Across the state of Texas, one person is injured in a car crash every two minutes and seventeen seconds. Large portions of these accidents occur in major cities just like Houston.
Houston, in particular, sees a substantial portion of those accidents due to a lack of effective public transportation infrastructure and aging highway infrastructure. Particularly after the impact of Hurricane Harvey, damaged infrastructure will create dangerous road hazards.
Hopefully, most drivers never get into a serious car crash, but they do happen. Ordinary drivers can help protect themselves after a crash by following these tips from an experienced accident attorney:
1. Seek prompt medical care
Safety first! If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, the most important thing is to get yourself to the hospital for treatment. The legal consequences of your accident are important, but you can’t sue or be sued if you’re dead.
2. Always call 911
You should always report the accident and file a police report. Some accidents may appear minor at the time, but latent injuries such as spine injuries can create trouble later. It is always better to make a record.
3. Never leave the scene of an accident before police arrive
Texas penal law makes a hit and run accidents a crime. Make sure not to end up on the wrong side of the law.
4. Document the accident yourself
Take pictures, find witnesses, and make a record. If you end up in court because of your accident, you will be happy that you did. Presenting a photographic record and witness testimony is the best way to win a car accident lawsuit.
5. Clearly, mark the accident scene
The worst thing that can happen after an accident is that the accident scene itself causes the second accident. Many accident scenes simply look like stopped cars and are hard to see, particularly at night. Use hazards and wave away oncoming cars to help prevent another crash.
6. Never admit that the accident was your fault
Normally, out of court statements are considered to be “hearsay” unless the speaker comes to testify in court. That is not true if the statement in question is made by a party to the lawsuit. If you admit that you caused the accident, anyone who heard that statement can testify to what you said in court.
7. Exchange information
After the police leave and both you and the person who hit you are ready to leave, swap contact and insurance information. It can help your attorney track down the other driver to file a claim.
8. Never take a bad settlement
If the number looks low, it probably is. Fight for a good recovery.
9. Never file a lawsuit or insurance claim on your own
An attorney is the single most important weapon in your arsenal. Insurance companies and attorneys know clever loopholes and procedural tricks that can make an unrepresented party’s life miserable. An experienced attorney can help ensure that nothing prevents you from prevailing in court.