If you get in a car accident in Texas, you should pull over to the side of the road, make sure everyone in your vehicle is okay, and call the police. It is also a good idea to notify your insurance company of the accident and seek medical attention right away. Not only will the latter two actions help ensure you are healthy, but they will also link the accident to your injuries.
This article will go into further detail about other things you should do at the accident scene, as well as the days and weeks following.
Typical Steps You Should Take Following a Car Accident
You never expect to end up in a car crash, but it can happen to anyone. US 75, in particular, can get really busy during rush hours, making accidents more likely. In the unfortunate event that happens to you, you should:
Stop at the Car Accident Scene
Make sure you pull over to a safe location if your vehicle is driveable. If you or anyone in your car is hurt, call 9-1-1 and be prepared to give information about your location. This could include your street, your direction, and the closest cross street. Give as much information as you can about any injuries and follow the operator’s instructions.
Notify the Police or Sheriff of the Car Accident
You will also need to report the accident to the local police or sheriff. If you call 9-1-1 and they send a car for assistance, you may be able to report the accident at that time. Under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021, if you are involved in an accident involving an injury or death, you must:
- Stop the vehicle as close to the scene as you can.
- Immediately return to the scene if you aren’t at the scene of the accident.
- Immediately determine if another person is involved in the accident and whether or not they need aid.
- Remain at the scene of the accident to provide information and render aid.
If you don’t comply with Texas law to remain at the scene and render aid, it may be a second or third-degree felony with up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail. When the police arrive to take the report, you should provide accurate and complete information.
Collect Information About the Other Driver and the Scene
If the accident only involves damage to your vehicle, you still have a duty to pull over and remain at the scene to ensure no one else is hurt and provide information. You should also take this opportunity to collect information from the other driver. This could include their name, address, driver’s license number; insurance information; and the make, model, and license plate number of the cars involved.
If you have your smartphone or a camera, take photos of the scene and the damage to the vehicles. If you aren’t able to collect information or photos because of your injuries, don’t worry. Our accident reconstruction specialists may be able to determine what happened and who is at fault at a later time.
Seek Medical Care Soon After Leaving the Car Accident Scene
If you’re seriously hurt, meaning your injury could cause death or severe impairment, or if you can’t move, seek medical care immediately. Again, call 9-1-1 and get medical treatment right away. If your injuries aren’t severe and you are able, be sure to collect the information that you can. You should then seek medical care as soon as possible.
When you receive medical treatment, be sure to document your visits, save receipts, and request copies of your medical records. An attorney with our firm can be useful in organizing and obtaining all of this information as well.
Get a Copy of the Police Report
You can later obtain a copy of your police report from the Texas Department of Transportation. You will need any of the following:
- The driver’s license number of someone involved in the crash
- The license plate number of a car in the crash
- The name of a person or company who was in the collision
- Your accident’s TxDOT Crash ID number.
Notify Your Insurance Company of the Car Accident
Whether the accident was your fault or not, you should still notify your insurance company as soon as possible. If you have personal injury protection coverage, or if the other driver carries no insurance, your insurance company may cover your medical treatment regardless of fault.
Consider Retaining the Services of a Texas Car Accident Attorney from Our Team
Our lawyers can take over your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries at home. You can count on us to:
- Gather evidence that supports your claim
- Determine whose negligence led to the accident
- Keep in contact with insurance companies and the other legal teams
- Negotiate for a settlement on your behalf
- File all paperwork in accordance with state deadlines
We will do all these tasks (and others) for you on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you won’t be charged any attorney’s fees unless and until your lawyer secures compensation for you.
Beware of Insurance Companies After a Car Accident
Of course you should follow state protocol following a car accident. If you’re wondering if there’s anything else you can do to help your case, there is.
- Don’t post anything on social media, as even a picture of you from years ago can be held against you. Just wait until your case is over to post—even if you’re “private”.
- Don’t accept a friend request on social media from people you don’t know – it might be the insurance company.
- Keep a daily journal of how you feel physically and mentally, your routine, and any details you remember from the accident. These details will make it difficult for the insurer to dispute your claim.
The insurance representative might try to get you to admit fault or say you weren’t really that hurt. Our car accident lawyers are familiar with these tactics and can work around them, so direct all communication from the other party to your lawyer.
Filing a Claim if Someone Else is at Fault for the Accident
If another driver was the primary cause of the accident, their insurance company must cover your injuries and damages. Some of which might include:
- Past and expected medical bills: For any surgeries, emergency transportation, hospital stays, pain medicine, medical equipment, diagnostic and imaging tests, and upcoming follow-up appointments
- Lost wages: For any missed opportunities, tips, bonuses, hourly pay, and other benefits
- Lost earning potential: For the hours you will miss at work or the change in jobs
- Property damage: For the repair and replacement costs of your vehicle
- Pain and suffering: For the physical pain and discomfort you have had to go through since the accident
- Mental anguish: For any mental health issues that have transpired since the accident
If your loved one succumbed to their accident-related injuries, you may qualify for wrongful death damages, which include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Final medical costs
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of financial support and inheritance
If We don’t Get the Results We Want After Filing an Insurance Claim
We can typically settle your case before trial. However, if the other party’s insurance provider won’t award you a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. If you let us know about your accident soon enough, we can comply with the two-year time frame set by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003.
Proportional Fault Could Allow You Collect Damages While Being Partially Responsible
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001, Texas is a fault car accident state. In Texas, a driver who is more than 50% at fault for an accident must take liability for the accident. In other words, Texas’s at-fault laws dictate that the person responsible for the accident is liable for the damages resulting from the crash.
If, however, you are in a situation where you are partially at fault for an accident, even if you aren’t more than 50% responsible, you may not be able to recover 100% of your damages. For example, you could have $100,000 in medical bills and property damage. The police could determine that you are 25% at fault for the accident. In this situation, you would only recover 75% of your damage award.
Because proportional fault can be complicated, consulting our attorneys can be helpful if you think you may be even partially at fault in a car accident. They can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
Get Help from Underwood Law Office Today for Your Car Accident Case
When you call our firm today, we can give you a better idea as to what you should do if you get in a car accident in Texas.
To get started on your free consultation with one of our staff members, contact us today at (972) 535-6377.