Austin Car Accident Dos & Don'ts
Almost everyone knows someone who has been in an accident. In fact, AAA Foundation data show that more than 1 in 8 drivers has been injured in an accident, and 1 in 3 Americans has a friend or family member who has been either seriously hurt or killed in a crash.
But hearing about a collision and actually being involved in one are very different things. The aftermath of a crash is very frightening, and you may not know what to do after a accident to protect yourself. Knowing what to do and what not to do after a car accident is smart planning in case the unthinkable happens.
There are certain steps you should take and some things you should avoid after a car accident in Texas. One of the most important actions you can take is to contact an experienced car accident lawyer like the ones at The Bob Richardson Law Firm.
Listed below are some practical tips for dealing with the fallout from a serious car accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident
- Do stop your vehicle. The law requires you to stop your car, render aid and exchange information with the other driver. Leaving the scene of an accident is called hit-and-run and it is a crime.
- Do call for medical help right away if someone has been hurt. You should also see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you aren’t sure you were injured. Not all injuries show symptoms (internal bleeding and brain damage may not, for example). You need a record of your injuries, and immediate medical help could save your life.
- Do move your vehicle to a safe location if the vehicle is movable and if no one has been seriously hurt or killed. Moving to a safe location reduces the chance that more drivers will become involved in the accident.
- Do call law enforcement. Police will come to the scene, review information from both drivers and may issue a citation. Police will also write an accident report, which may be used as evidence if there is a dispute about how the accident happened.
- Do obtain the other drivers’ contact and insurance info and provide yours. Every driver involved in the accident should provide a name, address, phone number, license number, insurance information, car registration, license plate number, and make, model and year of the vehicle.
- Do write down contact information for all witnesses. Passengers, bystanders and other drivers can all provide information on what happened if there is a dispute about the cause of the accident.
- Do take pictures of the accident scene. You can use your phone’s camera or keep a camera in your vehicle. Be sure to take pictures of the area where the accident occurred, debris or skid marks on the road, and the damage to the vehicle.
- Do collect physical evidence of anything that may have led to the car accident or made your injuries worse.
- Do write down details from the crash accident. You can draw a diagram of where and how it happened, recording the location, the time and date, the weather, any nearby landmarks and other information that you may be asked about in a crash investigation later.
- Do contact your insurance company, even if the other driver asks you not to. Failure to report your claim could jeopardize your rights.
- Do contact an attorney. The Bob Richardson Law Firm offers free consultations to accident victims and has a long track record of helping people hurt in car crashes obtain compensation for their losses.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
- Don’t panic. You should try to remain as calm as possible and get the help necessary.
- Don’t discuss the crash with the other driver, with witnesses or with anyone other than the police.
- Don’t apologize or accept blame for the crash, as there are specific legal rules that determine car accident fault.
- Don’t accuse the other driver of causing the accident. You don’t want to start an argument.
- Don’t assume that the accident was a minor one. Injuries including whiplash may not show up for 24-48 hours, and damage to the car that seems small on the surface could later turn out to be serious.
- Don’t trust the other driver if he or she promises to take care of bills so you won’t call the insurer. The driver may be lying or may not have the money, and you need to contact your insurer to protect yourself.
- Don’t count on the other driver to document the scene. Even if he or she is taking pictures, you should too.
- Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company, allow yourself to be recorded or provide any type of statement that could later be used against you. Talk to a lawyer first before you talk to the insurer.
- Don’t agree to a settlement of your case or sign any papers before you talk to a lawyer. You cannot change your mind if you sign papers and it later turns out you settled for less than you should have received.
- Don’t settle your case until you know the full extent of your injuries and future costs.
- Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. You have just two years to file a claim after an accident in Texas, and you want to begin an investigation before evidence is lost.
Get Help From a Lawyer After an Accident ASAP
The single best thing you can do to protect your rights after an accident is to call a lawyer who will look out for your interests. The Bob Richardson Law Firm is here for you if you were injured in a car accident in Austin, Waco or surrounding Texas communities.
Call us now or fill out our online contact form for a free claim review and consultation about your legal options.
The Bob Richardson Law Firm is here to help, so call us today.