Texas is the second largest state in the United States with a population exceeding 28 million. With the sheer volume of Texas’ drivers and the daily addition of visiting drivers, a vehicular accident happens approximately every minute. Based on reportable crashes in 2017, one person was killed every 2 hours 21 minutes, one person was injured every 2 minutes 4 seconds, and one reportable crash occurred every 59 seconds (data courtesy of the Texas Department of Transportation). These numbers serve as a reminder of just how frequent vehicle accidents are and the importance of knowing what to do if you are in one.
As they say, “Pics or it didn’t happen.” Virtually everyone has a camera in their pocket (mobile device or cell phone). Taking photographs when in an accident makes all the difference. You can use your cell phone at the scene to take photos of all vehicles involved, while in the ambulance, at the emergency room, etc. Take photos to “tell your story.” You only get one chance, so when in doubt, take a photo.
Call the police, particularly if someone has been injured. A police report of the accident will help your insurance claim and any liability claims. Ask the officer how to get a copy of the accident report and note the officer’s name and badge number. If you receive a traffic ticket, it does not mean you are guilty of a traffic offense or that you are responsible for the accident. Be aware that you may hurt your claim for damages from the other driver if you plead guilty. Consult your lawyer and insurance agent before pleading guilty to any traffic offense.
Exchange information with the driver of the other car. You should get the following information:
Make notes about the time of day, weather conditions, road conditions, street lights and length of skid marks. Also make a diagram of the accident scene noting the location of the vehicles, cross walks, stop signs and traffic signals.
Before you allow a tow truck driver to pick up your car, be sure to ask the driver how much it will cost and tell the driver where to take your car. Get the name, address and telephone number of the driver and the towing company.
Both you and your passengers should consider seeing a doctor after an accident. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. The charges for a doctor visit and medical treatment may be covered by your insurance. Don’t settle claims from the accident until your doctor has advised you about the extent of your injuries.
If you are considering a claim or expect one to be brought against you, your lawyer can advise you of your rights and responsibilities. The sooner you call your lawyer the better. Evidence and witness can disappear. Time is of the essence. Your lawyer can counsel you on how to respond to questions from insurance adjusters and help you recover compensation for your personal injuries and damages to your car.
Our personal injury attorney, Larry W. Harrison, has over 40 years of experience in Personal Injury Law. If you find yourself injured in a vehicle accident, call us at (281) 491-1300 or contact us to schedule a consultation.