Even though most people experience at least a minor car accident at some point in their life, it’s still upsetting and shocking when it happens to you. Despite potentially having strong emotions such as anger or fear, it’s important to remain as calm as possible at the accident scene. This allows you to make an accurate assessment of how the accident happened. Accuracy is essential when reporting the accident to your insurance company, the local police, and a Houston auto accident attorney if you decide to file a lawsuit later.
Make It a Priority to Check for Injuries
Regardless of who is legally at fault for causing the accident, you never want to leave the scene before police arrive. This could subject you to fines and penalties including the temporary suspension of your driver’s license. Check your own condition first and then that of your passengers. If anyone needs medical attention, do not move them and try to keep them calm until help arrives. You can call 911 yourself if you have a cell phone with you or flag someone down to do it for you.
Report Even Minor Accidents to the Local Police
You should report all car accidents to the nearest police station whether anyone sustained injuries or not. The reason is that the police will file an official report that serves as a legal description of the accident. Your insurance agent and the agent for other drivers involved will want to see the police report as soon as possible. It’s also helpful to obtain the name and badge number of the police offer who responds to your call.
Exchange Contact and Insurance Information with Other Drivers
Be sure to ask any other drivers involved in the accident for their name, contact information, date of birth, and insurance company name and contact information in a calm and rational manner. Although some drivers may refuse to provide you with this information, they must report it to the responding police officer or face legal consequences. That means you can obtain the details you need from the official police report. The officer responding to the accident can also help you get your car off the road and call for a tow truck if you need one.
Speak to Witnesses if Possible
If one or more people who were not riding in either vehicle involved in the accident witnessed what took place, ask them to provide a statement as well as contact information. This will come in handy later if you decide to hire a Houston auto accident attorney to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who struck your vehicle. Texas law allows two years from the date of an accident to initiate a lawsuit in most cases.