It’s an unfortunate fact – everyone in Houston is likely to get into a auto accident sooner or later. Do you know what to do after the crash? (And I’m not talking the stock market here!) A car crash, no matter how big or small, is a scary and serious event. You have important legal rights under Texas law, but its YOUR responsibility to protect those rights.
FIRST: Stay calm! After any accident you are going to have loads of adrenaline dumped into your bloodstream. This is what is responsible for the “fight or flight” feeling you may get. Just remember, we are not cave men. We cannot flee the scene and we’re certainly not going to fight!
SECOND: Check for injuries. Check yourself and then check on the other occupants of your vehicle. If there is ANY chance that anyone may be injured, you should immediately call 911 and request an ambulance. There may be a life or death situation, so please don’t take any chances. If it is safe to do so, you may check to see if the occupants in the other car are injured, but NEVER SPEAK WITH THEM ABOUT THE FACTS OF THE COLLISION. NEVER! EVER!
THIRD: Protect yourself, other drivers, and the accident scene. I always recommend people carry a safety triangle in the trunk of their car. Following a collision, if you have a safety device or signal, you should place it an appropriate distance from the collision in order to warn other drivers. You should do this ONLY if it is safe for you to do so. (Running out in the middle of the Northwest Freeway to put up a plastic safety triangle would fall under the heading of “REALLY bad idea!”)
FOURTH: Call the police. Depending on how busy they are, it may take them a while to respond, especially if no one is seriously injured. Be patient. Many officers who respond to traffic accidents are trained accident investigators. In protecting your rights it is extremely important to have an impartial police officer prepare a report. Always remember to be extremely polite and cooperative with the police. Their jobs are extremely difficult and often thankless. Remember: NEVER admit fault to the police. Simply tell them what happened, answer their questions, and cooperate with their requests. They will assist you in exchanging information with the other driver.
FIFTH: Get proper medical attention. I graduated from law school, but I didn’t attend medical school. I’ll bet most of you didn’t either. Remember that serious injuries don’t always result in immediate pain or bleeding. If you need an ambulance – use it. If not, you may later need to drive to an emergency room or to your doctor’s office. Don’t take chances with your health.
SIXTH: (You knew this was coming, right?) If you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights, consult with a top personal injury attorney. Most people don’t know what their legal rights are after an accident, nor do they know how to enforce those rights. An honest and knowledgeable attorney is your best ally in protecting yourself in the unfortunate (and almost unavoidable) event of a car wreck. Remember, this article doesn’t act as specific legal advice. I’m just giving some general tips here.
You can protect yourself before an accident by driving safely, driving defensively and always wearing a seat belt. You can protect yourself after an accident by following these tips above.
Stewart J. Guss is a licensed attorney representing those injured in an auto accident in Houston, Spring, Katy, Tomball, The Woodlands, Cypress, and throughout Texas for almost 20 years. He concentrates in the areas of personal injury, insurance law, and auto accidents. You have two options 1) See how much your claim is worth or 2) Pick up the phone and call Stewart on 800-898-4877 for a free consultation. There is no charge for that phone call, and no fee at all unless he wins your case.