According to the 2012 traffic statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the latest year available on record, over 5 million drivers were involved in car accidents with consequences that ranged from simple fender-benders to serious injuries and even death. While you cannot control other drivers or road and weather conditions, you can protect yourself from physical, emotional and financial damage by learning a few important insider tips from experienced Houston car wreck attorneys. Because how you act after an auto accident can make or break your chances of getting the justice and compensation you deserve in Texas, being prepared ahead of time can make all the difference.
Top Four Traffic Accident Don’ts
1. Leaving the Scene
Walking away from the scene of a crash is one of the most common mistakes drivers make when the unexpected happens. In reality, even minor collisions need to be reported before anyone involved can leave. You might be surprised to learn that Texas law holds drivers responsible for abandoning the scene of the accident. In the event of property damage, you can be charged with a misdemeanor offense. In the case of serious injuries, that charge can be escalated to a felony. Besides potential legal complications, staying put can play a significant role if your case goes to court. After all, waiting for the police to arrive shows that you are a responsible citizen and gives you time to collect evidence that can be used to show the extent of the damages if you eventually decide to file a lawsuit.
2. Trusting Other Drivers
Calling the police is a time-consuming process, and both of you just want to get the problem straightened out as soon as possible, so why not cut out the middleman and settle the issue privately? The reason why neglecting to call 911 is never a good idea is because you just do not know enough information about the other driver’s insurance plan to make an informed decision about his or her ability to compensate you in the future. Many drivers are uninsured, and some carry fake or expired cards as a backup plan. The only way that you can be sure that everyone at the scene is being honest and exchanging up-to-date insurance information is to have the situation monitored by a local police officer.
3. Not Documenting What Happened
When one of the drivers is at fault, it is not uncommon to end up in a legal battle over financial obligations, and that is where having the right paperwork is crucial. Since it is not possible to analyze the exact extent of your injuries or property damage at the scene or predict what happens down the road, you need to document every aspect of the crash, including what you were doing right before, what you believe occurred at the moment of the collision and what happened immediately after. That means taking pictures of the damage, noting medical injuries and writing down every detail relevant to the accident. In a best case scenario, you can throw the paperwork out after the case is resolved. If post-accident disagreements turn into a lawsuit, your documents will give your vehicle accident attorneys everything they need to help win your case.
4. Not Getting Help
You should never take responsibility for something that was not your fault. Big car accidents can be devastating to your body, mind and bank account. If you were seriously injured, keep track of medical expenses, lost income that results from time off from work and any other problems that can be tied back to your crash. In the meantime, contact a Houston auto accident attorney to find out if you have the right to be compensated for your injuries and financial losses in court.