Texas Car Accident Tips & Useful Information

If you’ve had a car accident in the state of Texas, you’ll want to know what to do next. Friends, coworkers, and family members may offer you suggestions, but are they worth anything? Some of these ideas may even make things worse.

Let’s take a look at some statistics, a second thing, and then a few car accident tips that can help if you find yourself involved in one (or if you already have).

Texas Car Accident Statistics

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2022, a reportable automobile accident occurred, on average, once every 57 seconds across the state.

Every two minutes and nine seconds, someone in the state of Texas is seriously injured in a car accident. Every one hour and 57 minutes, someone dies in one of these accidents. Of these fatalities, over 51% take place in rural areas, presumably due to the difficulty of getting immediate medical care.

Of all the DUI-related crashes involving alcohol, the vast majority took place between 2 and 3 AM. The most common day of the week for these incidents was Saturday morning.

48% of people killed in traffic accidents that year who rode in vehicles with seatbelts were not wearing them at the time of the crash.

Texas Car Accident Laws

First, let’s take a look at the legal requirements you’ll have to follow if you’re involved in an accident in the state of Texas.

Texas is legally classified as an “at-fault” state, which means that the driver found to be at fault for the accident must pay for the damages. However, if both parties are found to be at fault, the actual damages owed by the one most at fault will be reduced by the percentage of blame ascribed to the lesser party.

After you’ve had an accident, the first thing you’ll want to do is to report it to the police. Any car accident that results in property damage or personal injury, no matter how minor, must be reported right away to both the authorities and your insurance company.

The law also requires that anyone involved in an accident render aid to their fellow victims if they’re physically able to do so. Leaving the scene of an accident and failing to render assistance are both criminal offenses, increasing in severity with the amount of damage. For example, if a death is involved, leaving the scene is a second-degree felony. If they’re seriously injured but survive, it’s a third-class felony.

In the case of a driver accidentally hitting an unoccupied vehicle, they must do their best to find the owner. At the very least, they must leave their name and contact information on a piece of paper, firmly attached to the damaged vehicle.

If the damages to property, people, or vehicles can be expected to exceed $1,000, the police will send someone by to investigate and the driver determined to be at fault can be subject to criminal proceedings, even if the other driver does not wish to press charges. If the incident took place in a paid parking lot or residential parking area located on private property, this does not apply.

Speaking of which, it is important to note that these laws only apply to car accidents that take place on highways, streets, or other public property. Although it is important to follow most of the advice listed in this article regardless of the accident’s location, there are a few exceptions. For example, if you’re driving on a friend’s property and accidentally hit their fence, you are not legally required to report it to the police if you two can reach an arrangement about repairing the fence.

How Long After An Accident Can I File A Claim?

Under Texas state law, lawsuits stemming from personal injuries like those suffered during automobile accidents must be filed within two years. If you’ve been in a car accident and ended up with expensive medical bills, for example, you’re still legally able to file a civil lawsuit against the driver up to 720 days after the accident took place.

This is another important reason to contact the police and your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident takes place. Not only is it legally required but having as much information entered into the record about the event as possible while it’s still fresh in your mind can be a great help in a court case later on.

Contacting a Texas Car Accident Lawyer

Speaking of courts, speaking with a Texas car accident attorney can be a massive help. They’ll know every aspect of the law governing car accidents and will be able to explain your rights, your liabilities, and your best course of action going forward to make the process as simple and painless as possible.

Whether you think you might have been at fault or if you’re sure you were the victim, consulting with an experienced Texas collision lawyer will help you to better understand how to proceed and allow you to present the best court case possible.

Basic Texas Car Accident Tips

Based on everything that we’ve learned so far about Texas laws and best practices, let’s look at some car accident tips that you can use if you find yourself involved in a vehicle collision anywhere in the state.

– To help avoid accidents, never drive after consuming alcohol and, if possible, try to avoid driving between 2 and 3 AM, especially on weekends or holidays.

– Wearing a seatbelt dramatically reduces a passenger’s chances of dying, as being ejected during a crash is a major cause of serious injuries and fatalities.

– Always report accidents to the police and your insurance company. It may be tempting to make an agreement with the other driver or drivers to keep it between yourselves, but it’s both illegal and can be a very bad idea. For one thing, there’s no guarantee that they’ll pay for any damages no matter what promises they’ve made.

– Never leave the scene of an accident without speaking to the other driver and making sure they’re physically okay. Put on your hazard lights to warn incoming traffic that there’s been an accident, especially if it was caused by something in or near the road that could cause another vehicle to crash.

– If you have a camera, especially one on a cell phone, take as many pictures as possible of the damage done to the vehicles, the people involved, and any surrounding property before you leave. Among many other reasons, this can prevent the other party from later trying to seek additional damages for injuries or damage not caused by the crash.

– You may also want to take a video of the scene where you or another passenger narrates what happened, shows the point of impact between the vehicles or property that has been damaged, and any skid marks, street signs, or other information that details the exact location the exact took place.

– If you have a pen and paper or a drawing app on a cell phone or tablet, you may also want to make a sketch of the accident, showing the point of impact and the direction the vehicles were headed at the time of the crash. This will be extremely helpful, as the police will better be able to understand how the crash occurred and can be useful evidence in the event the other driver tries to make up a story to shift the blame onto you.

– Although reporting laws and other legal requirements do not apply to accidents that take place on private property, it is still a good idea to follow the rest of this list and document everything you can. You could still face trial in a civil lawsuit (i.e., one filed by the property owner seeking damages and not the police investigating a potential crime), no matter how close of a relationship you have with the other person. Unfortunately, money has come between many friendships in the past.

– When speaking with the other driver or property owner, you may be tempted to immediately apologize and accept blame or ask for the forgiveness of the other driver. However, this can later be used against you in court, even if you were just trying to be polite. Instead,

– If the other driver appears to be aggressive or intoxicated, it may be best to wait in your car with the doors locked until the police arrive. If you notice any behavior like this immediately, you can wait to exchange information until after their arrival. You will also want to mention it to them over the phone so they will be prepared.

= You’ll also want to see a doctor to have any potential injuries checked out as soon as possible. For one thing, some insurance companies may try to avoid paying out any claims for injuries if you wait too long. This can also help in court later if you need to seek damages in a civil lawsuit against the other driver.

– Arrange a consultation with a Texas car accident attorney as soon as possible, as this will help you determine the best way forward. You, your rights, and your wallet will all be protected by seeking quality legal advice.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few things to keep in mind if you’ve experienced a car accident in the state of Texas. By keeping these car accident tips in mind, you can make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible after an incident has taken place.

It is also extremely useful in most cases to speak with a Texas car accident lawyer whose knowledge and expertise of the state’s legal system can help you in a variety of ways, including potentially being able to sue for damages. A Texas collision attorney will know every facet of traffic law and be able to use every legal advantage to help you with your case.