Car accidents happen to most of us. In Texas, there were 12,107 serious injury crashes, with 14,660 suffering severe injuries in 2020. If you’re in a collision, the first thing to remember is to keep calm. Take a breath so you take care of several vital post-accident steps.
This post covers what to do after a car accident to ensure your health and safety. Following these pointers also can help legally if you decide to file a claim. If you have questions about a car accident, contact The Francis Firm. Their Dallas car accident attorneys may help you file a claim and compensation for your losses.
First, check if anyone is injured and call first responders. Whether you think it’s a little fender bender or not, call 911 after any accident. In Texas, you must contact the police if there is an injury, death, or damages exceeding $1,000. If anyone is seriously hurt, you must get them immediate medical attention.
The responding police officers will complete an accident report and review the crash scene to check for injuries. If the police don’t appear, go to the closest police station and file a police report. Having an accurate police report is vital to assessing liability in the accident.
Get Medical Attention
Your health and safety matter most. After calling 911, get checked out by a medical professional. Sure, you feel fine, but how do you know for sure? Many car accident lawsuits have been wrecked because the injured party didn’t get immediate medical treatment. Insurance companies deny claims daily where the injured party refused medical treatment.
Get Contact Information
You usually need to give other drivers your name and auto insurance card. It is tempting to talk about blame at this point. It is always best to keep your mouth shut. Don’t take responsibility for the accident. This will damage your claim later.
Information you should gather include:
- Names and insurance information for other drivers
- Phone numbers for each driver
- Eyewitness contact details
- The number for the police report
- Police officer's badge number and name
Document the Crash
It is essential to document the crash scene before any vehicles are moved. Some critical details to obtain are:
- Pictures of all damages, including to other drivers’ vehicles
- Pictures of the other drivers’ license plates
- Time and date of the car accident
- Notes about what happened, such as driving conditions, weather, and speed. Scribble a diagram on a napkin or piece of paper to show how it happened. Your car insurance provider may have a smartphone app where you can document these vital details.
File a Claim
If you caused the crash, you don’t need to file a claim. However, many ‘minor’ accidents have thousands of dollars in vehicle damage. Therefore, filing the claim with your insurer and paying the deductible may be best.
Did someone else cause the accident? Then file the claim with the insurance policy for the other driver. Call your insurance company first. They can file the claim with the other insurance company.
You still may need to have your insurance pay for the accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. This often happens in Texas, where many drivers lack auto insurance. If that’s the situation, your policy’s uninsured and underinsured riders could be significant.
How Can an Attorney Help with Medical Care?
Many Texas car accident victims think a personal injury attorney can only help them with money for medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. That’s true, but a good attorney can do more.
Many medical providers hesitate to take personal injury victims as patients. They may fear a long, drawn-out lawsuit that requires them to wait months for payment. However, many personal injury attorneys are connected to a network of medical professionals.
These doctors may agree to treat you with the promise of being paid from the settlement or verdict award. But, of course, not every doctor will agree to that, so your attorney can help you get on the path to recovery.
How to Be Ready for Car Accidents
Your mental state after a car accident may not be the best. So, naturally, you will be flustered and stressed, but these tips will have you ready if an accident happens:
- Put a vehicle safety kit in your trunk that contains flares, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a small bag of tools, water, a tow rope, and paper towels.
- Place vital documents in a plastic bag in the glove compartment, including ID, car registration, health insurance, dental insurance, and emergency contacts.
Hurt in a Car Crash? Get Legal Help Today
After a car accident in Dallas, Fort Worth, or Southlake, you may be unsure where to turn. Who will help you get your medical bills paid? What about lost work time? An experienced Dallas car accident attorney can help you pay medical bills, get the care you need, and much more. Contact one of our car accident lawyers at The Francis Firm today for a free consultation.