A car accident typically involves the collision of a vehicle with an element of the surroundings. This may include another vehicle, a person, a tree, a pole or an animal, etc. Depending on the severity, the accident may result in a minor collision or cause injuries.Given that the number of car accidents has increased in recent years, it’s important for drivers to be prepared for all eventualities and know what to do at the scene of a car accident.
Car accidents in the U.S.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.3 million lives are lost every year as a result of car accident injuries. In addition, between 20-50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries, many of which result in disability.
In Texas, 12,107 accidents resulting in serious injuries were reported in 2020. According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, one person is injured in a car accident every 2 minutes and 7 seconds, while one person is killed every 2 hours and 15 minutes.
What should you do after getting in a car accident?
After a car accident, your head may be spinning with questions such as:
What should I do right after a car accident? What are my responsibilities and my insurance company’s obligations after a car accident? Will I be compensated in all cases? Who should I call after a car accident?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, after a crash you should:
- Check for injuries. If people are hurt, tend to them.
- Move your car out of the roadway to a safer place.
- Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle identification numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, insurance information and driver license information.
- Note the location of the crash and get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- If the vehicles cannot be moved, protect the scene by setting up flares or raising your hood.
After you’ve followed these recommendations, you should also call these five people in the event of a car accident:
- Insurance company
- Emergency services
- Family member
- Personal injury lawyer
1. Call the police when appropriate
Anyone who has been in a car accident can tell you right away that it can be frightening and stressful. When an incident of this magnitude occurs, you should calmly assess the situation to determine whether or not to call the police.
When does the accident require law enforcement agencies? Under Texas law, you must report a collision if it involves injury, death or property damage to a vehicle. In these cases, you must contact the authorities by the “quickest means of communication possible.”
In summary, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, you should always call the police when:
- The accident involves an injury or fatality,
- The vehicles can’t be moved,
- One of the drivers is suspected of being drunk,
- One of the drivers doesn’t have insurance, or
- One of the drivers flees the scene.
In these cases, you should always call 911 and wait for assistance. The authorities will file an accident report that describes the circumstances of the accident.
In addition, the TxDOT website states that: “If there is damage to the vehicle, stop and exchange information. If someone is hurt, render aid and notify law enforcement. If you hit an unattended vehicle, find the driver or write your name and address on a note explaining what happened. You must also include the owner’s name and address if the vehicle you are driving doesn’t belong to you.”
2. Call your insurance company
You’ll also want to call your insurance company after a car accident. Keep in mind that many Texas insurance policies require you to report all details of the event immediately.
Provide the insurance company with the name of the other driver involved and his/her insurance information. Answer the insurance company’s questions honestly, but don’t engage in speculation.
Remember that you should always contact your insurance company after any accident, as there may be coverage under your own policy that can help with your recovery and medical treatment, even if you were at fault. For example, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provides you with compensation if you were injured in a car accident, regardless of fault.
If you have injuries caused by the other driver, you may have to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
3. Call emergency services
When a traffic accident occurs and injuries are involved, it’s essential to alert emergency services as soon as possible. In addition, provide them with essential information to streamline their services.
If the injuries appear serious or deadly, you should call 911 for an ambulance. But if they’re minor, you can visit your personal physician as soon as possible.
All ambulance services provide paramedics, trained to operate in any environment. These professionals will advise you and any victim involved whether to go to the hospital or simply go home.
4. Call a family member
When a car accident occurs, it’s important to contact a trusted family member or friend to let them know what happened and what your status is.
If possible, they should go to the scene of the accident to be supportive during these stressful circumstances.
There’s nothing better than having the full support of someone close to you, especially when it comes to your physical and emotional health.
5. Call a personal injury lawyer
After a car accident, we recommend calling an experienced car accident attorney, who will be responsible for negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf and advising you on how to receive compensation from your accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another driver, you’re in a better position to file a claim. You shouldn’t have to pay for your medical bills and auto repairs out of pocket.
Let our legal team get to work to build a strong case for you. At The Law Offices of George Salinas we’ll help you build your claim, negotiate a settlement and get you the maximum car accident compensation benefits possible. We’ve recovered over $500 million in damages for our car accident clients. The expenses associated with an accident can be high, so you won’t pay us unless we win your case.
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