What to Do After a Car Accident in Houston

What to Do After a Car Accident in Houston

Being involved in a car accident, minor or major, can be a harrowing experience. In the midst of shock and confusion, it is crucial to respond appropriately and take specific steps to safeguard your rights and interests. Understanding what to do after a car accident in Houston will not only help you stay calm but also aid in strengthening any potential legal claim you may need.

In the moments and days following an accident, from the immediate aftermath at the scene through medical treatment and insurance reporting, each step can significantly affect both your recovery and potential compensation. To navigate this difficult situation more effectively, we present this comprehensive guide, which will serve as your roadmap on what to do after a car accident in Houston.

In this guide, we will cover essential steps such as gathering information, contacting the right authorities, hiring local legal professionals like Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers to champion your rights, and ensuring the best possible outcome for you after an unfortunate car accident. By following these directions, you can protect yourself legally and financially while focusing on what matters most — your recovery.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Houston

After a car accident

If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in Houston or anywhere in Texas, call our Houston car accident attorneys at Trust Guss Injury Lawyers, as soon as possible. Our legal team has helped thousands of car accident victims financially recover from their injuries and losses. We have decades of experience, and our consultations are completely free. Call now at 1-866-784-1267 or contact us online to discuss your case today.

While the aftermath of every car accident is different, try to take the following basic steps whenever possible to protect your health and your legal rights.

STEP 1 - Check For Injuries

Your safety and the safety of others involved are foremost. Check yourself and your passengers for possible injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, try not to move them unless it's necessary for their safety. This applies whether you were the driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or a cyclist. It's essential to give this immediate attention, even if there don't appear to be any significant vehicle damages.

Your adrenaline surge might mask the pain or symptoms of injuries. So, don't make a quick judgment about your condition. Do a self-assessment. Check for any pain, discomfort, dizziness, or uncontrolled bleeding. Ask your passengers as well.

If injuries are severe, it is crucial not to move the individuals involved unless it is necessary for their safety, such as in the case of a fire or if they are in immediate danger. Further movement can exacerbate certain types of injuries, particularly those involving the neck, back, or spinal cord.

It's also important to note that some injuries, like internal damage or whiplash, might not show up immediately following an accident. This is why it's critical to seek medical attention promptly after an accident, irrespective of whether you think you are injured or not.

Keep in mind that medical records documenting any injuries or treatment received as a result of the accident can be critical evidence if you decide to file a personal injury claim. Your health should be your top priority. Ensuring that your injuries are professionally assessed will not only protect your health but also your potential legal case.

STEP 2 - Call 911

Once everyone's immediate safety is secured, call 911. This is a compulsory move, especially when there are physical injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage. Authorities will dispatch emergency medical services if required and send a police officer to the scene. When speaking to the 911 operator, provide all the necessary details about the accident scene, your location, and whether there are any immediate hazards, like leaking fuel or a blocked roadway.

Calling the authorities is always a good idea after someone else collides with your car. You may be in shock and might not realize that you’ve sustained a serious injury, and the paramedics can advise you as to whether you should go to the emergency room in an ambulance. Additionally, under the Texas Transportation Code Section 550.026, you are legally obligated to report the accident if anyone was injured or killed or if one of the vehicles involved cannot be driven from the scene.

STEP 3 - Give Police Your Side of the Story

Even if you don’t need an ambulance, calling 911 will still send law enforcement officers to the scene. It’s important that you tell the police your version of what happened since there is always the chance the other driver will tell a biased story. 

When the police arrive, provide them with a detailed, accurate account of what happened. Include only facts, and avoid speculating about anything you're not sure about. Also, don't downplay your injuries or potential vehicle damage — remember, some injuries may become apparent only after a few days.

Police can also help determine whether the other driver broke the law. For example, an officer who thinks the other driver seems intoxicated can perform breathalyzer or field sobriety tests, which can provide evidence of the driver’s blood-alcohol level. The driver may face arrest and drunk driving charges, which can help your case in the future. In any event, you want your version of events in the police report.

STEP 4 - Take Notes and Photos

Once everyone's immediate safety has been addressed and authorities have been alerted, it's critical to start gathering information from the accident scene. This information will play a crucial role in any insurance claims or legal proceedings that may follow. Here's a comprehensive list of the information you should aim to collect:

  • Details of the Other Parties Involved: This includes the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and insurance information (insurance company name and policy number) of all drivers involved. If they are not the owner of the vehicle, get the owner's details as well.
  • Description of Vehicles: Note down the make, model, color, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident.
  • Witness Contact Information: If there are any witnesses to the accident, try to obtain their names and contact details. Their account of the incident can be vital during the insurance claim or a lawsuit.
  • Law Enforcement Officers: When the police arrive, get all responding officers' names and badge numbers. Also, ask them how to obtain a copy of the accident report.
  • Photograph the Scene: Use your mobile phone to take pictures of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles, visible damage, skid marks, road conditions, traffic signs, injuries, or anything else that could be relevant. Photos can provide compelling evidence if there's a dispute about who is at fault.

