What should I do if I was involved in an auto accident?
By GNGF on January 23rd, 2023 in
Immediately after an accident, stop, don’t leave the scene, and make sure everyone is okay. If there are injuries, the first call you should make is 911. You should always call the police in the event of an accident, cooperate, and be respectful to the police and the other driver. Gather as much information as you can, including the other driver’s and witnesses’ contact information, and take photos of the vehicles and scene.
Of course, it can be difficult to remember everything you should do in the event of an accident. You may be injured, and you are likely shaken up emotionally as well. Accidents occur in an instant. One moment you are headed home from work on a Friday afternoon, thinking about the upcoming weekend. The next moment, a negligent or careless driver slams into you, and your life has changed, possibly forever. In some cases, when the injuries don’t seem too severe and the damages to the vehicles are minor, the other driver may ask you not to call the police.
The driver may be driving without insurance or could have had a few drinks and is afraid of being arrested. No matter the reason, it is virtually never a good idea to skip calling 911 after an auto accident. When the police come they will question those involved in the accident, look at any evidence, and talk to any witnesses. If fault is clear, that will be noted in the police report, and the at-fault driver could receive a citation as well.
Having this police report can be invaluable later on, as your attorney must prove liability in order to ensure you receive a fair settlement. It is important that you and any others involved in the accident seek medical attention immediately. Often, people involved in an accident think they are “fine” because of the adrenaline rush that floods the body during an accident, masking signs of injury. Later, they may realize that they were injured in the accident, yet the insurer doesn’t want to pay, claiming the injuries occurred later.
Always seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if you think you are not seriously hurt. If you are able at the scene of the accident, take photographs of the scene of the accident, including the damage to the vehicles and the license plate of the other driver. Once you are home, take the time to write down any details you can remember regarding the accident, and call your insurance company. After you have done all these things you will want to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. This may well be the most important step you take following your accident aside from seeking medical attention.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after an auto accident?
Statutes of limitations are the window of time you have in which to file a claim for damages after an accident. Each state sets its own statutes, ranging from one year to more than ten years. Most states have two or three-year statutes. These statutes are meant to protect those who the claim would be filed against, as well as to preserve the integrity of a claim. As time passes, evidence can degrade or disappear, and witnesses can move, die, or their memories of the incident may fade. It is important that you not exceed your state’s statute of limitations. If you do exceed this time, your claim will be dismissed in court.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for negligence actions like an auto accident is two years. In cases involving local, county, or state governmental entities, the Texas Tort Claims Act has a notice provision that requires written notice to the governmental entity within six months of the accident. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for an auto accident is 3 years. If a government-owned vehicle is involved in the accident, the statute of limitations against the governmental entity is 2 years in New Mexico. These general rules of the statutes of limitations are complex and subject to exceptions, so it is best to speak with a personal injury attorney about your specific case facts.
How Can the Harmonson Law Firm with Offices in El Paso, TX, and Las Cruces, NM Help?
After your car accident, you may be physically or emotionally distraught. After you’ve seen a doctor and are home, the reality of your situation may set in, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what you need to do. At Harmonson Law Firm, we fully understand these feelings and will work tirelessly to alleviate much of your stress and anxiety. We will handle all the necessary legal tasks, giving you the time you need to heal from your injuries.
When you contact Harmonson Law Firm, you are taking an important step in your healing process. After all, if you are unable to work and make a living and unable to pay your medical expenses, your healing process will not go smoothly. Attorneys Clark Harmonson and Hadley Huchton are compassionate and experienced personal injury lawyers who offer individualized personal service. At Harmonson Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping good people hurt in bad accidents. Contact us today. Please note that nothing herein is meant as legal advice specifically related to your case.