Have you considered steps to take after a car accident? If not, let us help. Our law firm has four decades of experience helping Texans who were injured in car wrecks which weren’t their fault.
The first steps here apply if you’re preparing in advance for how to proceed after a car accident. Although you can’t plan for a crash which never may happen, you can guard against the pitfalls if it does.
First, make sure your auto insurance policy includes coverage against uninsured motorists (UM) and underinsured motorists (UIM). UM coverage protects you if the at-fault driver who hurts you isn’t insured, while UIM coverage protects you if the at-fault driver is insured but your damages exceed the limits of his or her insurance coverage.
Next, be sure to have your proof of insurance with you when you drive, as well as your driver’s license, a camera or cell phone camera and a pen and paper.
Now you’re ready if you have a crash. Post-accident, what vital steps should you take?
First, after a car accident involving personal injury, try to stay calm — and stay put. It’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident.
Turn on your hazard lights and, if possible, move your vehicle to a safe place out of traffic, unless it’s been rendered immobile or can’t be moved without causing more damage.
If you or others in your vehicle are injured, seek medical help as soon as possible by calling 911. For minor injuries, call your doctor.
Also call 911 to get help from the police. When police arrive, request that the officer make an accident report. Also get badge numbers and contact information from police officers — and be polite.
Take photos or even videos of injuries, the vehicles and the area, including traffic signs, road conditions, skid marks and positions of vehicles if they haven’t been moved. Note the weather, time of day and accident location, perhaps by photographing street signs.
Exchange insurance information (carrier and policy number) with other drivers. If possible, have the at-fault driver sign and date a statement admitting they caused the collision and are at fault. Also get other drivers’ phone numbers and email addresses. And if someone other than a driver owns a car, get their name and contact information. For commercial vehicles, note the name of the company or business. Again, be polite.
Note other vehicles’ make, model and license plate numbers by writing them down or taking photos. If possible, even get the VIN (vehicle identification number).
Find witnesses who can confirm your view of the wreck which wasn’t your fault. Get their names and contact information in the form of phone numbers or email addresses.
Have a clear understanding of what happened, and be consistent in conveying it. But don’t admit fault to anyone, including police. If you’re asked to sign a ticket, sign it — that’s the law. But that doesn’t mean you admit fault.
Also, don’t provide your Social Security number to anyone, including the police. It’s unnecessary.
Finally, try to be the last to leave the accident scene, after other drivers and even the police. You don’t want to miss something post-accident which could affect your case.
Now, what if you’ve already had a car accident and it’s too late for these tips? Well, we still have help for you.
Post-accident, what are your best steps?
First, after seeking medical help, notify an injury attorney such as those at our law firm.
Also notify your insurance carrier. But decline to talk with an insurance adjuster or sign anything from your insurer without consulting your personal injury lawyer first. And if you have the name of the other driver’s insurance carrier, notify them, since the at-fault driver may fail to do so.
Next, don’t post anything about your crash or injuries on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or blogs, and don’t send any emails pertaining to your wreck or injuries. Of course you should inform family and close friends, but do so in person or by phone.
Social media leaves a trail which a defense attorney can search to find ways to undercut your case. For instance, if you post a reassuring photo of yourself recovering on Facebook saying “I feel so much better today” right after your accident, a defense attorney may use that to argue that you weren’t hurt that badly.
Finally, if your car needs repair, take it to a repair shop of your choice, and save all receipts.
These and other things should help protect your rights after a car accident which wasn’t your fault and involves personal injury. Don’t forget to contact our law firm for help with your case, as thousands of Texans have done for the past 40 years.
In fact, call or write us today and we’ll provide you with a free case review.