Every single day, people in Texas are injured in car accidents. In 2017, there were 14,202 serious injury crashes in Texas with 17,582 people sustaining a serious injury. In Texas:
- 1 person is killed every 2 hours and 20 minutes
- 1 person is injured every 1 minute and 59 seconds
- 1 reportable crash occurs every 57 seconds
(2016 Crash Facts – Texas Department of Transportation)
While no one expects to get into a motor vehicle accident, there is a chance that you or a loved one will experience a motor vehicle accident at some point. It helps to be prepared in the event you are involved in an accident. The following is an overview of practical advice we offer to help you to know what to do after you have been involved in an accident.
1. Stop, Don’t Leave the Scene of the Accident and Make Sure Everyone is OK
If you are able to safely pull off the side of the road, do so. Check to see if anyone in the vehicle is injured. If there are injuries, the first call you should make is to 911. Provide the operator all relevant information, including your location or the nearest street address. The #1 concern in an accident is your health and safety and those of your passengers and others involved in the accident.
Go to the hospital if you have or suspect that you have a significant injury. If you do not feel that you need to immediately go to the hospital, you should follow up with an urgent care facility or your primary care doctor as soon as possible following the accident.
2. Always Call the Police
You should always call the police in the event of an accident. We can’t count the number of times a potential client contacts us and informs us that they agreed with the at-fault party to not call the police. “Let’s just exchange insurance information” is what a driver who is at-fault will try to tell you. Don’t make that mistake. You should always call the police and attempt to get them to respond to the scene. A crash report from the responding police officer will corroborate your version of events as to how the accident happened and who was at-fault for causing the accident.
Further, failing to report an accident resulting in injury or death is a crime. Texas Transportation Code requires the operator of a motor vehicle involved in an accident that results in injury or death to immediately stop the vehicle, remain at the scene, give information and render aid.
When the police arrive, you should provide accurate and complete information. You should not admit fault in the accident even if you think you are at-fault. Please be respectful to the police officers, even if the police officers are not being respectful to you. You will be given an accident information card and you will be able to receive a copy of the report a few days after the accident. Most accident reports are available online.
3. If the Police Won’t Come, File a Report Under Texas Law
Sometimes, the police will refuse to investigate an accident if the vehicles are not significantly damaged and the persons involved in the accident do not have serious medical injuries that need immediate attention. Still, you should always call the police and try to get them to investigate no matter what. However, if they will not investigate, then you need to file your own report with the police. These reports are often called “Blue Forms” or a CR-2 report.
Texas law requires the driver to submit a CR-2 Blue Form Report for all accidents resulting in injury or death or when the damage to property or vehicles is more than $1,000 if law enforcement does not come to the accident scene or complete a report.
4. Gather as Much Information as Possible
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, you should gather as much information as possible about the other driver. Get the driver’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number and insurance information. Take photos of the other driver’s license and insurance card. If the other driver admits fault or makes any other admissions, make mental note of exactly what the driver said about the accident. Gather whatever information you can to help your case without being rude or disrespectful to the other driver.
Independent witnesses often make or break a car accident claim. If someone is nice enough to stop and act as a witness, please get that person’s name, address and telephone number. Don’t count on the police to record the names and numbers of your good witnesses.
Take photos and videos. Take photos of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. If you have cuts, bruises, or other injuries and are in shape to take photos, do so. Have a loved one take photos of you at the ER if you go to the hospital following the accident. Likewise, take videos to document the accident scene and your injuries.
Take detailed notes of the accident and your interactions with others. As soon as possible, write down all of your interactions with the driver and the police officer. Write down anything important that you can remember about the accident and your injuries.
Gather all of your personal belongings before leaving the scene if you are able. Often times, the car will be taken to another location by a wrecker and you will not have access to your vehicle for several days following an accident.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company
You should notify your insurance company shortly after the accident. Even if the at-fault driver’s insurance will be responsible for your property damage and injuries, you should notify your insurance company. When you notify your insurance carrier, they will help investigate the accident for you. Even though you should contact your insurance company, don’t allow them to take a recorded or written statement before you meet with an attorney to discuss the accident. There may be additional coverage available to help with your medical bills, like Personal Injury Protection, that can be triggered by notifying your insurance company.
6. Don’t Give a Statement to the At-fault Driver’s Insurance
You will most likely be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company shortly after the accident. The first thing you need to know is that the insurance company is not your friend. They have two goals.
Goal #1 is to deny your claim in its entirety. If they can deny your claim, for instance, by blaming you for the accident, then they will do so.
Goal #2 is to minimize the value of your claim if they can’t accomplish Goal #1.
So, you should never give any sort of written statement or recorded statement to the insurance company. You should assume in every conversation with the insurance company that they are working towards achieving their goals and not yours.
7. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Promptly
If you are significantly injured in an accident, the first call you should make after your immediate medical needs are taken care of is to a qualified personal injury attorney. A good personal injury attorney can help you deal with the many issues that are going to arise after your car accident. A good personal injury attorney can help you get the medical help you need in order to recover from the accident.
The lawyer can help you deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance and act as an advocate for you to get the most money for your accident as possible. A good car accident lawyer will know answers to questions you may not even had considered, like dealing with medical liens and health insurance subrogation interests that arise as a result of the car accident.
Contact an El Paso personal injury lawyer today
If you have been the victim of a car accident in which you were not driving and sustained injuries due to this accident, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer today. At the Harmonson Law Firm, we’ve helped over 1,000 clients recover more than $25,000,000 in personal injury damages for various cases. Let us help you win the compensation you deserve so that you can move forward with your life.