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What to Do When You Get in a Car Accident: Your Step-by-Step Guide

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What to Do When You Get in a Car Accident: Your Step-by-Step Guide

what to do when you get in a car accident

Car accidents are hectic and traumatic affairs. In the immediate aftermath, victims are often left hurt, confused, and wondering what to do after a collision. Whether it’s a minor fender-bender or a more serious collision, knowing what to do when you get in a car accident is crucial, as the steps that you take following a car accident can have an impact on your health and safety — as well as your personal injury claim.

This guide aims to equip Houstonians with a step-by-step approach to handling a car accident, taking into account relevant Texas state laws and statutes.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you’ll need the best car accident lawyers Houston has to offer if you want to make sure that you get what you deserve. The personal injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here to guide you through the legal, financial, and physical and emotional toll that often results from a car accident.

Call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta today at (713) 224-7644 to get the car accident help you need.

What is the first thing you do in a car accident?

In the split second when a car accident occurs, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and disoriented. However, the first priority is to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Here’s what you should do as soon as the accident happens:

  1. Check for injuries. Before anything else, assess yourself and others for any injuries if you are involved in a collision. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately. Even seemingly minor injuries should be attended to promptly (Learn more: how to detect signs of internal injury after a car accident).
  2. Move to safety. If the vehicles are obstructing traffic and it’s safe to do so, move them to the side of the road to prevent further accidents. Turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers.
  3. Call the police. In Texas, it’s mandatory to report any car accident that results in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Even if the damage seems minor, it’s advisable to involve law enforcement to document the incident.

What to do immediately after an accident

Once the immediate safety concerns have been addressed, there are specific steps you should take to ensure a smooth post-accident process:

  1. Exchange information. Exchange essential information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This includes names, contact details, insurance information, driver’s license numbers, and license plate numbers. Be sure to note the make, model, and color of the vehicles involved as well.
  2. Document the scene. Take photographs of the accident scene from multiple angles, including the vehicles involved, any visible damages, skid marks, and traffic signs or signals. These visual records can be invaluable when filing insurance claims or seeking legal assistance.
  3. Avoid admitting fault. Whether you need to know what to do after a car accident that is not your fault, or what to do after an accident that is your fault, it’s best to avoid admitting fault altogether. Refrain from admitting fault or assigning blame at the scene of the accident, even if you believe you may have been responsible. Navigating Texas at-fault accident laws can be complex, and is best left to legal professionals.
  4. Gather witness statements. If there are witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information and a brief statement regarding what they observed. Their testimony can provide valuable corroboration of events.
  5. Notify your insurance company. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident. Remember that Texas follows a “fault” system for car insurance, meaning the at-fault driver is responsible for covering the damages.
  6. Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t initially feel injured, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly after an accident. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal trauma, may not manifest symptoms immediately. A medical professional can evaluate your condition and provide necessary treatment, as well as document any injuries for insurance and legal purposes.
  7. Contact a Houston car accident attorney. In the aftermath of a car accident, navigating the legal complexities can be overwhelming, especially while dealing with injuries and property damage. Contacting a Houston car accident attorney as soon as possible can provide you with invaluable guidance and representation.

How to exchange insurance information

In Texas, exchanging insurance information is a vital part of the post-accident protocol. What happens after a car accident with insurance information is fairly straightforward:

  • Share relevant details: Exchange information such as the name of your insurance company, policy number, and contact information with the other driver(s) involved. Likewise, obtain the same information from them.
  • Verify coverage: Make sure to verify the validity of the insurance information provided by the other driver(s). You can do this by contacting their insurance company directly or using the Texas Department of Insurance’s online verification tool.
  • Cooperate with insurers: Provide your insurance company with all requested information and cooperate fully with their investigation of the accident. Keep records of any communications or documentation related to your claim.
  • Seek legal advice: If you encounter any difficulties or disputes during the insurance claims process, consider seeking legal advice from a qualified attorney. They can help protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages.

If you’re wondering how long you have to report a car accident to your insurance company, in Texas, it’s generally recommended to report a car accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours; however, there’s no strict time limit mandated by law. It’s in your best interest to notify your insurance company promptly to initiate the claims process and ensure timely assistance with any damages or injuries resulting from the accident.

Continue reading: What to do if the insurance company is taking too long to fix my car

Steps to take after a car accident (once you’re safe and at home)

Now, you’re at home after your car accident. You’ve already spoken to an attorney and you’re wondering what you can do in the meantime to help your case. While the situation is mostly out of your hands, we’ve got a few tips for how you can pass the time.

  • Make sure you’re happy with the law firm you choose to handle your personal injury car accident case. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. This is especially true if the law firm you’re speaking to tries to force you in a certain direction, attempts to charge up-front fees, or doesn’t communicate well.
  • Your health and well-being should be your top priority. Continue to seek medical care if you incur injuries. Check-in with a doctor even if you don’t have obvious injuries. It is extremely wise to visit a doctor after you have been involved in an accident. Consider doing so even if you show no signs of major injuries. After a car accident, symptoms of injuries may not be immediately apparent. They may show up days or even weeks post-incident.
  • Request (or have your lawyer request) a copy of the police report. Juries and judges are more likely to favor the unbiased report of a police officer.
  • If you or a loved one has been injured, have your lawyer help you review the types of personal injury claims available to you. These can vary depending on the type of injury you or your loved ones sustained, who was at fault for the accident, the types of vehicles involved, and whether or not a loved one passed away as a result of the accident. For example, depending on your case, you may want to work with a Houston truck accident lawyer, or you may have to start learning the answer to the question, “What is a wrongful death lawsuit?”
  • Focus on recovery, be with your family, and let the team at Grimes & Fertitta support you as you stand your ground.

Don’t know what to do after a car accident in Texas? Call Grimes & Fertitta

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of modern life, but being prepared can make all the difference. If you find yourself in a car accident in Houston, remember to prioritize safety, document the scene, and exchange insurance information with the other parties involved. And if you encounter any legal challenges along the way, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from experienced professionals.

At Grimes & Fertitta, we understand the complexities of car accident cases in Texas and are dedicated to helping our clients navigate the legal process with confidence. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call our Houston office at (713) 224-7644, or book your free online consultation to discuss your case. We’re here to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

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