12 Steps You Should Take After a Car Accident
Have you or someone close to you been in a car crash in Houston, Texas? Well, you might have suffered severe injuries and your emotions are high. However, you need to follow these actions at the scene of the accident and afterwards.
1. Stay at the Scene of the Accident
Don’t leave the scene of the accident until you are informed to do so. If you leave while someone has suffered serious injuries or was killed, you may be liable for serious criminal penalties. That’s because you could be labelled as a hit-and-run driver.
2. Check on All the Drivers and Passengers
Before assessing the damage on the property, you need to make sure that everyone else is okay. If anyone needs medical attention, make sure they get it. If someone has suffered back pain, neck pain or is unconscious, don’t move them until medical practitioners arrive at the scene. However, you are allowed to move them if there is a hazard forcing you to do so.
3. Contact the Police
If there is any significant damage to your property, physical injuries or death, you need to contact the police. Also, if the cops don’t arrive at the scene of the accident, you should ask for a police report to be filed. Don’t forget to ask for the name and badge numbers of the responding officers.
4. Exchange Information
Get the information of all the drivers involved in the accident. You should get their names, contact numbers, home addresses and driver’s license numbers as well as the license plate numbers. Don’t forget to ask for their insurance information too. When talking to the other drivers, you need to be cooperative and cordial.
Don’t apologize for the accident at the scene. For instance, if you apologize for running the red light, you are admitting to liability. Note that, immediately after the accident, it might not be outright clear who is at fault for the accident. Also, in various states, the fault doesn’t exactly determine the insurer to pay for the loss. Avoid admitting guilt at the scene of the accident.
5. Talk to the Witnesses
If there are any witnesses at the scene, you should ask them what they saw. Also, you need to get their information such as names, phone numbers, and addresses. If possible, you should ask the locals if they have ever witnessed other accidents in the same spot.
6. Inform Your Insurance Company
You need to inform your insurance company immediately about a car crash in Houston, Texas. Tell them the truth about the accident and cooperate with them. Don’t forget to disclose the extent of your injuries. Make sure you explain the facts clearly. You are going to be in serious trouble if you lie about anything regarding the accident and the insurance company finds out about it. For instance, they might fail to cover the accident leaving you to pay out of pocket. Get the filed police report and review it so you can identify the party at fault.
7. Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment
Keep track of any medical treatment you receive after a car accident, whether it’s from chiropractors, physical therapists, or any other medical professionals. Don’t forget to note the referrals such as caregivers. You should have a detailed account of the treatments received and medication. Ask for copies of medical reports and bills since they will be used to prove your medical expenses.
It’s very easy to document medical expenses. However, it’s hard to prove pain and suffering. You need a record showing how the car accident injuries have impacted your life. Don’t forget to include any missed workdays and list the routine activities you can’t do. Also, you should mention how the injuries have affected your normal family life.
8. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
You should take photos of the damage to your vehicle as soon as possible. These will help the insurance adjuster to determine how much compensation you deserve because of the damage to your vehicle. They will also be used as evidence in court. If you have pictures before the accident, they can used to compare and contrast the extent of damage.
9. Get a Valuation of Property Damage
Get the property damage valuation from your insurance company. If you are not satisfied with how the company has valued the vehicle, you can ask for independent replacement or repair estimates. Make sure the insurance company knows your concerns. If they don’t agree to the amount, you should hire an attorney or seek mediation.
10. Be Cautious When Discussing the Accident
Don’t talk to anyone else about the accident, besides your lawyer, police or insurance company. Don’t speak to other insurance agents besides from your own company. If they contact you, ask them to talk to your lawyer or your insurer.
11. Be Careful About Early Settlement Offers
Don’t accept any insurance settlement you receive without further probing. First, you need to make sure that all your physical injuries have been treated. Keep in mind that some injuries might now show up until weeks, months or days later. Don’t settle for any amount until you are sure that you will be compensated for all your injuries. Always consult your attorney before accepting a settlement.
12. Hire an Attorney for Your Car Crash in Houston, Texas
If you have been injured in the accident, you need to consult an experienced attorney. The best attorneys will ensure that you are compensated for the injuries or receive fair judgment if you are at fault. Most of these attorneys work on a contingency basis so you will pay their legal fees after you have received your damages. Call the experienced attorneys at McDonald Worley and schedule a free case review.