A car crash is a stressful, shocking situation, and in the moments after, it’s often difficult to think clearly. If you’re involved in an automobile accident, it’s vital to prioritize everyone’s safety and follow state laws for reporting the incident. We’ve put together a brief list of steps you can take after a car accident to make sure you’re protected. Read on to learn how you should respond to a motor vehicle accident in Texas.
Address Medical Needs
The most important thing to focus on after an accident is everyone’s safety. If it’s possible, move everybody to a safe space out of the way of traffic. After an accident, it’s important that everyone involved get the medical care they need as soon as possible. Evaluate your physical condition and check on any passengers. If you’re not hurt, visit the other vehicle to see if anybody needs help. If anybody is struggling to move, is bleeding severely, or is unconscious, contact emergency services immediately to request an ambulance.
An accident can be disorienting and anxiety-inducing, so it’s understandable if you experience response like shortness of breath, a fast heart rate, or shakiness. In order to communicate effectively and protect yourself and others, try to regain your composure. Steady your breathing and try to remain calm so you can handle the situation and get yourself to safety.
Even if you don’t have any serious injuries, it’s still vital to visit a medical professional for a checkup soon after an accident. Some injuries might not be immediately noticeable, but getting a formal diagnosis for issues like a concussion, whiplash, or even minor cuts and bruises can help you recover quickly and get evidence that may be important when pursuing legal action. Be sure to save any documentation or receipts you receive from your medical provider or health insurance company.
Contact Local Authorities
Once you’ve addressed any urgent medical needs, report the crash to authorities immediately. In the state of Texas, you’re required to contact authorities as quickly as possible if the crash renders anyone hurt, dead, or unable to drive their car. Call 911 so the dispatcher can send emergency personnel to the scene as soon as possible. Try to speak calmly and give the operator as much information as you can. Communicate where you’re located, explain everyone’s physical condition, and speak objectively.
When they arrive, police will ask you and the other driver questions to gather information and make a police report. In the state of Texas, you can request a copy of the police report, which might help a lawyer understand the basic information about the case. The police officer might also advise all parties on the next steps they should take.
If the crash is very minor and nobody has injuries or damage over $1,000, you can choose to skip calling emergency services. You can still file a CR-2 Crash Report with the state of Texas even for a minor crash that doesn’t require a police report. Filling out a CR-2 form might be wise, as this ensures there’s official documentation of exactly what happened and what injuries or damages occurred. This form asks for details about the drivers, vehicles, location, time, and order of events, and it’s important to give as much information as you can without embellishing details.
Document the Scene
While you wait for police and medical professionals, stay where you are. While you wait, it might be helpful to gather some evidence. Take photos of the scene. It’s especially helpful to photograph any damage to your car, injuries you or your passengers sustain, and the other car’s license plates. If you’re physically injured or facing severe emotional distress, it might not be possible to gather much documentation, but anything you can save could be helpful in the future to prove your case. Avoid seeking repairs for your car until you’ve talked with a lawyer.
Exchange Information and Call Insurance
Make sure you exchange information with any other drivers involved. Get their name, contact information, vehicle registration, and insurance information. Even if you don’t need to report the crash to 911, it’s vital to call your insurance company and explain what happened. If the accident was your fault, you can speak with the agent to learn if your policy covers the damage caused. If the other driver caused the collision, either they or their insurance company is liable for damages.
In some situations, it’s challenging to determine who’s primarily at fault for an accident. Sometimes, both drivers make mistakes that lead to the collision. Texas law states that if authorities determine one party is less responsible than the other, that person can seek compensation. Juries in Texas weigh the evidence of car accidents and decide on the fault using a percentage system. This means if your level of fault is 49% or lower, the other driver might owe you money for car repairs, medical treatment, or lost wages.
Sometimes, drivers want to handle payment on their own without involving insurance. Texas state laws don’t require you to report all accidents to insurance, but your policy might have specific rules. For your own protection, it’s best to inform your insurance company of any collisions regardless of the severity. If your insurance company doesn’t have a timely report of the accident, you might be liable for future damages the other party may seek.
Find a Lawyer Who Specializes in Car Crashes in Texas
After a car accident, hire a lawyer with experience handling car accident lawsuits. At Godsey Martin, PC, we help drivers in the Houston and Dallas areas recover damages after suffering from a car wreck. The aftermath of a crash can be emotionally taxing, and we aim to fight for you during this difficult time. We can help you recover damages like repairs costs, funeral expenses, medical bills, insurance payments, lost wages, or pain and suffering. The statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits is two years, meaning if you plan to pursue legal action, you must file the case within two years from your crash. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. You have the option to schedule your appointment by phone or on our website.