By Dallas Car Accident Injury Attorney, Tim O’Hare
Did you know a car accident occurs on Texas roadways approximately every 83 seconds? That’s more than 1,040 accidents every day. More than 441,000 accidents occur each year in Texas and sadly, more than 3,000 of those result in fatalities.
Even with preventative measures to reduce the number of fatal car accidents, such as cracking down on drunk driving and distracted driving, the reality is, car accidents happen frequently. Do you know what to do if you are involved in a car accident? Here are eight tips to remember and to teach drivers in your household:
Call 911 — Report any injuries immediately and ask for police to come to the scene. If there are any potential injuries, ask for an ambulance. When a police officer arrives, get the officer’s name, badge number, and city the officer is responding from.
Help anyone who has been injured or who is in distress — If able, get out of your vehicle and attempt to make contact with other individuals involved in the accident. If you are a medical professional, CPR and/or First Aid certified, render aid as needed. Assess injuries and notify 911 immediately.
Don’t admit fault, but tell the truth about what happened — Responding police officers will ask questions as they build their accident report. Be truthful about what happened, but be careful not to admit fault and avoid any settlement discussions. Individuals who are not carrying car insurance or have another reason to avoid legal trouble may attempt to get you to settle by offering cash payment on the scene. Do not accept any settlements on the scene, as you may be liable for the damages to your car later on.
Get a copy/picture of the other driver’s driver license, license plate and insurance card — After an accident, exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance companies, policy numbers, driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers with any other drivers involved in the accident. Be sure to note the relationship between the individual driving and the owner of the vehicle if their names don’t match.
Take pictures of all vehicles and property involved in the collision — Use your camera to document any damage to all property and vehicles involved in the accident, as well as the position of cars and scene of the accident.
Ask the police to prepare an accident report – be polite, but insistent, if necessary — A documented report of the accident is an essential piece of evidence both for insurance and in any lawsuit that may arise as a result of the accident. Even if the officer claims a “no fault” accident or suggests a report isn’t needed, insist on a written report from responding law enforcement.
Get medical care, if needed, promptly after the accident — If you have been injured, seek immediate medical attention. If you think you may be injured, do not wait to see a doctor. If able and you would prefer not to ride in an ambulance, drive yourself or have a friend or family member drive you straight from the accident scene to the nearest emergency room or urgent care facility.
Call an attorney before speaking to any insurance company, including your own — Insurance companies are notorious for attempting to skip out on paying accident and injury-related claims. Do not attempt to negotiate with either insurance company yourself. Contact a skilled and experienced lawyer who will represent your best interests. If you have been injured, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover financial losses due to medical bills and lost wages. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better, so do so after you have received medical attention and law enforcement has been notified of the accident.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your car accident case can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injury or loss before the state’s statute of limitations runs out. In Texas, the statute of limitations in personal injury claims is two years. The clock starts ticking at the time of the car accident (or other incident), and after two years, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit.
Tim O’Hare is an experienced Dallas car accident injury attorney who will represent you with integrity and ensure you receive all compensation due you for your injury. Contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare today.
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