Car Accident Checklist: What to Do After a Crash?

A man taking a photo of the damage to his car after a car accident, fulfilling his post car accident checklist.If you have been in a car accident, then you should try and remain calm, and if anyone is injured or there has been serious property damage, then you should call emergency services to the scene. Once the immediate danger has been dealt with, you should contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible so that they can advise you on your next steps in a free consultation.

At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, our attorneys are dedicated to personal injury victims in Texas, with car accidents being the most common case we deal with. We help people like you every day to secure the compensation they deserve.

You should not have to deal with the aftermath of a car crash alone, no matter your financial situation. That is why we offer a free consultation and work on a no-win no-fee basis, so you can never be left out of pocket.

Arrange a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer at 512-520-8100.

A Quick Car Accident Checklist

If you are at the scene of a car accident, then a quick shortlist might be the most beneficial. Here is a quick look at what to do in the aftermath of an accident:

  1. Prioritize Your Own Safety – If you have pain in your neck or back, then stay where you are and wait for help to arrive.
  2. Check For Injuries – If you are able to, then check those around you for injuries, and if anyone needs medical assistance, call 911.
  3. Call the Police – Even if the accident is not serious, the police should be called to the scene. They will minimize any potential risks and carry out an accident report.
  4. Exchange Information – Exchange vehicle and contact information from any drivers involved in the accident.
  5. Gather Evidence – Take photos of the accident, any damage, and injuries. If there are witnesses, then take down their contact information.
  6. Do Not Admit Fault – Do not admit fault, as this could harm your claim to compensation. Even if you think you contributed to the accident, you should first speak with an attorney.
  7. Seek Medical Attention – If you were not treated by paramedics at the scene, then seek a medical examination as soon as possible. This protects both your health and your car insurance claim.
  8. Contact Your Car Insurance Company – You may have a limited amount of time to let your insurance company know that you have been in an accident. But stick to the facts, do not admit fault, and let them know your attorney will be in touch.
  9. Contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – Contact our personal injury law firm for a free consultation. You may want to do this before you contact your insurance company.
  10. Keep Records – Keep records of all expenses related to your crash.

Car Accident Checklist: What to Do After a Crash

Now that you have had a quick overview, we will go into more detail about what to do after an accident. Following these steps can both protect your right to compensation and help ensure your safety after a crash.

Step 1 – Prioritize Your Safety

We can’t stress this enough. After an accident, it is essential that you prioritize your own safety. That means staying still if you believe you could be seriously injured and moving out of the way of any potential danger if you are able to. Your own safety should be considered before helping others.

Step 2 – Don’t Leave The Scene

Even if you feel ok, you should not leave the scene of the accident until you have at least exchanged information with other drivers and taken some photos from the scene. Unless the accident is very minor, you should call the police to the scene. If they do visit the scene to fill out a report, then you should wait for them to arrive and tell you that you can go.

Step 3 – Check For Injuries and Call 911

Once you have checked yourself for injuries, you can begin to check other people, starting with your own passengers. If it is safe to do so, you can then check on anyone else involved in the crash. If anyone is injured, then contact 911 as quickly as possible.

If you are unsure whether calling 911 is necessary, then you should do so anyway. Car accident injuries can be severe, even those which you cannot see. Injuries such as internal bleeding must be treated quickly, and adrenaline can sometimes mask the extent of such injuries.

It is important that you do not attempt to provide assistance that is beyond what you have been trained to do. You should refrain from moving or treating anyone unless they are in immediate external danger, such as a fire.

Step 4 – Move Vehicles

If there are no serious injuries, then you should try and move all vehicles out of the way of oncoming traffic. This will prevent traffic from backing up and make it more difficult for emergency services to get to the accident scene. It will also help protect you and others from the danger of oncoming traffic.

Step 5 – Call The Police

Unless the accident was minor, you should contact the police while you are at the scene. You are legally required to do so in any case involving an injury or property damage to vehicles that exceed $1000. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine or even jail time.

The police will speak to everyone involved in the crash and file a police report, which will become an important piece of evidence in your claim. The police will also help to minimize any risk, such as ensuring no one is driving under the influence and dealing with potential hazards to other drivers.

Step 6 – Do Not Admit Fault

Do not admit fault in any way, even if you believe you could be partially to blame. You may not have all the facts yet, and any addition of guilt could hinder your auto insurance claim.

Texas operates under comparative fault, which means that even if you are partially to blame, so long as you contributed less than 50% to the accident, you may still be owed compensation. However, your settlement will be reduced to reflect your part in the accident.

In order to protect your right to compensation, it is best not to admit any fault until you have spoken to your attorney, who can establish the facts of your case. You should also refrain from making any promises to the other driver regarding car insurance or police involvement.

Step 7 – Exchange Information

It is important to exchange information with all other drivers involved in the accident. You should be sure to get their names, contact information, car insurance details, and driver’s license numbers. If any of the other drivers are not the owners of the vehicle, then get the owner’s information too. To prevent errors, take photos of their car registration plate, and driver’s license.

