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Car accidents can be highly distressing events, often leaving individuals in a state of confusion and disorientation. Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to maintain composure and take the appropriate measures immediately following an accident in order to ensure your safety and safeguard your legal rights.

Adhering to the following steps will significantly facilitate your post-accident experience and guarantee that you receive the requisite assistance.

1. Ensure Safety

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, the situation can become chaotic and stressful. Nevertheless, prioritizing safety should remain your paramount objective. Let us delve deeper into this critical phase:

Evaluate the Scenario:

Following a collision, it is essential to take a moment to thoroughly assess the situation. This entails examining yourself and any passengers for injuries. If you discover that you or anyone else has sustained injuries, it is imperative to accord top priority to seeking medical attention.

Injuries that may initially appear minor can exhibit delayed symptoms, underscoring the importance of exercising caution by promptly dialing 911.

Relocate Vehicles Safely:

In cases where the accident is deemed minor and it is safe to do so, consider moving your vehicle away from the flow of traffic. Transporting it to the roadside or another secure location can help avert additional accidents.

In instances where the vehicles involved are rendered inoperative, you can utilize hazard lights, warning triangles, or flares to signal to other drivers the presence of an obstruction, thereby mitigating the risk of further incidents.

Activate Hazard Lights: 

As mentioned, turning on your hazard lights is essential to notify other drivers that something is wrong ahead. This can help prevent additional accidents and ensure that approaching vehicles slow down.

Call for Help:

 If there are injuries or significant damage to the vehicles, call 911 immediately. Describe the situation accurately, provide your location, and request medical assistance and police presence. Follow any instructions given by the emergency dispatcher.

2. Exchange Information

The exchange of information with the drivers involved other than the eye witnesses will come handy in the process of settlement claims and even legal proceedings. Here’s a breakdown of the key details to collect: Here’s a breakdown of the key details to collect:

Personal Details

Get the contacts of every driver who were involved in the accident to you. This should include:

* Full names

* Phone numbers

* Email addresses

* Driver’s license numbers

* Home addresses

Collect Insurance Details

Obtain the insurance information for all the vehicles involved, including: 

* Insurance company name

* Policyholder name

* Policy number

Document Vehicle Information

Take note of the following details for all the vehicles involved in the accident:

* Make and model of each vehicle

* License plate number

* Vehicle Identification Number (VIN stands for Verification Index Number) and is a unique code assigned to each vehicle by the manufacturer. In most cases you will locates VIN tag in the dashboard on the driver’s side or doorjamb.

Take Photos of the Traffic Accident Scene

In the case of an accident it can save you.  Use your phone camera to capture the following:

* The accident scene as a whole including the segment around the accident site, particularly the flow of traffic determined by traffic lights, or one place where the street divides into two lines.

* The damage to all vehicles involved, including close-up shots of major dents, scratches, and deployed airbags

* Any skid marks, debris, or any other damage evident within the crash scene.

* Visible injuries: Bear careful attention to the rules and make sure you have the consent of the injured person as you only take photos of their injuries.

Witness Information

See if there were any witnesses to the incident and make a list with their information: name, phone number and email address (if possible). Their statements assist a lot in the reconstruction of the accident scene, especially when the driver stories are totally different.

3. Document the Scene

Photographing the Accident Scene:

 Taking clear and comprehensive photos of the accident scene is crucial. Capture images of all vehicles involved from various angles, highlighting any visible damage. Include wide shots that depict the overall scene, including road conditions and any relevant landmarks.

Positions of Vehicles:

Document the positions of the vehicles involved before they are moved, if possible. This helps establish the initial impact points and can be vital in determining fault later on.

Injuries and Damage:

 If there are visible injuries, photograph them as well. Additionally, take pictures of any injuries you or passengers may have sustained, even if they seem minor. Documenting injuries can help support your personal injury claim.

Collect Witness Information: 

As part of documenting the scene, gather contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the accident happen. Eyewitness testimony can be valuable in confirming or challenging the accounts of those involved.

4. Report the Accident

Contact Local Authorities:

In Houston, just as is customary in many other locations, it is imperative to notify the local law enforcement agency about the accident. Reach out to the police and furnish them with precise and comprehensive details regarding the incident.

The officers dispatched to the scene will compile an official accident report, a document of significant importance that can function as a pivotal piece of evidence.

Cooperate with Law Enforcement: 

When the police arrive, cooperate fully with their investigation. Answer their questions truthfully and provide all requested information. The police report will include their assessment of the accident, statements from involved parties, and any citations issued.

