Waco Car Accident Attorney
Helping Victims of Auto Accidents in Waco, Baylor and Lorena
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming and confusing. Knowing what to do after a crash can help you stay calm and ensure any legal process that follows is not unnecessarily hindered. As Waco car accident lawyers with considerable experience handling these matters, we can offer helpful guidance that can lead you toward better decisions that positively impact your ability to recover full compensation after any type of traffic accident.
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
Although every case may be different, we can offer the following general steps to take after a car accident:
- Stay at the scene. It is very important to remain at the scene of a crash until police have arrived and told you it is okay to leave. If someone was injured, call an ambulance.
- Collect contact information from others involved. If you can, collect the name, phone number, address, and insurance information from any other drivers involved in the accident. If there are witnesses around, it can also be helpful to ask for their contact information as well.
- Take pictures of the damage. Documenting the effects of a car wreck can be extremely helpful when working out a personal injury settlement. Take pictures of any injuries you sustained, damage to your vehicle or poor road conditions.
- Get medical attention. Your health should always be a priority after a crash. In the aftermath of a wreck, it is common for people to not immediately realize the extent of their injuries. Even if you're not sure you were injured, it is good to see a doctor just to be safe. Establishing medical records related to your accident is also a good idea if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim later on.
- If you were injured, continue to see your doctor regularly. Gaps in your medical history can make it appear as though you have recovered, even if you have not.
- Keep track of medical records. Whenever you see your doctor or receive a bill, keep track of what you owed, what your doctor said about your condition, and any medications that were prescribed. All of this information will help support a claim for compensation. The better your records, the better chance you will have of securing compensation.
- Do not talk to an insurance company or admit fault. Never say you are sorry or admit to doing something wrong after a car accident. It can expose you to legal liability. This is particularly important when you are talking with an insurance company. Any admission of fault may be used against you in a settlement. In general, it is best to say nothing to an insurance company — even your own — unless your Waco car accident lawyer is present. The insurance company has its own best interests in mind, not yours.
- Talk to a personal injury lawyer. Many people do not realize how expensive car accidents are. Many victims deal with more than just property damage costs. Medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses can make the aftermath of a crash financially challenging. At Milam & Fanning, PLLC, we can help you seek the compensation you need to recover physically and financially.
What Not to Do After A Car Accident
1. Leave the scene
The number one thing you should never do after an accident is drive away. This might be obvious to most people, but leaving a scene can be the worst possible choice. Some people feel scared when they see the damage, notice no one else is looking, and then book it. If you leave the scene and the other driver catches your license plate number then you can get into major trouble. This is especially true in cases where someone could be hurt. Failing to provide aid after a hit and run can result in 10 years in prison in Texas. Don't risk it.
2. Lose your temper
When someone has ruined a major aspect of your livelihood it would be easy to blow up. Sometimes they might be at fault and have the nerve to start yelling at you. Do not engage them, yell back, stomp around, or lose your temper. They could report your behavior back to their attorney and it can paint you in a bad light. This can hurt your case if it looks like you cannot control yourself. Keep it cool.
3. Start apologizing or explaining
The top way to hurt your case is to start apologizing. Although it seems rude to avoid an apology, never say things like, "Sorry, I didn't see you." The same goes for explaining to the other person what happened such as, "I looked away for one second." Most people feel the urge to explain the situation from their side but comments like these can easily turn into admittance of fault.
4. Speak with the other driver's insurance company or lawyer
Often times a new number will pop up on your phone not long after an accident, asking for information about the incident. It could be the driver's insurance company or even their attorney. They will want to know details about what you were doing and what you saw. Typically this information will be twisted against you in court. Make sure to tell them to call your insurance company or your Waco car accident attorney instead.
It can be difficult to exhibit perfect behavior after a car accident. These are simply guidelines to help you achieve the best results when gaining back your lost damages. An experienced Waco car accident lawyer can help guide you through the process in order to get the most out of your case.
Three Important Steps to Follow After a Car Accident
However, you may not realize that the state of Texas and your insurance company require you to take specific steps after a crash. Here are three things you may not have known to do:
1) Provide written documentation to your insurance company
Yes, you probably knew to call your own insurance company to report your accident, but did you know you should also follow up in writing? The Texas Department of Insurance explains that you need submit a written report to your insurance company in order to protect your legal right to prompt payment.
(After you've filed your claim, Texas law requires your insurance company to respond to you within 15 days. If it can't meet this deadline, it must explain the reason.)
2) Submit a crash report, if the police weren't involved
If you sustained serious injuries, someone probably called law enforcement, and they probably investigated the accident. However, if you were involved in a rear-end collision or other minor accident, you may not have bothered to call the police.
In this case, the Texas Department of Transportation requires you to submit a report to them within 10 days if any of the following apply:
- You or anyone else was injured
- You think the other driver may have been drunk, uninsured or driving without a license
- The other driver left the scene (hit-and-run)
- Your vehicle suffered at least $1,000 of damage
If you fail to submit a crash report to the Texas Department of Transportation, you can be hit with a $500 fine.
3) Report any hit-and-run accident to the police
If the other driver hit you and then fled the scene, you may think it's pointless to file an accident report, especially if you are unable to remember any details about what the other car looked like. However, if you want to receive any money from the uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you need to report the hit-and-run to law enforcement. If you don't, you won't be able to take advantage of uninsured motorist coverage.
Contact Milam & Fanning, PLLC, today for a consultation!