In Houston, Texas, there has been a 14 percent increase in car accidents from 2020 to 2021. People get drunk after the holidays or a fun event, leading to reckless driving. If you are one of those unlucky individuals that got hit to the curb, it is vital to know what to do.
The lack of knowledge in this event can lead to a financial strain on your wallet. Fortunately, an experienced car accidents lawyer can help you get maximum compensation. It makes sense that getting an attorney is part of the protocol, so keep reading to learn more about what to do after an accident.
Stress alters the brain chemistry in a way that negatively impacts your decision-making skills. This might result in poor choices and actions after a car accident. After a collision, you may experience various emotions, such as shock, guilt, anxiety, and anger.
To calm down, count to ten or take some deep breaths. The calmer you are, the more equipped you will be to deal with the issue. Now is the moment to evaluate the severity of the accident and make a decision.
Check for Injuries
The first step is to determine if anybody is wounded. If so, dial 911 to dispatch an ambulance and law enforcement to the site. This plan will ensure that you have an official report to provide to your insurance provider.
Move to a Safe Location
If the cars are still working, move them off the main route and turn on the hazard lights. If you have flares or reflective triangles, deploy them to alert other drivers. If an explosion looks imminent, evacuate everyone from the car to a safe location off the road.
Communicate Information Properly
You will need to provide the other party involved in the collision with your name and insurance details. The following are examples of the information you should attempt to collect:
- The other driver’s name and contact info
- Their policy number and insurer’s contact info
- Witness contact details
- Police report number
- Officer’s name and identification number
While you may want to discuss the car accident with the other party, it’s better to restrict your involvement. This safety protocol prevents a potential confession or directed responsibility. If you are curious, here’s a list of phrases you should avoid saying:
Do Not Utter I’m Sorry
Even if the collision was not your fault, it is normal to feel terrible for the other driver. You may be inclined to respond “I’m sorry” to soothe them. Don’t do that because a simple “I’m sorry” might demonstrate that you accept responsibility.
Even if you mean “I’m sorry you’re late for work” or “I’m sad you’re harmed,” avoid saying “I’m sorry.” When eyewitnesses and bystanders hear you say this, they may assume you caused the disaster.
Do Not Say, Let’s Manage This by Ourselves”
You may be tempted to delay alerting the police and your insurance company if your accident is minor. The opposing driver may even exert pressure on you to comply. Don’t listen to them.
No matter how minor the situation is, every collision must be reported to the police and your insurance carrier. If you do not, it will be your word against theirs, and it will be substantially more difficult to recover damages.
Do Not State, “I Have No Medical Needs
Even if you feel unharmed, it is advisable to get medical attention. Your physician can properly evaluate any injuries you may have sustained.
After a collision, adrenaline often hides the signs of injury. As a result, most people feel unscathed after an accident, only to realize a day or two later that they are wounded. Always seek medical assistance after an accident.
Don’t Post This on Social Media
What you think is a minor issue may impair your chance of getting a claim. Never share photographs of your injuries or car damage.
Even a simple photo of you at a party the night of your accident, proves that your injuries are minor. Avoid social networking before consulting an attorney.
Avoid signing a settlement without first consulting with an experienced attorney. These assertions will be used to minimize your claim. The first settlement offer is often a fraction of what you will need to recover.
Document the Accident
You should meticulously record the accident site. If you hire a car accident lawyer, they will need all the details. Here is a list of everything you need to record:
- Photos documenting all damages
- Pictures of the license plate of the other driver
- The time and date of the incident
Take personal notes about the incident, including your driving speed and road conditions. Make a drawing of the accident site and how it happened.
Make sure to include the direction of travel for each vehicle. Some insurance firms provide free smartphone applications for accident documentation.
Determine Whether or Not to Submit a Claim
Many insurance companies may increase your rate if you file a claim. Even if you were not at fault for a collision, you might still need to use your own insurance. If so, make a claim with your insurance carrier and be prepared to pay any applicable deductibles.
If necessary, your insurer will speak with the other driver’s insurer and repay your deductible. If you caused the accident, you are not compelled to make a claim. However, a minor accident might be more expensive than you expect.
Seek Medical Attention
Usually, car accident injuries are not immediately obvious. Most people report the greatest discomfort a day or two after the incident. Regardless of the severity of the situation, you should still seek medical assistance at the nearest ER.
You might still get irreversible spinal cord damage even in incidents with minimal impact. You may even have a concussion or closed head injury without knowing it. This is especially true if you lose consciousness or feel dizzy for a brief second after the impact.
Choose a Car Accident Lawyer
If you represent yourself in a car accident lawsuit, you will most likely get minimal compensation from the insurance company. They are in a business to generate profit, and one way to do this is by minimizing claim expenses. You may not be aware of your legal rights to compensation, for example, an emotional trauma.
However, an attorney is familiar with the procedure. To get the best car accident lawyer, here is what to look for:
What Is Their Background?
Several personal injury lawyers specialize in a particular case. Some deal with workers’ compensation, while others are experts in auto accidents. You need to choose an attorney with extensive expertise in car accidents.
If your case doesn’t settle before trial, look for a lawyer who has led cases to verdict. Obviously, with this level of expertise, there ought to be a track record of success in obtaining proper settlements.
How Much Are the Fees?
You need to choose an attorney that works on contingency. This means they get something once you receive your settlement. Most personal injury lawyers charge a percentage of the ultimate award.
This is around 33%; however, it might be more if your case goes to trial. You may also be liable for filing fees and expert witness expenses. Read the attorney’s fee agreement so you understand your responsibilities.
Are They Capable of Clear Communication?
You will have many inquiries throughout your case. You need an attorney who can explain the situation in a way you can understand. A lawyer using legal jargon may seem sophisticated, but the procedure can overwhelm you.
How Is Their Reputation?
Ask the attorney what portion of their business comes from recommendations from other attorneys. Referrals indicate that other lawyers have respect for the person you’re considering. It should be to the point that they are willing to risk their own reputation by recommending them.
A competent attorney should be able to provide the proper references. You may also call the state bar to see if the attorney has ever been disciplined.
Do They Have an Office?
You need a lawyer who has the means to handle your case. This indicates they have a reliable team to conduct investigations and address concerns.
In addition, an office space is a sign that the attorney is operating a professional firm. It would be difficult to trust a lawyer sifting through files to discover your case when you arrive for a consultation.
Car Accidents Lawyer in Houston, Texas
Whether you are driving to work or going to a party, you may witness a nearby accident. It is difficult to avoid since everyone is driving on the same road. However, it is vital to know what to do after an accident.
The laws vary by state, so conducting your research based on your location is essential. If you are in Houston, Texas, and looking for the best car accidents lawyer, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation and legal help with your automobile accident.