What To Do After A Car Accident

Being Ready To Start Recovery
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. Even minor fender-benders can lead to confusion and make you feel out of sorts. While this is certainly understandable, it’s also important to be as cognizant as possible of what you should do after a car accident in Houston. Following the appropriate steps can help safeguard your personal injury rights.

What You Should Do After A Houston Accident
Many severe accidents require that emergency services arrive on scene. If your injuries from a crash are critical, you may be rushed to a medical facility.

In a relatively minor incident in which emergency service are not necessary, how you respond can have a bearing on your future ability to pursue personal injury compensation from another driver. Following are step-by-step actions you can take after an accident to preserve your legal rights:

  • Check your surroundings. While many people want to immediately exit a vehicle, you should only get out of your car after when it’s safe. If at all possible, pull over to the side of the road.
  • Exit the vehicle. When it appears safe, get out of your vehicle. Inspect the damage and ask the other driver if he or she is all right.
  • Call the police. Although an at-fault driver may ask you not to call the authorities, it’s critical to call 911 and report the incident right away. Formal law enforcement reports and highway investigations can be used as evidence that may help victims obtain a settlement after a car accident in Houston.
  • Document what happened. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, noting vehicle details like the license plate number. In the event it’s safe to do so, take accident pictures with a cellphone or camera. If other people nearby saw the incident, ask them for their contact information so that they can serve as witnesses should the need arise.
  • Call a lawyer. After being given permission to leave by authorities, call an attorney to schedule a consultation. An attorney may provide you with some post-accident advice that can be helpful in building a case, for example, getting checked out by a doctor — even if your injuries may seem minimal.
  • Call the insurance company. Some policies automatically make claims void after a certain time period. While it is important to report an accident right away, avoid speaking with representatives from an insurance company without first consulting an attorney.

Get Help To Pursue Compensation
Contacting a lawyer after a car accident in Houston can give you the best chance of obtaining personal injury compensation from another motorist who has negligently caused you harm. An attorney can tell you how to obtain a settlement for a car accident in Houston and help ensure that you do not take actions that inadvertently compromise your legal rights.

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How Long Do I Have To Report A Car Accident

Why Reporting Is Important
Some people who get into car accidents make the mistake of agreeing to the request of an at-fault driver to avoid reporting a crash. Later, a person may have a change of heart after noticing back stiffness, neck pain or previously unseen damage to a vehicle. These unlucky people are often surprised to learn they only have so long to report a car accident in Houston, and can no longer make an insurance claim.

Don’t Wait To Report A Car Accident 
The Transportation Code of the Texas Statutes states that anyone operating a vehicle that is involved in an accident leading to injury, death or serious damage to another vehicle must immediately use the fastest means of communication to contact the local police department or sheriff’s office. Failure to report an accident and remain at the scene of the crime is technically a criminal offense.

If you are involved in a car accident, don’t rely on someone else to make the report. It is not very long that you have to report a car accident in Houston. Taking the initiative immediately can be of benefit to you in the following ways:

  • The accident is entered into the official record. Any plans you may have to one day pursue a personal injury claim rely on the accident being reported. In fact, a police report can be a very important piece of evidence.
  • Emergency services are made available. Law enforcement officials can quickly radio for emergency services in the event you or another person on the scene sustains injuries. Getting checked out, even if your pain is slight, is a good idea given that personal injury cases typically require documentation of injuries.
  • You support your case. A lawyer may be able to use 911 emergency call records (and recordings) as evidence in building your claim. Investigation records taken on the day of an accident can also help your case.

While the Transportation Code of Texas Statures fails to address insurance reporting, it’s a good idea to contact an insurer as soon as possible after an accident. In addition to preserving your legal right to make a claim, these benefits may apply:

  • Earlier payouts. If you have to repair a vehicle or receive medical care, a prompt report can work in your favor. The earlier victims make a report, the more likely their insurers will be to disburse a payout in time so that they don’t have to cover treatment fees or pay property damage out of their own pocket.
  • You stay informed. Reporting an accident early, and keeping constant contact with an insurer, allow you to remain informed about how much an insurance company is offering to pay. This can be a determining factor in whether you, along with your attorney, decide to pursue compensation by means of a personal injury lawsuit.

Find Help For The Legal Process
Calling law enforcement authorities is an important first step toward preserving your personal injury rights, especially given you have only so long to report a car accident in Houston. As mentioned, calling your insurance company right away is also a good idea. It’s important to note, however, that you should avoid speaking with an insurance company until you have first spoken with an attorney. Your legal representative can tell you what to do after a car accident in Houston to preserve your rights.

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