Precautionary Measures to Take After an Auto Accident
There are about 3,800 auto accidents each day in the U.S., so it’s only a matter of time before you are in one. When that day comes, you need to know what to do for yourself and others in the accident. These tips are presented in sequence so you can create a mental checklist.
Don’t flee the scene.
With video cameras everywhere, it’s probably impossible to flee the scene of a wreck without having your license plate captured on someone’s video footage. Fleeing the scene is not only a felony in Texas, but it’s also an admission that you feel you’re responsible for the accident.
Even if it’s just a little fender-bender, if there is noticeable damage or anyone appears to be injured, call the police. As they say, better safe than sorry. Besides, an official police report may help establish liability in an auto accident claim.
Don’t tell yourself that the aches and pains aren’t an actual injury.
Always see a doctor if you feel injured or “off” in even the slightest way. Visit an emergency room, urgent care facility, or your physician’s office as soon as possible after the accident or the first sign of symptoms. If you have an injury claim, you must prove your injury with medical records, and you may even need the testimony of a physician.
The first thing you likely want to do is make sure you and those in your vehicle are okay and you are in a safe location. After that, call the police. Then check on the other driver and passengers. But avoid being confrontational (and other drivers who are). Regardless of who is at fault, at this specific time, it’s not important. Don’t add assault and battery charges (or worse) to the mix.
And don’t claim any responsibility.
Admitting guilt or saying anything that can be mistaken for an admission of guilt is foolish. It’s best to wait for law enforcement to give your witness statement and avoid trouble.
Take photos and get witness names for proof.
Taking pictures of an accident is crucial to confirm your insurance claim and support your legal arguments if you end up in court. Once you know everyone is alright and you’re waiting for the police, ambulance, and tow trucks to show up, get names and contact information of any witnesses, in a calm and mannerly way.
Don’t post about your accident on social media.
This is an extension of the “not admitting guilt” suggestion. Don’t comment on your mishap on Facebook or other similar sites. Sometimes what you innocently say can be turned around and used against you.
If you have any legal difficulties, get a lawyer.
In situations where there are no injuries and only minor property damage, your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and the insurance company isn’t an obstacle to getting your car fixed, you may not need a lawyer. Nevertheless, most personal injury lawyers who handle auto accident claims offer free consultations, and it may still help or at least give you peace of mind to speak to a few lawyers before agreeing to a settlement offer or when facing a denial of coverage or liability.
When you need a seasoned attorney to protect your interests, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Call now using (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.