admitting that you are legally liable for what happened. Additionally, immediately after a vehicle accident, sometimes it isn’t always clear who was more or less at fault.

7.  Make an Accurate Record — Once the police respond to the scene of the accident, make sure to tell the investigating officers exactly what happened. But, state only the facts, and limits your discussion of the accident to the police. If there are certain facts you are unsure of, do not guess or try to fill in the gaps. Also, try to make sure the statements provided by any other witnesses to the accident are accurate as well. Finally, if you are unsure of whether or not you have been injured, tell the responding officers you are unsure. Often times, the pain and injuries resulting from vehicle accidents only become apparent hours or days after the actual collision.

8.  Report the Accident — No matter who you believe to have been at fault for the car accident, you should notify your own insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, and explain the facts of the accident clearly. However, under no circumstances should you ever contact the other driver’s insurance company until you have consulted with a car accident lawyer.

9.  Seek Medical Attention — As discussed earlier, injuries sustained in car accidents often aren’t immediately apparent. It’s not uncommon that people who have been involved in an accident only report feeling pain or injured days or even weeks after the incident. Therefore, unless you are absolutely certain you have not been injured, you should seek medical attention either at a local emergency room or your primary care provider.

10.  Keep a File of Records — Keep all of your car or vehicle accident-related records and documents together in a file. This information should include insurance documents, claim numbers, insurance adjusters phone numbers, police reports, receipts for rental cars, medical reports and bills, etc.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation

In many instances, probably the most important thing you should do after having been a victim to a car accident is to consult a local attorney who has experience in dealing with cases similar to yours. Having a car accident lawyer on your side can ensure that your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for your injuries and the damages you sustained in the accident. The Law Office of Mark O’Bryan takes car accident and other vehicle accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay any legal fees unless we recover compensation for your injuries. Contact The Law Office of Mark O’Bryan at (972) 372-4054 to learn more!

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