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Steps to take after a motor vehicle accident

The aftermath of a serious motor vehicle accident can be devastating, stressful and confusing, especially if you or a loved one was injured. Even a relatively minor car accident can be frightening, and very few drivers go through life without ever getting into some type of crash. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that about 10 million car collisions occur every year, but fortunately, most do not result in harm to the people involved. But if you are injured, we cannot emphasize this enough: Seek medical assistance!

There are a few steps every driver should remember when involved in a motor vehicle accident:

  • Remain calm. Acting before you get hold of your emotions can result in greater harm to you and your passengers.
  • Pull over. As soon as you are hit, pull over to a safe location. Continuing down the road can be interpreted as leaving the scene of an accident and leave you open to serious penalties.
  • Call the police. Ask them to send an officer to the scene.
  • Check to see if anyone is hurt. If anyone is injured, ask the police to send an ambulance. Administer first aid as appropriate.
  • Determine whether you are safe in your car. If you are unable to move your car out of traffic, or if the vehicle is leaking fuel, move to a safe spot in the vicinity.
  • Exchange information with the other driver. Even if the accident is minor, exchange information with the other driver. Get names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information. You will need these details if you need to file an insurance claim, which is not always immediately clear. It’s better to be safe than sorry. However, if you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, do not engage the person. Instead, alert the police.
  • Get a police report. The officer who reports to the scene will make a report of the accident. Get a copy of it, as this documentation will prove invaluable if you file an insurance claim.
  • Take pictures. Use your cell phone to take pictures of your vehicle and any other autos involved in the collision. Drivers often allege greater damage than what actually occurred, and pictures can help you prove the true extent of it at the time of the accident to insurance agents. Also photograph injuries at the scene. Pictures of the crash site can help your attorney reconstruct what happened and prove liability.
  • Interview witnesses. If others witnessed the accident, take down their contact information and any details they recall. This information may fill in details that support your version of the event.

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Consult an attorney quickly after an accident

A successful accident claim depends on following the tips above. It can dictate the amount of money you collect from your insurance carrier to parties who may be at fault for causing your accident. It's best to have an attorney guide you through the appropriate steps toward recovery after an accident. A board-certified attorney in Texas can inform you of compensation you may not realize you are entitled to receive.

There are limitations to the time you have to file an injury claim. Texas limits claims to two years. This is why it is necessary to take action to resolve the issue. Waiting too long may impede your ability to recall important details over time. These details could be key to supporting your accident claim.

Seek a board-certified Texas attorney

An experienced accident attorney can answer all your questions and provide you with guidance regarding your legal options. The Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec in Houston offers a free consultation for injury cases, so you have nothing to lose. Call us or schedule an appointment through this website.

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