A car accident can leave you shaken, disoriented, and confused. However, it’s important to take the right steps after an accident to ensure you collect crucial information that can help if there is any dispute about fault for the accident or difficulties with insurance.
Our accident attorneys in Houston want you to be prepared and know what to do if you’re ever in a car accident. Read on to learn what to do immediately after a motor vehicle accident and in the days following to ensure your rights are upheld.
At the Scene of the Accident
Start by taking a deep breath and remaining as calm as you can. There are several things you will want to do at the scene of the accident.
Ensure the Safety of Everyone Involved
The most important thing to do after a motor vehicle accident is to check on everyone who was involved to determine if they have been injured. If anyone needs immediate medical care, call 911 right away. Do not move anyone who has been injured unless it’s absolutely necessary to ensure their safety. If possible, move the vehicles to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic to avoid another accident.
Call the Police
Consider calling the police if anyone involved in the accident has physical injuries or if there’s significant damage to vehicles or property. A police report will give you leverage when you’re relating your version of the events or reaching a settlement, even though it may not be admissible in civil court.
Gather Information — Protect Evidence
Once you’ve determined that everyone is safe, it’s a good idea to collect as much information about the scene of the accident as possible. If the accident is clearly the fault of the other driver, they are responsible for reporting the accident. However, don’t assume that they will report it correctly. To protect yourself, you should collect the following information at the scene of the accident:
- Contact information for the other driver(s), including name, address, email, and telephone number.
- Insurance company information for the other driver(s), including name, contact information, and policy number.
- Interview any witnesses, document their stories, and get their contact information.
- Take photographs of the scene, including the license plate of the other vehicles involved, and document any damage to vehicles or private property.
Use Caution in Discussing the Accident
First of all, do not accept blame for the accident. It’s difficult to remember everything leading up to the accident and anything you say can be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company or attorney if they choose to hire one.
Following the Accident
Once you leave the scene — assuming you haven’t been seriously injured — there are some additional steps you should take care of as soon as possible.
Get a Medical Evaluation
Report any symptoms, however insignificant they might seem at the time, and have them examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t assume that you are uninjured if you don’t experience pain right after the accident. Injuries can show up days after the crash, and if left untreated they could lead to larger problems that may require extensive treatment.
Keep Detailed Notes for Any Medical Care
It’s important to keep notes detailing the type of injury you have, dates of any medical care you receive, and updates to your medical condition. To cover the cost of any necessary care, your insurance will need proof that the issues were related to the accident, and that they were properly diagnosed and treated.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Regardless of who was at fault, your insurance company will need to know about your accident in order to challenge the other driver’s insurance company or process a collision claim for your vehicle. By contacting your insurance company, you also show that you’ve made a good-faith effort at reporting your accident.
Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, it’s important to contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney to evaluate your case as soon as possible. An attorney can help you decide the right course of action to take and get the compensation you deserve if you have been injured.
Contact the legal team that specializes in automobile accidents in Houston to help with your case. With Ben Dominguez and his team on your side, you’ll have the best possible chance of getting the result you need to get your life back on track.