What to Do (and Not Do) After a Car Accident
You’ve Been in an Auto Accident: What’s Are Your Next Steps?
If you’ve ever been in an auto accident, you know the shock that comes with it. It’s a chaotic scene. You are injured and your car is damaged or maybe totaled. You don’t know what happened to the other driver in the accident. For that moment, all you can do is sit there in the driver’s seat and collect yourself.
However, what you do next can largely determine what happens with the auto insurance company, health insurance company, as well as the doctors and hospitals that you will visit.
Things to Be Aware Of.
Texas statutes govern the so-called “Rules of the Road.” However, not everybody follows them. And when you are involved in an auto accident, here are a few things to keep in mind:
At the Accident Scene…
- CALL 9-1-1. In event of a severe accident, call 911.
- GET A POLICE REPORT. However, auto accident attorneys in the Dallas area have noticed that police are generally dispatched to major accidents. They will only make a report if there are injuries, a car needs to be towed, or when one of the drivers is intoxicated.
- EXCHANGE INFORMATION. Get insurance information. But also get the name, address, telephone number and drivers license number of the other driver. This is just as important (if not more important) than the insurance information. If the other party is not willing to exchange information, then call the police and they will come to help with the exchange.
- DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT SCENE. Take photos of the cars and the accident scene in general. If you have a dash-cam, be sure to preserve the video.
- DO NOT ADMIT FAULT. Simply saying “I’m sorry” to the other party can be admissible as evidence that you are at-fault in the accident.
- DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING. Even when you are the hospital, do not sign their forms. They cannot refuse treatment because you refuse to sign. Just politely tell them that you are not in a position to read and think about those matters right now.
- DO NOT GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT. Insurance companies try to get a jump on their investigation by contacting the drivers and witnesses after an accident. They do this because they want to question you before you “lawyer-up.” Never, ever, ever agree to give a recorded statement before consulting with an attorney.
Then, Call an Auto Accident Attorney.
Why do I need to call an attorney? Simple! As soon as the accident happened, certain things are set in motion. Whether you know it or not, you are now involved in a legal claim. Everyone else is looking out for themselves. You need to move quickly to protect your rights. Insurance companies are trying to protect their best interests. Even hospitals and doctors are looking for ways to get a part of your settlement.