Following an auto accident, there are steps you can take to help protect your rights as an accident victim. Above all, check yourself, passengers, and others involved in the accident for injuries and call the police, especially if medical attention is necessary. If the accident resulted in significant vehicle damage, property damage, or serious injuries, it is very important to call the police and get an officer to the scene.
After ensuring that everyone is safe, your next move should be to obtain information from the other driver. After an accident, ask the other driver for their:
- Phone number
- Insurance information
- Name of insurance company
- Insurance agent’s name
- Policy number
If the other driver refuses to provide their insurance information, ask them for their home address, drivers’ license number, and license plate number. If you can’t safely obtain this information either, recording the driver’s license plate number could be enough for the police or the insurance company to track down the driver.
Gathering Information from Witnesses and the Accident Scene
In order to ensure that your insurance claim or personal injury claim is set up for success, you should also obtain information from anyone who witnessed the accident. Do not rely on the responding law enforcement officer to collect this information. Ask bystanders and witnesses of the accident for their names, phone numbers, and addresses.
If you have a camera or smart phone with you, take pictures of the accident scene, if it is safe to do so. Photos of the surrounding scene, license plates, vehicle damage, injuries, and any other contributing factors to the accident can help an insurance adjuster determine the amount of compensation you deserve and potentially aid a future personal injury case.
Providing Information to Law Enforcement Officers
The most important thing to remember is to refrain from incriminating yourself. Tell the officer what happened in the accident without speculating or guessing about facts. Do not admit fault to the other driver and only discuss specifics of the auto accident with the responding police officer or your insurance company. Do not give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You may consider retaining a personal injury attorney before making any statements to your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. A statement could be misconstrued and used against you by insurance companies.
Filing a report with the police or responding law enforcement officer can help your future insurance claim and personal injury claim. If you are injured and don’t believe you can give an accurate account of the accident immediately, you can give a statement at a later time. Your health and well-being is paramount after an accident.
Did you know that you may recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit even if you are found partially at fault in an accident? Learn more in our blog post: How is fault determined in a Texas auto accident case?
Contact an Experienced Injury Lawyer
Automobile accidents can be frightening, stressful, and confusing. It’s important to try and remain calm and seek medical attention for yourself or others if needed. After retrieving information from other drivers and witnesses and filing an accident report with law enforcement, your next step should be to contact your insurance company. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always look after your best interests. An experienced accident attorney will make sure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call Thomas J. Henry today for a free legal consultation.