5. Seek Legal Advice

Seek Counsel from a Car Accident Attorney:

If you’ve sustained injuries or substantial property damage as a result of the accident, it is strongly advisable to get in touch with a truck accident lawyer based in Houston. Here’s why this step holds paramount importance:

Safeguarding Your Legal Rights:

A seasoned attorney will take measures to ensure the protection of your legal rights throughout the entirety of the process. They will offer guidance on how to interact with insurance companies, preventing you from making statements that could potentially undermine your case.

Navigating Interactions with Insurance Providers:

Insurance companies frequently attempt to minimize their payouts. Your lawyer will be responsible for conducting negotiations with insurance adjusters on your behalf, guaranteeing that you are fairly compensated for expenses related to medical treatment, vehicle repairs, and other forms of damages.

Guiding you Through the Legal Process:

In instances where legal action becomes a necessity, the best car accident lawyers in Houston will serve as your invaluable guide through the intricate legal process. They will collect pertinent evidence, interview witnesses, and, if need be, represent your interests in court.

6. Deal with Insurance Companies

Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident can easily feel daunting. Here is what you should do.

 Inform Your Insurance Company Quickly:

This may be the first essential step, most probably to your policy. Get in touch with your insurance company as soon as the accident occurs, even if the damage looks minor. Put off the notification and you run the risk of losing your claim.

Understand Your Insurance Policy:

Spend a few minutes going through your auto insurance policy. This will assist you in knowing what type of insurance and amount of coverage you have the collision, comprehensive, and personal injury protection (PIP). By understanding your policy details you will be in a position to ask meaningful questions which will enable the claims process to run smoothly.

Share Information but Refrain from Giving Recorded Statements:

Act politely and be cooperative with your insurance company’s representative, but keep in mind that you might not want to give a recorded statement. Telling only the truth of the accident and avoid admitting any guilt. If you are not certain about a question, it is still alright to say that you need some time to think or consult with someone else before answering.

Consult a Lawyer Before Accepting Settlement Offers:

Insurers aim to resolve claims promptly and with the smallest possible costs. Before taking up any settlement offers, please consult a lawyer. They can revise the offer, verify that it covers all your damages (including the possibility of future medical expenses) and help you determine if the offer is fair. Keep in mind that you can negotiate a settlement and an attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve.

7.Understand Your Rights

After a car crash you can be overwhelmed by the legal conditions. Being aware of your rights will give you a chance to make educated choices and defend yourself through this endeavor. undefined

Statute of Limitations:

Every state has a time period, called statute of limitation, in which one can submit a complaint in a court of law after the occurrence of a car accident. Failure to meet this threshold might preclude you from the right to a compensation claim. Acknowledge the time limits in your district and seek legal advice if necessary.

What to Say and Not Say:

Following the accident emotions might be high. It is necessary for you to be attentive to what you are saying, particularly so when you talk to the other driver or witnesses or insurance companies. Make sure to leave the facts of the accident and avoid any statements that may be taken as an admission of fault.

Right to Legal Representation:

You are legally entitled to legal representation after the occurrence of a car accident. A lawyer may show you your legal options, manage any complexity related to the law system, and demand a just compensation for you.

No-Fault Insurance Laws:

A few states have no-fault insurance regulations, and it means that your own insurance company will compensate you for specified losses regardless of whose fault. 

Comprehending these rules (if appropriate for your state) assists you in deciding whether you will have to file a claim or not.

Medical Treatment and Property Damage:

The law gives you the right to get medical treatment you need after a car accident, regardless of fault. Keep all your medical records and bills as they may prove to be the significant evidence in your case. In addition, you are entitled to have your vehicle, repaired or replaced, subject to the extent of the damage and your insurance coverage.

Conclusion

Car accidents are certainly terrible and one can sometimes feel like they have no control or don’t know what to do. However, following these seven steps can give you a better understanding of what you need to do and help you to get the legal help that you need. 

You have to remember that safety comes first for you and other people involved in the accident. By following the mentioned steps, you will be in a good position to handle the huddles that you meet afterwards, ensuring that the resulting agreement is fair and justified.

About the Author

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Husain Law Firm

Nomaan K. Husain is the founder of Husain Law + Associates — Houston Accident & Injury Lawyers, P.C., a Houston-based law firm specializing in Litigation, Immigration, and Aviation. He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law, with law licenses in Texas, New York, and other jurisdictions. Mr. Husain serves in key community roles, including as Commissioner on President Biden's White House Commission on Fellowships and Chairman of Houston's Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Board. He's been recognized with several awards, such as the Global Leader Award from the Houston World Affairs Council.

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