Car accidents are both terrifying and stressful. In a matter of seconds, you may be overwhelmed by questions and thoughts about what happened, whether the passengers are okay, what damage was done to your vehicle, who is at fault, and more.
For this reason, it’s important to know what to do immediately after an accident to make sure everyone involved is safe and that proper steps are taken to make a claim for compensation.
Steps to take after a car accident
Step 1: Immediately stop the car and get help for the injured
First, check to see if anyone involved in the accident has been injured. Call 911 if urgent medical attention is needed.
Step 2: Safely move the involved cars off the road
If no one is hurt, get to a safe place and park the cars off the road for safety. Turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers. If it’s dark, fetch a flashlight to help you see better.
Step 3: Exchange information with the other driver
You should get as much information as possible, in case you need it later. Record the date and time of the accident, collect information from witnesses and get the other driver’s data, including:
- Name, address and telephone number.
- Insurance company name and policy number.
- License plate number.
- Description, make and model of the vehicle.
Step 4: Contact the police to file an official report
You should call the police and file an official report, even if there are no serious injuries or damage to the vehicles. You’ll need this report if you decide to file an insurance claim for compensation. When talking to the police, only cite the facts without assuming details. Don’t admit fault or blame the other parties involved, as police reports are only used to capture facts.
Step 5: Get in touch with your insurance company
Call your insurance company and inform them that you’ve been involved in a car accident. Provide them with the other driver’s name and insurance information. Answer your insurer’s questions honestly. Don’t try to mislead them about what happened because it could weaken your claim. You’ll need your insurance company to defend you if the other driver files a claim against you.
What kind of damages can I claim for my injuries?
Here are the different types of damages that can be recovered for car accidents:
Bodily injury or medical expenses
Bodily injury and medical expenses are a key component of financial damages for car accidents. These include any costs resulting from the accident and the estimated costs of future medical care and treatment:
- Ambulance costs
- Health center stays
- Necessary home care
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Medical appointments
If the accident results in damage to your personal property, you may be able to file a claim for replacement or repairs. Usually, the most obvious property affected is the car itself. But other property claims may include shoes, clothing, jewelry and other items.
Pain and suffering
The pain and suffering experienced by the victim of a car accident is part of intangible non-financial damages. The law considers pain and suffering due to the accident, along with injuries.
Loss of consortium
If the accident causes disability, preventing you from enjoying the normal affection of a spousal relationship, you may be eligible for a loss of consortium claim. However, compensation can only be obtained if the victim is successful in his/her personal injury claim, as the worthiness of loss of consortium depends on it.
Determining fault and liability for the crash
Because Texas is an at-fault state, who’s at fault in your accident must be determined before an insurance claim can be filed.
How is liability determined in Texas?
The person who pays for damages in Texas is the one who caused the accident. This is due to the fault-based car insurance system in Texas. Under this system, the person at fault for causing the collision will be liable for subsequent damages.
Who is at fault in a crash?
The fault for a car accident generally lies with the driver who violated a rule or breached a duty of care to other drivers. Rule-breaking often causes preventable car accidents in Texas.
Common examples include breaking the speed limit, texting and driving, drunk driving, making unsafe lane changes, making illegal turns, racing or reckless driving, and falling asleep at the wheel. If a driver is guilty of any of these negligent acts, he/she will be deemed at fault for the car accident.
Car accident claims and recovery of losses in Texas
To settle a Texas car accident claim, it’s best to hire an attorney and pursue the matter legally. To succeed in negotiations, you’ll need legal representation to provide the correct and most appropriate details to the insurance company. The claim must be filed before the two-year mandatory statute of limitations expires for personal injury claims in Texas.
Your car accident attorney will contact the other driver’s insurance company and work to secure the highest possible compensation for you.
At the Law Offices of Trujillo Sanchez, our car accident lawyers can help you with your claim. Call (972) 529-3476 for a free consultation today.