Statistics show that most of us have been involved in an automobile accident, whether or not you have been behind the wheel, at one time in your life. Car accidents are always unexpected, that is why they are called “accidents”. Being involved in a car accident in Texas is frightening, and legal issues are certainly not on your mind during the first few moments after the crash. Nevertheless, the actions you take, starting immediately after the accident, can have a substantial impact on what will happen to you in the legal system. While you can’t foresee getting into an automobile accident here in Texas, you can be prepared by following these 7 crucial steps to protect your legal rights when involved in a Texas automobile accident:
1. Stop Your Vehicle. It is state law in Texas to stop your vehicle in a safe location immediately following an automobile accident. You should not move your car unless it is creating a dangerous condition or if the police order you to move it.
2. Call 911. Calling 911 serves two important purposes. First, having the police investigate and prepare a police report will help establish who was at fault for the car accident. The police report is crucial because insurance companies rely heavily on the police report when reaching a determination of fault. Without a police report, determining who is at fault becomes a “he said, she said” battle between the two drivers. Second and most importantly, calling 911 is an immediate request for medical attention at the scene of a car accident, if needed. If a person is seriously injured in an automobile accident, then the first few minutes following a car accident can make the determination of survival or death.
3. Preserve Evidence. As discussed above, do not move your vehicle unless it is creating a dangerous condition or if the police order you to move it. The final resting point of your car is important to know in order to reconstruct the accident and determine fault. If possible, take photographs of all vehicles involved and the scene of the accident. Later, take photographs of any visible signs of injury such as cuts, bruises, abrasions, bumps, etc. Additionally, you can preserve evidence at a car accident scene by identifying any eyewitnesses and gathering from each witness their name, address, and telephone number. Photographs and independent witnesses are the two strongest pieces of evidence to rely upon during a personal injury claim.
4. Get Other Vehicle Information. If the police have not arrived at the scene of the car accident, then it is vitally important for you to get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, registration number, detailed description of the vehicle, name of the automobile insurance company and the insurance policy number. This information is vital to establishing a timely insurance claim for automobile accidents in Texas.
5. Seek Immediate Medical Attention. If the car accident was anything other than a minimal impact collision (i.e. fender bender) and you have symptoms of any injury, you should be examined at a local hospital emergency room. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) can transport you from the scene of an accident or you can decide to go yourself. If any symptoms arise later, seek immediate medical treatment at the emergency room or contact your family doctor. It is always important to remember, the primary concern after an automobile accident should always be on your well being and health, and not on holding a tortfeasor responsible for your damages. This can be accomplished later by an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney.
6. Immediately Contact Your Insurance Company. In Texas, your car insurance policy requires that you promptly report all car accidents to your insurance company. Make sure that you call as soon as you can. You can always find a toll free number on your insurance card.
7. Consult With An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney. You should choose a Texas attorney who emphasizes on personal injury and car accident cases to get proper representation. You should never choose a general practice attorney. Always remember this famous quote: “Jack of all trades, master or none”. Depending on the accident and the seriousness of your injuries, you may not need to retain an attorney to represent you. Nevertheless, it will not cost you anything to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. The time immediately following a car accident is the most vital time to conduct an investigation of the accident scene, interviewing of witnesses, and engage in consultations with expert witnesses to reconstruct the accident scene to prove who was at fault. Most importantly, an experienced Texas personal injury attorney will immediately contact the insurance companies for you and the adverse vehicle to preserve all of your legal claims that have arisen in this motor vehicle accident.
Through our experience, the Humphreys & Peterson Law Firm has built a strong track record of helping injury victims in their pursuit of justice and will assist each and every client in obtaining fair compensation for injuries sustained in car accidents. The Humphreys & Peterson Law Firm is dedicated to providing quality service and personal attention to each and every one of our clients.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident in Texas, you should immediately consult with an experienced Texas Personal Injury Attorney to answer your questions, explain your rights, and help you pursue justice.