While you're collecting this information, it's critical to remain calm and cooperative. Avoid getting into disputes about who is at fault for the accident, as this could escalate tensions and complicate matters. Remember, the primary objective here is to collect comprehensive evidence to accurately depict the accident when making your insurance claim or, if necessary, your legal case.

STEP 5 - Get Medical Attention

After a car accident, it's paramount to seek medical attention promptly, regardless of whether you feel injured or not. While certain injuries manifest symptoms immediately, others, like internal injuries or traumatic brain injuries, can take hours, days, or even weeks to become apparent. Regrettably, such injuries can be severe and life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Here are things to consider after the accident:

  • Prompt Medical Examination: Visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The adrenaline surge after a traumatic event often masks pain, so you might not realize the extent of your injuries. Undergoing a comprehensive medical examination can ensure that any potential injuries are diagnosed and treated without delay.
  • Follow Medical Advice: Once you have visited your healthcare provider, it's crucial to follow their advice and treatment plan. This might involve additional tests, medication, physical therapy, or other treatments.
  • Keep Records: Maintain a detailed record of all medical treatments, prescriptions, tests, or procedures received. Likewise, keep a record of any symptoms you experience after the accident and how they impact your daily life. These details can prove invaluable if you decide to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Seeking immediate medical attention accomplishes two things: it ensures your health and well-being and creates a medical record that links the accident to any diagnosed injuries, which is essential for securing compensation.

Remember, your health should always be your number one priority. Even if you're worried about medical bills, know that if someone else’s negligence caused the accident, you might be entitled to receive compensation covering these costs. Consult a personal injury attorney, such as those at Stewart J. Guss Injury Lawyers, for advice tailored to your situation.

STEP 6 - Protect Your Rights

In the aftermath of a car accident, your words and actions can significantly impact any potential legal or compensation claims that you may explore. It's crucial that you preserve your rights and protect your interests by following these guidelines:

  • Limit Communication with the Other Party's Insurer: After the accident, you'll likely be contacted by the other driver's insurance company. While you should cooperate with them, you're under no obligation to provide detailed statements or sign any documents without having an attorney review them first. They might try to use your words against you to lower the compensation or deny the claim.
  • Be Wary of Early Settlement Offers: Insurance companies often try to close cases quickly with an early settlement. It might be tempting to accept, especially if you have mounting medical bills. However, quick settlements are often considerably lower than what you might need or be entitled to. It's crucial to consult with an attorney before accepting any such offer.
  • Avoid Discussing the Accident on Social Media: In today’s digital age, it's natural to want to share our experiences with friends online. After a car accident, however, it's best to stay silent on these public platforms. Insurance adjusters or opposing attorneys may monitor your social media platforms to find anything that they could potentially use to challenge the severity of your injuries or assign blame.
  • Documentation: Keep all documents related to the accident well-organized and readily accessible. This includes medical bills, repair estimates, photos of the accident scene or vehicle damage, and witness contact information, amongst other things.

We cannot reiterate enough — consult with a lawyer to ensure you're making the right decisions when in doubt.

STEP 7 - Call a Car Accident Lawyer

Once doctors diagnose your injuries and you’ve started treatment, the financial stress can start to build, including medical bills, missed paychecks, and more. Make your next step to discuss the best course of action with a recognized personal injury law firm.

Many people think they will save time and money by handling a car insurance claim against the negligent driver on their own. In reality, this can cost you more time and money. The insurance company’s adjusters want you to believe you don’t need a lawyer—but you should never believe them. They don’t have your best interests in mind—they actually want to limit your payout so the company can keep more money, and the adjuster gets a bigger bonus!

The right lawyer can help you in many ways after a car accident:

  • Identify when you should file a claim with another driver’s insurance company
  • Determine the amount of damages you are entitled to recover
  • Prepare and file the claim for you
  • Communicate with claims adjusters to ensure all of their questions are answered in your favor
  • Review settlement offers and advise you as to whether they are insufficient
  • Negotiate for a higher offer when needed
  • Consult with you and initiate filing for litigation by trial if needed

Having a top-rated personal injury lawyer handle your claim can save you time and stress while you focus on recovering from your injuries—it often results in more compensation for your losses, and regularly will put money in your pocket.

Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

Stewart J. Guss, Houston Car Accident Attorney
Stewart J. Guss, Car Accident Attorney

The attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyer, are nationally recognized car accident lawyers who have stood up for the rights of Houston car accident victims for decades. We can begin helping our clients soon after a crash and will leave no stone unturned to obtain your case’s best possible outcome. Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at (866) 784-1267 or contact us online.