What to Know When Injured in a Car Accident in Texas

How you conduct yourself may affect your right to compensation

By S.M. Oliva

There are more than 230,000 people injured in Texas motor vehicle accidents each year, according to statistics from the Department of Transportation. If you are in an accident, it is important to remain calm and take appropriate steps to care for yourself and ensure that you are in the best position to seek compensation for your injuries later. Even if your accident does not lead to a personal injury claim, you will still likely need to deal with your own insurance company, so here are a few things to keep in mind.

Call the Police & Seek Medical Attention

When an accident takes place, it is imperative that you contact police and seek medical attention immediately. Many people walk away from an accident without going to see a doctor because they “feel fine.” But there are many kinds of traumatic injuries—some of them life-threatening—that are not immediately apparent following an accident. It is always a good idea to get checked out, either at an emergency room or by your primary care physician, as soon as possible following an accident. If you are seriously hurt and incur substantial medical bills, seeking prompt medical care can help prove you are entitled to compensation later.

Gather Info & Keep Detailed Records

You never know what seemingly unimportant piece of information may be relevant in the future. When it comes to a car accident, you should keep records of everything. This includes not only your own medical records, but also information related to the accident itself.

Exchange information with the other parties involved and use your smartphone's to take pictures of the vehicles, people, and locations relevant to the accident. This can help a court or insurance adjuster in reconstructing the accident months or years after the fact.

Call an Attorney & Your Insurance Company

After speaking with the police and seeking medical attention, a qualified personal injury lawyer should be your next phone call—especially if you were hit by someone else. You should not speak to anyone else about the accident without receiving proper legal advice.

“Often your insurance company will contractually require you make a statement, so stick to the facts. ‘This person hit me, from this angle, and here’s the damage to my car.’ Don’t go into how it made you feel—just the facts as you recall them,” says Brandy Austin, a personal injury attorney in Arlington.

Your first instinct when an accident occurs may be to apologize to the other driver, even if you did nothing wrong. Never do this. Any statement you make with respect to the accident may be cited as evidence to deny your insurance claim or dismiss a personal injury lawsuit.

An attorney doesn’t merely assess the potential for a lawsuit, but can guide you through the entire process. 

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