No one ever expects to get in a car accident, but if you’re faced with an unfortunate situation, it’s crucial to avoid some of the most common mistakes that befall many victims after a Texas car accident. How you react to the accident can significantly influence whether you can get the compensation and justice you deserve.
After a personal injury occurs, it is the legal right of the injured person to file a personal injury claim. A claim for personal injury allows a victim to pursue damages for any losses they may have suffered. While it is your right to file a lawsuit, understand that this right does not go on indefinitely. In Texas, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date the injury occurred. Neglecting to file a lawsuit within two years of the injury could cost you your right to file.
Don’t let mistakes in filing and missteps after a Texas car accident prevent you from receiving the compensation to which you are entitled. With 26 years of experience in Texas law, Dale R. Rose is committed to helping you get the compensation and justice you deserve. After a car accident, avoid these common missteps to protect yourself and your legal rights.
Don’t Leave the Scene of the Accident
Always stay at the accident scene until the police come to make a report of the accident. You are breaking the law if you drive off following the crash.
Under Texas code 550.021, the driver must remain at the scene of the accident and share their driver’s license and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. If there is injury or death, the driver must give notice of the accident and stay at the scene. It is illegal under Texas law to flee the location of the accident.
Go to a safe area where you are both not obstructing traffic and not endangering yourself around traffic. Exchange all relevant information. Collect the following information:
- Phone Number
- Driver’s License
- Vehicle Registration Number
- Their Auto Insurance Company and Policy Number
Do Not Forget to Call 911
Not reporting a car accident to police can be punishable by law in some states. Even if the accident is minor, you should call the police and document it. Dial 911 and wait for further instructions.
The police will file the accident report, which is an essential document that can help you with your injury case. Without a police report, the insurance companies can easily deny your claim due to the lack of substantial evidence.
In some cases, an officer might not show up for a minor accident. You should still try to get the other driver’s information, take photos of the scene and property damage, and try to get a photo of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license.
Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Treatment.
After a car accident, it’s normal to be in shock. When you are in an emotional situation, like a car crash, your adrenaline starts pumping, which can mask the severity of any injuries you may or may not have. Getting medical treatment after a car accident is critical.
An injury from a car accident could take days or weeks to manifest. However, you shouldn’t wait until the pain emerges to be evaluated. See a physician or go to the ER for a checkup as soon as possible after the accident. Medical personnel will treat you and document the extent of your injuries. A medical professional must verify and document your injuries to increase your chances of winning your case.
An experienced Texas personal injury lawyer will help you deal with the consequences and aftermath of a car accident.
Don’t Neglect Documenting the Scene of the Accident.
One of the most important steps to take after an accident occurs is to document the scene of the accident. If you have your phone or camera, take as much footage as possible to be used as evidence. Collect the contact information of eyewitnesses and write down your account of what happened at the scene. If police respond to write an accident report, get the officer’s contact information. Record all party’s license plates, the time of day, and the exact location of the accident.
Never Say You’re Sorry or Admit Fault
If you apologize to the other driver, this can actually be interpreted as admitting fault for the accident. An apology could mean that you’re denied coverage or made responsible for damage to the car. Commercial drivers are taught to not speak with you or say anything to you about the accident.
Texas has at-fault insurance, meaning damages are paid by the amount of fault both parties are found to have. Suppose it is determined that the first driver is 60 percent at fault and the second driver is 40 percent at fault. Then, each driver will pay based on the percentage they are at fault. Admitting guilt at the scene can ultimately be used against you and cost you a lot of money.
Before making any statement, contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling car accident injury cases. A lawyer can assess your situation and guide you in preparing a statement based on the details of your case.
Don’t Speak to the Other Party’s Insurance Company Without a Lawyer
While the other driver’s insurance adjuster may contact you for a statement, it’s essential to understand that you are not obligated to and should not give them a statement before you’ve spoken with experienced legal counsel. Insurance adjusters are not working for your interests. They represent the insurance company’s interests and seek to pay you as little money as possible. Anything you may say to an insurance company representative might be used against you later in court.
A Texas car accident lawyer will help you with the insurance company or speak to them for you. Talk to a lawyer about the best way to protect your rights and avoid having to dispute a denied or undervalued claim.
Never Enter in a Settlement Agreement Without a Lawyer
Some insurance companies will try to talk people into signing a release within days of an accident. The insurance company does this by offering some amount of money, plus the payment of “reasonable medical bills.” The offer might seem like a good deal at the time. However, what if your injuries are worse than you think after a few days? Your injuries could take months to heal or cause long-term problems. In addition, the insurance company may later contest medical bills and claim they are not “reasonable” because the release only obligates them to pay “reasonable medical bills.”
It’s worth your while to ask a personal injury lawyer to evaluate your claim. They can give you the confidence to know that you’re getting a fair deal, or they can explain why you should continue to fight for justice.
Never Try to File a Lawsuit Without a Lawyer
Some individuals may be tempted to file a lawsuit by themselves, unaware of the risks involved. By going at your case alone, it’s much more likely that you will make mistakes that will cost you in the long run. Not only could the case be thrown out of court and you end up blamed for the accident that wasn’t your fault, but it could end up costing you more out-of-pocket expenses by not being adequately represented.
A personal injury attorney can not only provide you with legal guidance, but they can determine if you have cause to file a lawsuit against the other driver for personal injury.
Do Not Neglect to Hire a Texas Car Accident Lawyer
One of the most significant mistakes you can make after an auto accident that has caused injury to yourself or others is not contacting a personal injury attorney.
A car accident lawyer may be able to help you:
- Talk to your insurance company representative and that of the other driver on your behalf
- File an auto accident claim with your auto insurance company
- Determine if you have cause for file a personal injury lawsuit
- Help you collect evidence to support your case
- Consult legal and auto experts
- Fight for the best settlement that covers the damages you have incurred.
Making common mistakes after sustaining injuries in an auto accident can lower your chances of getting the compensation you need to recover fully. By hiring Dale R. Rose as your attorney, you’ll be doing everything you can to maximize your recovery and rebuild your life.
Speak to a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Dale R. Rose has experience and integrity and will represent you in your personal injury case. He has spent 26 years protecting the rights of injured individuals and their families throughout Collin County and all of North Texas. You deserve an experienced attorney proven to deliver winning verdicts and high-dollar settlements.
Dale Rose will answer your questions, provide advice critical to your claim, help you identify your next steps, and develop a plan for legal action. He won’t accept a fee unless he secures compensation for you.
Call us at (927) 727-1333 or contact us today for a free consultation at our McKinney, TX office.