What to do after a crash that's not your fault

Car accidents aren’t always straightforward. If you’ve been involved in an accident where no one was injured and damage to personal property was minimal, count yourself lucky. Car accidents can have a significant financial impact not to mention the potential for pain and suffering on the part of the victims. This is why it is so critically important that car accident victims carefully document what happened and get professional help if necessary to protect themselves and their financial interests. Follow these steps to protect yourself and get professional help from an experienced Texas personal injury attorney if you have any injuries or don’t get the compensation you deserve.

Make sure you and your passengers are OK. Even a minor collision can cause some injuries. Cuts and scrapes are fairly obvious but more often than not, injuries may not show up right away. Concussion is by far the most common car accident injury. Unfortunately, its symptoms aren’t immediately obvious and many car accident victims fail to get prompt medical treatment or to take their injuries seriously. Our firm works closely with several high quality medical providers to help our car accident clients get the treatment they need to recover. If you need a referral for a treatment provider following your car accident, let us know.

Move to a safe location and call for help. This may seem fairly obvious. Turn on the hazard lights, use your emergency flares, leave your car and move away from the flow of traffic if you’re physically able to do so. If you find yourself injured, call someone to come wait with you for the police to arrive. So often, people fail to pursue medical treatment because they’re afraid of the cost.  Remember that EMT can evaluate you at the scene and determine whether you need immediate additional treatment. This is a service to which you are entitled, and you don’t pay unless you actually take an ambulance ride.

Call the police. Minor car accidents can seem fairly straightforward – enough so that you might think you don’t need a police report. If you’re rear-ended at a stoplight and the other driver apologizes or admits fault, it may be tempting to leave the scene without a professional investigation. Here’s why you should think twice. If the other driver’s insurance company has any trouble reaching their insured, your claim will not be processed and you’ll be stuck with a wrecked car. It’s common for insurance companies to not be able to reach their policyholders. If a police report has been completed, the insurance company can accept liability and move your claim forward.

Document the accident. Identify the officers who respond to the report. Make sure you get a copy of the police report. If you have a personal injury claim, you will need the police report. Take down names, phone numbers and insurance information. Make notes on what happened as soon as possible to help you recall the accident details later when speaking with claims representatives. Refer to our accident guide for help.

Take pictures! Photographs of the vehicles AND the accident scene are super helpful, especially if you have any kind of personal injury claim later on. If necessary, call a friend or family member to come snap photos of the entire scene.

Talk to witnesses. People who stop to render assistance or provide their testimony following an accident can provide valuable insight into what happened, especially if you are injured. The shock of being in an accident can leave even the most experienced driver dazed, confused and unable to immediately process the details of what happened to them. Get names and contact numbers for any witnesses who stop to help. 

Avoid discussing fault with the other driver. It’s best to let the insurance adjusters or the police determine fault for the accident based on their investigation and conversations with all parties involved. If you can calmly speak with the other driver, keep your communication simple. Get contact information and be courteous but keep the discussion about the accident itself to a minimum. Reserve that for the professionals.

Consider talking to a personal injury attorney. Although a monetary recovery will never reverse the physical damages, it greatly alleviates the financial burden that arises from a crash. Contact Chad West, PLLC as soon as possible after your accident to determine if your crash warrants pursuing a personal injury claim against the other party. If you’ve been hurt in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant or Rockwall County, you need help from a local personal injury attorney. We have the staff to handle complex cases and help you get the compensation you deserve.

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