A guide for what to do and not to do after an accident.
Do you remember the first time you were behind the wheel? The emotions you feel when you first drive is exhilarating, yet intimidating. We are confident these feelings intensified when you received your driver’s license. Obtaining a license means that you are legally able to drive, and driving, in essence, signifies a sense of independence and liberty. It is merely enjoyable knowing that you achieved this significant step. You know that you’ve worked very hard to obtain your license. You’ve studied plenty during the course you took, you’ve practiced significantly for your driver’s test. But with all of that preparation, nothing prepares you for what you may experience when you are officially on the road with the rest. It is perhaps an experience that no one would like to know. This experience is a car crash. This event can be an unfortunate one, but we are here to provide you with some advice if you ever find yourself in such circumstance.
Top Do’s and Don’ts after an Accident
Below are some of the things that you should and should not do when you have experienced a car crash:
Do Get Off The Road (If You Can):
You should get off the road immediately, especially knowing that you have experienced significant damage to yourself or your vehicle. You may be at risk to suffer other forms of damages because of the danger that you submit yourself when you are on the road if there is no traffic created. This means that you may perhaps be more at risk of being hit by a car that is driving at a significant speed. Also, you need to make sure that you are not obstructing traffic. The car crash that you may experience can cause traffic to slow down, and that may cause more problems to other individuals. If you can’t get off the road, wait for a tow truck or for a police officer to arrive, and try your best to be safe on the roads with significant traffic.
Don’t Leave The Scene:
Although you may be afraid that you may experience certain consequences for an accident, especially if it is determined that you are the at-fault party, your situation can worsen if you do leave the scene of an accident. You may be charged with a hit and run charge. These charges should be taken seriously. In Texas, depending on the severity of the accident, a driver can obtain fines and up to long prison sentences for committing such act. Even though you are experiencing significant stress because of your accident, this stress can increase if you do decide to leave the scene. Don’t think that you can leave the scene of an accident and not get caught, even if you didn’t experience significant damage. Perhaps the other party did experience significant damage. You must take that into consideration as well. The authorities will find you, and your case can significantly worsen, so please, do not leave the scene of an accident.
Do Gather Information:
You are required by law in the state of Texas to gather information regarding the accident you have experienced. The following are some of the essential information that you must gather to successfully submit an insurance claim: The name, the address, and other contact details about the other driver. You must know the model and year your vehicle was manufactured. You must gather information regarding auto insurance from the other party or parties involved. Also, you must note the license plate numbers of the parties involved. If you can, it is highly suggested that you take photos of your vehicle to prove the extent of damage you may have experienced.
Don’t Forget to Document Anything:
It is essential to document the most information that you possibly can. As mentioned before, you must gather vital details such as the names of the parties involved in the accident, the contact information, the license plate numbers, photographs, etc. in order to present your case to an insurance entity or in some cases, legal authorities. It is essential to do so because if you do want to press charges or if the other parties involved would like to take legal action, there must be proof that can support your claims. You know how difficult it is to deal with insurance companies. Make it easier for yourself to document everything for your insurance claim process to go smoothly.
Do Watch What You Say:
This is something most drivers don’t think about when experiencing an accident. Drivers should never admit fault because it can be used against you. Saying the word “sorry” can be used as evidence that you did admit to being at fault of the accident. But are you actually at fault for the accident? Perhaps the driver that you hit is blaming you for causing the accident, but in actuality, the driver that is accusing you is actually to blame. He or she perhaps broke some of the traffic laws and regulations, and because of that, there was an accident that happened. This is why is it is highly suggested that you should not admit fault. Saying “I’m sorry,” “this is my fault,” and other words that suggest you may be at fault may be used against you, especially when dealing with the insurance companies and the court of law.
Don’t Forget Your Manners:
We can understand how you are feeling. You perhaps were driving in a hurry because you were late to work to give out a major presentation, or you were driving in a hurry because you knew that you were going to be late to meet with a friend, which caused you to be in an accident. After experiencing an accident, your emotions are running wild. Emotions that you perhaps experienced in an accident include shock, bewilderment, anger, and disbelief. Most accidents happen at the most inconvenient of times. This can multiply the intensity of your emotions. You and the other parties involved get out of your cars, and you are perhaps ready to express your frustrations. We suggest that you don’t do this. We know that this may be difficult. Even though this might be the case, you should always remain calm. Make sure that you and others involved are safe and make sure that you contact medical professionals at the scene.
Do Call The Police (and DOT):
If a police officer has not arrived at the scene, please contact and let the authorities know that you have experienced an accident. The police officer serves as an individual that will obtain information of both parties. He or she will know what traffic laws and regulations were broken and can identify who was at fault for the accident in the police report. Some of the information that can be in the report include the names and information of the parties involved, the summaries and perspectives of what happened from each party, as well as the information about how the accident may have occurred. You must also call the Department of Transportation. Most individuals don’t know that this step must be taken. If a police report was filed, you must complete and submit a Driver’s Crash Report within 10 days of an accident. You must also complete and submit a Driver’s Crash Report if the accident caused injury or death, and if property damage of one person totaled $1,000 or more.
