I was in a traffic accident. What do I do?
In Houston it is important to know what actions to take if you are in an accident. Whether you have suffered personal injury or not, there are certain steps that DeSimone Law Office would urge you to take after your involvement in an accident.
- Make sure that there is an emergency kit, pen and paper, and a disposal camera to take pictures of the accident scene in your vehicle at all times. Along with these essential items you should maintain an information card that displays any medical conditions, medicine or medicinal allergies that should be known in an emergency situation.
- If at all possible, move all vehicles to the farthest side of the road and out of the flow of traffic. Vehicles that remain in the flow of traffic after an accident create a safety risk for other drivers and can result in multiple auto accidents beyond the initial crash. Be sure to turn your hazard lights on and place any emergency cones available in the road way to alert oncoming drivers of the situation ahead. If for any reason you are unable to move the car or cars to the side of the road, it is suggested that you remain inside your vehicle with seat belts strapped until the authorities arrive.
- After the accident, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number, VIN number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If for some reason the driver’s license does not match the information that is registered to the vehicle involved, do your best to document the relationship to the registered owner and be sure to make a written description of each car involved.
- If there are any witnesses that have stayed after the accident try to attain their contact information and any written or oral statements that they can give to you on your behalf. With the disposable camera take pictures of the entire accident scene. Include all vehicle damage, the surrounding area of the accident scene, any street signage that will identify the exact location of the auto accident and photograph the other driver and all occupants of the driver’s vehicle.
- File a state vehicle accident report because a police report can help your insurance company speed up your claims process. Many law enforcement officials will not respond to an accident scene if no injuries have been reported, so it is driver’s responsibility to make and file the proper accident reports.
- You should always know exactly what your insurance covers. Never assume that your coverage will take care of the costs of towing and auto rental. Every insurance policy is different and many drivers find out later that what they thought their insurance policy included, it does not. Tows and rental cars can be very costly, so be well versed on the particulars of your auto insurance and you can help to make the insurance claims process much easier on yourself and on your finances.