Mithoff Law created this guide to what to do if you’re in a car accident because people are often disoriented and in pain after a crash. Information essential to readers who have just been in a major accident is in bold.
Information you can take in after a minor accident or at a later date is in plain text.
Steps to take after a car accident
- Check for injuries, including shock. Call 9-1-1 if injuries are present; an ambulance and police will be dispatched.
- If your car is not driveable or you/others have been severely injured, do not try to move your car. Should neither of these conditions apply, move your car to a safe place that’s out of traffic.
- If your car is in drivable condition and you are not severely injured, you are obligated to move your car out of traffic.
- Once you’ve moved your car, make sure it is entirely off the road. Put it in park, turn it off, and turn on your hazard lights.
- Create a safe area around your car using cones or flares if you are able to and have the materials on-hand.
- If you did not call 9-1-1, call the police (for both minor and major accidents). The Houston Police Department’s phone number is 713-884-3131. The police will write an official police report that can be helpful when dealing with insurance companies later on.
- Many insurance companies will request a police report when evaluating your accident.
- Police reports can contain a lot of information, from where the accident occurred to names and numbers to diagrams of the scene. While you will want to collect similar information for verification, this report can be invaluable if you are unable to do so due to injuries or dangerous conditions.
- DO NOT ADMIT GUILT TO ANYONE, even if you think you are at-fault.
- Minimize speaking to the other driver outside of gathering information.
- While it may be tempting to duke it out with the other driver, don’t.
- The same goes for if the driver or witnesses are very friendly.
- Misspoken words or admissions of fault can be used against you at a later date.
- When speaking to the police, be cooperative and exact. Do not embellish, guess, or speculate.
- Gather documentation, including:
- Names, phone numbers, and insurance information (name and policy number) of all individuals involved in the accident, including passengers
- The make, model, year, and driver’s license number of all cars involved
- Names and phone numbers of eyewitnesses, as well as their statements (if possible).
- Police officer’s name, phone number, and badge number
- Police report number
- Your own personal notes, either recorded or written
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- The directions you and the other drivers were traveling in
- Take pictures from different distances and angles, including photos of:
- Interiors and exteriors of the vehicles involved
- The scene of the accident (a full 360 degrees)
- Nearby skid marks, vehicle parts, potholes, road signs, construction signs, shattered glass, traffic signals, etc.
- Damaged property
- Your injuries and the injuries of your passengers (as well as those of other parties, if you have their consent)
- Driving conditions (rain, fog, etc.)
- Sign police documents if necessary, but DO NOT SIGN INSURANCE DOCUMENTS before speaking with your lawyer.
- Call an experienced Houston personal injury/car accident lawyer. A skilled car accident lawyer in Houston can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
Don’t know what to do after a car accident? Call Mithoff Law.
Few of us have the presence of mind (or the legal training) to know exactly what to do after a car accident.
The car accident lawyers at Mithoff Law have decades of experience helping clients and their families navigate the complex legal framework of car accident cases. Our firm has an extensive network of expert witnesses and specialists, including accident reconstructionists experts which we can leverage to strengthen your case.
Work with some of the best legal representation our country has to offer. To request a free consultation, call Mithoff Law at 713-654-1122 today.
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