Don’t Neglect the Aftermath:
As we have mentioned before, your emotions are at your most intense when you have experienced an accident. You are overcome with emotions, and that can lead to stress. Even though you are in a difficult state, the best way to alleviate some of the stress is to perform the tasks needed to effectively manage the aftermath of an accident. If you don’t submit an insurance claim, contact a lawyer, seek medical treatment, your situation will worsen. We understand that dealing with the mess that comes with an accident can become an ordeal, but we can guarantee that the stress that you are experiencing will be diminished if you take these steps.
Do File an Insurance Claim:
You can ask any person about what they think about insurance companies. Most will tell you that they are challenging to deal with, and they are right. Although this may be the case, it shouldn’t have to be. To reduce some of the tedious aspects of dealing with the insurance company, it is suggested that you file such claim as soon as you gather the most important information regarding your accident. Have your insurance policy number ready. Almost all insurance companies have representatives that are available every day, at any time. An insurance representative will come in contact with you, after your initial contact, to obtain all of the details necessary to correctly process an insurance claim.
Don’t Contact The Other Party’s Insurance Company Without a Lawyer:
Some of the ways insurance companies make profits is by providing the least amount of money possible when receiving claims. This can be done if you provide a statement regarding how an accident occurred. They can question you in ways that could make your statement seem invalid or have faults. This can be used against you. For this reason, it is essential that you should contact an attorney regarding any contact with the other party’s insurance company. A capable attorney will contact the insurance company on your behalf. Since an attorney will contact an insurance company on your behalf, risks regarding obtaining proper claims and conflicts with legal representatives are significantly reduced.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
Here are some of the questions that you may have to ask yourself if faced with the decision of contacting an attorney.
Did The Accident Cause Serious Injury, Damage, or Death?
If the accident caused someone or a multitude of individuals to suffer damage to property, injury and even death, it is essential that an attorney should be contacted. The charges that can be made against you can be very severe. Multiple fines and lengthy prison sentences can occur if an experienced attorney does not appropriately represent you. When it comes to personal injury, there are many ways you can be sued and multiple charges can be brought up because of the accident if you happen to be at fault. If you were not found to be at fault, you will still need an attorney if you would like to pursue a case, particularly if it involved the loss of life. Because of these reasons, it is of great importance that you should be equipped with the best legal care regarding your personal injury case.
Were There Multiple Parties Involved?
When individuals think of an accident, they think of the most common scenarios, where only two parties were involved. In many circumstances, multiple parties were involved, not just the drivers. Loved ones in the vehicles can be affected. Also, individuals who were not in the vehicles can be impacted as well. People that were perhaps merely walking can be hurt if the vehicles reach these individuals. Property damage to a business that was possibly impacted by crash can also be a party that was affected. If you were found to be at fault, you could face lawsuits from all of these entities.You will need an attorney what will be able to fight when all of these parties decide to seek compensation for their damages. An attorney will help you reduce or help you avoid some of the costs that you must pay to the parties affected.
Were Any of the Involved Parties Uninsured?
It is perhaps one of the most unfortunate circumstances if it is found that the other party or parties involved in the accident are not insured. Some individuals have coverage in their insurance plans that protect them from individuals who don’t have insurance. What if you don’t have this form of insurance? What if you find that this form of insurance that you do have was not enough for you to pay for the damages that occurred? You will need an attorney that will fight to obtain your compensation that will be required to cover all of your losses.
Do You Need Help Collecting Evidence About The Crash?
If you decide to contact an attorney regarding evidence about the car crash, it is appropriate to do so if you believe that you need assurance about whether or not you have enough evidence to obtain compensation for the damages that occurred. You may have information regarding the accident, such as photographs and a police report, but perhaps you may not know that you can use specific evidence that you were not previously aware of. Have you heard of a “black box”? Most individuals think that this device is only found on airplanes. That is no longer the case. Did you know that your vehicle may have “black box”? If your vehicle was recently manufactured, it is most likely that you have this device in your vehicle. The device can record the speed of the vehicle at the time of the accident and may record other information that can be of use when presenting your case. An attorney can help you obtain this data through a court order. Contact us if you would like to know what other evidence you can use that you may not have known about, to present it to the courts or insurance representatives.
Are There Talks of a Trial or Settlement?:
When the possibility of a trial is presented, it can be an intimidating ordeal for many individuals. Whether you are a defendant or a plaintiff, the event of a trial can evoke certain emotions to the parties involved. A trial can be a long process, and you will need an attorney that can fight your rights if your case results in the possibility of being in litigation. Your attorney must be knowledgeable about your case, the law, and must be a great orator. There are cases in which going to trial is not needed. Therefore, the option to settle your case is presented. Resolving your case can reduce some of the stress that you are perhaps going through since you won’t have to go through a process that can be long, as well as reducing your expenses regarding your case. You will need an experienced attorney that will negotiate your case, so you can obtain a settlement that will be of great benefit to you.
Better to be prepared…
Experiencing an accident can be a stressful ordeal for anyone. There are so many changes that happen to you and the parties affected. Mental, emotional, and physical changes can occur to all involved. It can have a lasting impact. You will need to be able to navigate the aftermath of an accident, and we hope the information that we have presented may help you alleviate some of the concerns that you are experiencing as you seek legal remedies for your personal injuries. Accidents can happen to anyone. It happens to experienced drivers, and it can happen to novice drivers. When you are equipped with knowledge about what to do after an accident, as well as having an experienced attorney by your side, you will be able to manage your case regarding your accident much more efficiently.