A car accident is extremely upsetting and can leave you very uncertain about how to proceed. While every car accident is, indeed, unique to its own circumstances, there is some basic information that applies across the board. If another motorist’s negligence leaves you injured in a car accident, these basics can help.
Check for Injuries
First things first – if you have been involved in a car accident, get your car safely out of the line of traffic if possible and check to see if anyone is seriously injured. If so, call 911 immediately. Texas law requires drivers involved in accidents to render reasonable assistance to anyone who has been hurt, which includes helping to obtain the medical attention they need as quickly as possible (and providing any aid that the driver is capable of in the meantime). If there are no obvious injuries involved, call the police and report the accident.
Officers at the Scene
The officers who arrive at the scene of your accident have a job to do, which includes:
Coordinating emergency care and transportation
Securing the scene for increased safety
Arranging to have cars towed as necessary
Verifying drivers’ license and insurance information
Issuing traffic citations (if applicable)
Collecting evidence related to cause
If an officer wants to ask you questions about the accident, be polite, and answer his or her questions succinctly and truthfully. Now is not the time to be chatty.
Share Your Contact Information
After a car accident involving property damage and/or injury, you and the at-fault driver will exchange pertinent information with one another, including:
Your name and contact information
Your car’s registration number
Contact information for your respective insurance companies
Accept Medical Assistance
Even if you do not think you were seriously injured in the accident, accept any medical assistance offered at the scene. If none is offered, seek medical attention. The fact is that a car accident can leave you with a serious injury that is slow to present with symptoms. Further, the adrenaline that courses through your body in the wake of a car accident can mask symptoms. The upset associated with such accidents creates the perfect conditions for ignoring physical injuries, but it is always in your best interest to seek professional medical assistance post-accident.
If you are able to do so, gathering evidence at the accident scene is in your best interest. If you are unable, enlist a bystander’s help. Such evidence should include:
Photos and videos that capture the accident’s aftermath from every angle
Photos and videos that depict any adverse conditions that may have contributed to the accident, such as bad weather, a poorly maintained road, inadequate signage, or anything else
Eyewitness testimony and contact information
Your account of exactly how the accident transpired (written as soon after as you can manage)