Injured in an Austin Car Accident? Here are the Most Important Things You Need to Know
As an experienced personal injury attorney in Austin, Texas, I have helped many clients who have been injured in car accidents. Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience, and knowing what to do after an accident can make all the difference in protecting your rights and obtaining the compensation you deserve.
In this article, we will discuss in detail what to do if you have been injured in a car accident with regard to suing the insurance company or driver. We will cover the following topics:
- What to do at the Scene of the Accident
- Seeking Medical Attention
- Contacting the Police and Collecting Evidence
- Notifying Your Insurance Company
- Consulting with a Personal Injury Attorney
- Determining Fault and Liability
- Calculating Damages
- Negotiating with the Insurance Company
- Filing a Lawsuit
- Common Mistakes to Avoid
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can protect your rights and increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve after a car accident.
What to do at the Scene of the Accident
The first few moments after a car accident can be chaotic and stressful, but it’s important to remain calm and take the following steps:
- Check for injuries. Check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.
- Move to a safe location. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location out of traffic. If your vehicle cannot be moved, turn on your hazard lights and use flares or cones to alert other drivers.
- Exchange information. Exchange information with the other driver, including names, phone numbers, and insurance information. If there were any witnesses, collect their names and contact information as well.
- Take photos. Take photos of the scene of the accident, including damage to both vehicles, any injuries, and any road conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
- Don’t admit fault. Avoid apologizing or admitting fault, even if you think you may have been partially to blame for the accident.
2. Seeking Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine after a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash or traumatic brain injuries, may not present symptoms right away and can worsen over time if left untreated.
Seeing a doctor will not only ensure that you receive proper medical care, but it will also create a record of your injuries that can be used as evidence if you decide to pursue a claim with the insurance company or in court.
3. Contacting the Police and Collecting Evidence
Contacting the police after a car accident is essential, even if the accident seems minor. The police can help ensure the safety of everyone involved, secure the scene, and create a police report.
The police report can be used as evidence in your case and can provide valuable information, such as the names and contact information of witnesses and the other driver’s insurance information.
If you are able, collect as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. This can include taking photos of the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved, documenting any injuries you have sustained, and collecting the names and contact information of witnesses.
4. Notifying Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. They can help guide you through the claims process and provide you with important information regarding your coverage. However, be careful when speaking with the other driver’s insurance company, as they may try to use anything you say against you in the future.
5. Consulting with a Personal Injury Attorney
Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. An experienced attorney can help continue you navigate the legal system, negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you in court if necessary.
6. Determining Fault and Liability
Determining fault is an essential part of any car accident case. In most cases, fault is determined by the negligence of one or more parties involved in the accident. Negligence can be defined as a failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person.
An attorney can help you determine fault and establish liability for your injuries. They can investigate the accident, interview witnesses, and gather evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.
7. Calculating Damages
Calculating damages is another crucial aspect of a car accident case. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can help you determine the full extent of your damages and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
8. Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Negotiating with the insurance company can be a challenging and frustrating process. Insurance companies are often focused on protecting their own interests, which can sometimes mean offering you less than you deserve.
An experienced attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. They can help you understand your options and make informed decisions about settlement offers.
9. Filing a Lawsuit
If negotiations with the insurance company fail to result in a fair settlement, filing a lawsuit may be necessary. An attorney can help you prepare and file a lawsuit, and represent you in court.
It’s important to choose an attorney who has experience with car accident cases and who is knowledgeable about the laws in your state. An experienced attorney can help you build a strong case and increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
10. Common Mistakes to Avoid
There are several common mistakes that people make after a car accident that can hurt their chances of obtaining fair compensation. These include:
- Failing to seek medical attention immediately
- Admitting fault or apologizing at the scene of the accident
- Signing documents from the insurance company without fully understanding them
- Failing to gather evidence at the scene of the accident
- Waiting too long to consult with a personal injury attorney
By avoiding these mistakes and following the steps outlined in this article, you can protect your rights and increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve after a car accident.
- Texas Department of Transportation – Crash Records Information System: https://www.txdot.gov/driver/share-road/crash-records-information-system.html
- Texas Department of Insurance – Auto Insurance: https://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/auto-insurance.html
- Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code – Chapter 16 – Limitation on Recovery of Damages in Certain Cases: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.16.htm
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Car Accident Checklist: https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/811174.pdf