What To Do After a Car Wreck in 2023
Are you in a car wreck situation? Get the right legal advice from PM Law
Firm. Our experts provide eight vital tips on what to do after a car wreck in 2023. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,063,428 non-fatal vehicle accidents in the United States in 2021. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported a total of 42,939 deaths connected to 39,508 fatal crashes in 2021. That number represented 12.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals. Almost 4,500 of the country’s fatal crashes happened in the state of Texas. Of those wrecks, 50% involved multiple vehicles. Since accidents can happen to anyone, it is essential for Texas drivers to know what to do next.
Preparing for a Car Accident in Texas
No person can be fully prepared for the overwhelming experience of a crash. However, there are ways to make dealing with the immediate effects a little easier.
These are some useful items to keep in the car for a potential accident:
- Small notebook
- Pen or pencil
- First aid kit
- Current insurance card
- Current registration
- List of emergency contacts
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable snacks
- Jumper cables
The above items can also be useful in the event of a mechanical breakdown.
Steps To Take After a Vehicle Accident in Texas
Even when drivers behave responsibly on the road, the careless actions of others can cause crashes. It is important for every driver in Texas to know what to do after an accident occurs. Knowing the correct steps to take can help prevent a costly mistake or an unnecessary injury. Follow these steps if an accident happens.
Step 1. Stay Safe
One of the most common questions people ask is whether they should get out of the car or stay in it. In nearly all cases, safety experts recommend staying in the vehicle and turning on the emergency flashers. Doing so may help prevent further injuries. People who get out of a car on the side of the road are more vulnerable to injuries from oncoming traffic. On most roads, there is a small space between the shoulder and moving vehicles. Inclement weather and darkness can make it even harder to see people standing on the side of the road. If the vehicle is stuck in the middle of a multi-lane highway, it is important to let a 911 operator know. Law enforcement will respond as quickly as possible and will move the vehicle.
Another reason why staying in the car is usually better is to avoid exacerbating an injury from the crash. Some types of internal injuries can be worsened by movement. After a crash, it is common for a person to experience the fight-or-flight response. When this happens, pain from injuries may be masked. As a result, people may be unaware of their injuries. Pain may not fully develop for several days after the accident.
Some bad vehicle crashes may result in fires. If there is smoke or a fire, get everyone out of the vehicle immediately. The National Fire Protection Association says to stay 100 feet away from any vehicle that is smoking or on fire after a crash.
Step 2. Address Visible and Potential Injuries
Always call 911 right away after a wreck to report it and to receive emergency medical attention. If nobody has a working cellphone after the crash, ask any bystanders to call for help.
Even if everyone seems fine, it is important to call for help and report the incident. Check to see if anyone is bleeding or needs care until professional help arrives. If possible, do not move injured passengers. It helps to learn some basic first aid. For example, applying pressure to a bleeding wound may help slow the bleeding until help arrives. A good way to be prepared is to take a first aid course from the Red Cross.
Step 3. Collect Important Information
If possible, write down the license plate numbers of any other involved vehicles. At night, it may be necessary to use a flashlight to see the numbers. If there are bystanders, ask for their names and contact information. Print the names of any other people involved in the wreck and their insurance companies.
After completing the previous steps, write down any details about the crash. For example, the time of day, any special weather conditions and the surroundings are helpful details. As time passes, it can be harder to recall such information. If possible, take photos of the scene with a cellphone. Try to capture different angles. Also, take photos of any personal or passenger injuries.
In some unfortunate cases, other involved parties drive away. If that happens, try to write down a description of the vehicle that drove away. Give that information to the police when they arrive.
Step 4. Never Admit Liability
It is common to panic after a crash, and some people may feel more talkative when they are anxious. Try to stay as calm as possible. Practice breathing exercises or mindfulness. When speaking to bystanders or any involved parties, only ask for related information. Do not provide more than contact information and insurance information to other people involved in the crash. Also, do not verbally minimize the severity of visible or potential injuries.
Openly or inadvertently admitting liability can be harmful to a case. Many people have a habit of apologizing when they do not need to, and that can be detrimental after a vehicle crash. Even an apology may be mistaken for admitting fault. It can negatively impact compensation, and there is no legal obligation to admit fault to the police. Be sure to ask the responding police officers how to get a copy of the police report. Filing a report after a crash is an important part of receiving compensation if other parties caused the wreck.
Step 5. Get a Thorough Medical Evaluation
When paramedics arrive on the scene, do not refuse to go to the hospital. In the second step, the fight-or-flight response was mentioned. Remember that this factor can make people wrongly assume that they are uninjured. Drivers should make sure that all passengers also seek thorough medical care. Paramedics can treat visible injuries. However, emergency room doctors are equipped to find internal injuries that are only detectable through X-rays, CT scans or other tests.
Having a thorough evaluation is also important for the purpose of a treatment plan. For example, a crash victim may have soft tissue injuries that require physical therapy. It is important to follow any recommended treatment plan after the crash. If it is necessary to seek compensation later, following a doctor’s orders is important.
Step 6. Contact the Insurance Company
After receiving medical care, take additional photos of the wrecked vehicle if possible. The insurance company needs to know about the wreck as soon as possible. It is important to share all the information about bystanders and other involved parties. Send photos of the crash scene. Share any notes about the details of the accident. Also, send photos of the vehicle. Provide the towing company’s information if the vehicle had to be towed after the crash.
Insurance agents are usually helpful in walking policyholders through the next steps. Answer the questions honestly. Avoid trying to speculate about any details. Additionally, do not talk to the insurance companies of any involved parties. Doing so may only create a disadvantage if it is necessary to file a lawsuit later.
Step 7. Contact a Texas Attorney
If someone else caused the crash, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney in Texas. The attorney will handle all correspondence with the at-fault party’s insurance company. When insurance companies offer direct settlements to people, they are low. Although it may seem tempting to accept an immediate check, it is better to work with an attorney who can fight for fair compensation.
Many people underestimate the severity of their injuries. This is especially true when the injuries cause lifelong or long-term problems. Some people become disabled as a result of vehicle wreck injuries. Attorneys consider current injuries, future care needs and any reduced abilities. In addition to factoring in physical injuries, they consider property damage.
Talk To a Texas Attorney About Your Case
By following all the steps in this guide, you will be in a better position to file a lawsuit for injury compensation. You should not have to pay for your injuries or your family’s injuries if someone else caused them. If any passengers died as a result of a crash, you may be able to collect compensation for funeral costs and other expenses.
Were you the victim of a vehicle accident in Texas? PM Law Firm can help you fight for the money you need to get your life back. To see if you may be eligible to collect compensation, please contact PM Law Firm for a free consultation.