Call the Police
It is important to contact the police immediately if you are involved in any kind of car or truck accident. Doing so will provide proof of the accident, and it will allow for an immediate investigation of the scene of the accident by the police, who are neutral parties. The police will take witness statements. They will examine the other drivers to check for drug or alcohol use. They can assist in getting an admission of fault from the negligent driver that counts. If you suspect that you may be hurt, it is of paramount importance that you call the police.
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The police can be valuable witnesses to your injuries at the scene.
Resist the temptation in minor accidents to keep things simple by not calling the police and by allowing the other driver to pay you for your damages at the scene of the car accident. You should not allow a driver to settle with you on the spot because you may have suffered injuries more severe than you think or which do not develop symptoms until hours or days after the accident. You should always consult with your doctor and an experienced personal injury car and truck accident lawyer to make sure that you are aware of all of your rights. Pain does not normally appear for several days following any kind of accident especially one which might seem minor at first.
Get Medical Care at the Accident Scene – If You are Injured or if the Impact is Severe
It is important that you seek and obtain medical attention immediately after the accident has occurred if you are injured in an automobile accident. Also, remember that oftentimes immediately after the accident you will be somewhat shocked and will probably have a great deal of adrenaline in your bloodstream which can and often does, mask your injuries. The more severe the impact, the more likely that you were injured. Get checked out by a professional EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) at the scene and if they advise you get further medical care, get it.
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Don’t Say Anything at the Scene of the Car Accident That You Might Regret Later
The question of fault or liability is a complicated legal question that should not be answered on the spur of the moment, so don’t say anything about responsibility; let your lawyer handle that. That is not to say that you cannot give factual information. You should report facts, just not conclusions of law.
Provide your contact information and insurance information. If you provide information to the police because there was an injury, in Texas, there will be a police report made so the other parties and you can obtain a copy of the police report which will have information about the accident in it, however they are often incomplete so obtain additional information if possible (see below).
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If any of the driver’s appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, notify police or other emergency personnel immediately.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene and Damages to Cars
If you have a camera as part of your mobile device or cell phone, take photos of the accident scene, all cars in the accident, and any injuries that are visible at the time. A picture is truly worth a thousand words.
The sooner you obtain information and make notes, the more reliable the information is.
If someone was injured in the accident, do not move the vehicles but rather, call police and an ambulance by dialing 911.
When there is no longer a risk that another accident is going to happen (the scene has been made safe by the police) obtain the following information:
The full names of the drivers of all of the vehicles involved;
The driver’s license numbers and addresses of all of the drivers;
What are the names of the insurance companies and the policy numbers? If you see policy limits information, make a note of it.
Were all vehicles involved in the accident insured? If not, identify which vehicles in the car accident were not insured.
The full names and addresses of all passengers in any of the vehicles;
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The full names and addresses of any pedestrians or other parties involved;
The full name, address, and phone number of any witnesses to the accident.
Who are the registered owners of the vehicles (names and addresses)?
Make Observations and Record Notes About The Following:
Did anyone involved in the accident report any personal injury at the scene of the accident?
Was medical assistance rendered at the scene of the accident? By which provider? (Get business name and license plate IDs of vehicles.)
What did any injured persons report?
What was the location of the accident?
How did the accident occur?
In what direction were the vehicles traveling just prior to the accident?
Where did they come to rest?
What time of day did the car accident occur?
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What were the weather conditions at the time of the accident?
Was there anything wrong with the vehicles before the car accident, such as a broken headlight or brake light?
Was there any damage to the vehicles as a result of the accident? What parts of the vehicle were damaged?
Did any of the vehicles need to be towed from the scene of the accident?
Did anyone accept responsibility for the accident, or make a comment indicating what they thought they did wrong such as “I was speeding” or “I didn’t see the stop sign”?
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Were the police called and did they come? If you were injured you should call the police and report it.
Did the police issue a ticket or warning to anyone? If you can get the names, badge numbers and license plates of the police, do so. Note which force they came from, i.e., City of Dallas, Texas State Troopers.
Were any of the drivers involved in the accident driving a company owned vehicle or wearing any kind of work uniform?
When should I contact an Lawyer?
You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. It’s just that simple. Almost all personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, like our firm, so it costs you nothing to have your questions answered and your rights protected.
Should I contact my own insurance company?
Auto insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report every auto accident. Your insurance company will want to gather all of the basic information concerning the accident for its records, regardless of fault.
Sometimes the insurance company will want your authorization to make a recorded statement concerning the accident. You should only do this with the advice and counseling of an lawyer.
Should I go to the doctor?
If the car or truck accident was severe or if you are having indications that you are injured (pain, discomfort, tightness, spasms, cramping, tingling), you should get checked out by medical professionals. Oftentimes physical complaints do not begin until 12 to 24 hours after an accident. Even if you did walk away only feeling “shaken up” after being rear-ended by a truck, tomorrow morning when you may start having symptoms.
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Seeing a medical provider following the accident will insure a preliminary diagnosis and probably allow you to minimize the discomfort and future treatment you may need.
Waiting to get treatment and hoping that the pain will just go away, is also not good for your chances of you getting treated fairly by the insurance company. When there is no medical record of your injury at the time of the accident, the insurance company will argue that you were not hurt.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice After the Car Accident
Follow the doctor’s advice precisely. Do not miss any of your doctor’s appointments. If you do, it will be used against you when trying to get a fair settlement or in court.
What Should I Tell Medical Providers Following a Car Accident?
When you are reporting your injury to police, paramedics, nurses, doctors and other hospital staff, make sure you identify all of your specific complaints. Do not leave out any complaint you may have, no matter how minor it may seem. If something feels wrong your doctor needs to have this information in order to make an informed medical opinion which is necessary in giving you good medical advice.
Even if you feel your problem is minor, that same problem if unresolved after significant time will become a big deal.
Tingling, slight dizziness, a dry mouth, a minor headache, and a little sleeplessness may be signs of something serious. Anything extraordinary feeling is a symptom and should be reported to your doctor.
Talking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company After a Car Accident
Never give a statement to the other side’s insurance company without the guidance of a lawyer. If you are contacted after the accident by the police or by the insurance company simply politely decline to talk; tell them that they should contact your lawyer and then give them your lawyer’s name and number. If you have not yet hired a car accident lawyer, tell them that once you hire a lawyer, you will have your lawyer contact them.
Insurance companies’ claims adjusters are professional negotiators, with extensive experience in using every psychological trick in the book to get you to give them information beneficial to them and bad for you. Their number one trick is to persuade you not to hire an lawyer. Don’t fall for it.
Claims adjusters are often very friendly sounding as they are well trained by insurance company lawyers to ask all the right questions in a way designed to help only them. They’re often not doing anything illegal because they have a legal duty to pay as little as possible.
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You should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can determine the best way to proceed. Contact us for a free consultation so we can discuss your case, or please complete our online case evaluation form located on this website.
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