If there are any witnesses to the accident, including passengers or bystanders, then you should also get their names and contact information. Your attorney may contact them at a later date to build up evidence in your case.

Step 8 – Gather Evidence

Any evidence you can collect at the scene of the accident could help your attorney to establish the facts of your case and determine liability. Some evidence that could benefit your case includes:

  • Photos or videos of the scene of the accident, including property damage, other cars involved in the accident from all angles, traffic signals, visible injuries, road conditions, skid marks, and anything else you believe could be relevant.
  • The make, model, year, license plate number, and driver’s license number of other vehicles involved in the crash.
  • The name and badge number of the police officer at the scene and the police report number, if possible.
  • If there are any visible cameras nearby, take note of their location.

Step 9 – Seek Medical Attention

If you did not receive medical attention at the scene of the accident, then you should get an examination as soon as possible. Car accidents are traumatic, and adrenaline could mask some serious injuries that must be treated. In addition, your medical report will be integral to your personal injury claim. It evidences your damages so that you can fight for compensation.

Step 10 – Write Out What Happened

Following a car accident, there is a lot to think about. However, when you can you should try and write a description of how the accident happened. Memories can become hazy over time, and having something clearly written down will help you.

Be sure to include the specific location, date, and time of the accident, what you were doing when the accident occurred, and what you believe the other drivers were doing.

Step 11 – Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

You can contact Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, for a free consultation at any point. We keep our phone lines open 24/7, so no matter when the accident occurred or when you feel ready to contact us, someone will be available to advise you about your next steps. We recommend speaking to us before you speak to your insurance company.

Step 12: Notify Your Car Insurance Provider

You will likely have a limited amount of time to tell your insurance company that you have been in an accident. Failure to inform them of the accident in a timely manner could hinder your ability to claim compensation.

Reporting the accident does not mean you have to file a claim, and you can speak with your lawyer about the pros and cons of making a car accident claim, such as the potential increase in your car insurance premiums.

Remember, every car insurance company, even your own, is driven by profit. That means that they will try to limit what they have to pay you if they can. Therefore do not admit fault and simply stick to the facts of your case. If you do continue with legal representation, then your car accident lawyer will take over all negotiations with insurance companies. They will know what to say so that your potential insurance claims are protected.

Step 12: Keep Thorough Records

You can help your attorney fight for the compensation you deserve by keeping records of everything. You should keep receipts and records of all your expenses, including vehicle repairs, lost wages, and medical expenses. Medical expenses are not only your hospital bills. They could also include medication costs, transport to and from appointments, and any other expenses related to your medical treatment.

Your attorney may also help you fight for pain and suffering damages, which could be available to compensate you for the emotional trauma you have suffered as a result of the crash. We recommend that you keep a car accident diary with information about how the trauma of the accident, and your injuries, are impacting your daily life. For example, if you are unable to go for your morning run or have to skip meals with friends, all of this should be documented.

Advice For Dealing With Car Insurance Companies

Making a car insurance claim can be incredibly stressful, and we always recommend reaching out to an attorney for advice. Once you have the representation, they will take over all negotiations.

We recommend that you do not admit fault or downplay your injuries. Answer their questions in as little detail as you can until you have all the information. Even if you believe you are partially at fault, you do not want to give them ammunition to use against you.

If your insurance adjuster asks to record your call, then you should deny their request. This could be a tactic to get you to say something to devalue your claim while recording what you say.

If an insurance company offers you a quick settlement, then it is usually best not to accept it. The fact that they have offered you a settlement usually demonstrates that they believe you have a valid claim. Once you accept a settlement, you will lose your right to fight for more, and the first settlement offer is usually very low.

Your insurance adjuster probably expects you to refuse the first settlement offer, and this will begin the negotiation process. Your attorney will help you establish what your case is worth so that you can ask for a settlement that is representative of your losses.

Remember, insurance companies are big businesses that are driven by profit. They employ large legal teams whose sole job is to reduce the value of your claim. When you have the help of a car accident lawyer, you level the playing field. Your attorney will protect your rights and ensure that every avenue to compensation is explored.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim After a Car Accident?

The compensation you can claim after a car accident in Texas depends largely on the value of your damages. However, other important factors may also include how clear liability is and the quality of your representation.

Broadly, there are three types of damages that could be available to you in a car accident claim; they are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate you for all out-of-pocket expenses as a result of your accident. They include things such as property damage, lost wages, and medical expenses.

Some economic damages, such as your property damage, are relatively straightforward and easy to provide evidence for. However, if you have ongoing injuries, then it is also important that your future expenses are considered in your settlement as well.

For example, if your injuries require ongoing treatment, or you are unlikely to return to work any time soon, then you should be compensated for your future losses. This can be difficult to establish, but an experienced attorney will know how to evidence your claims. They may need to draw upon expert testimony, making the settlement figure you are asking for is difficult to dispute.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are those relating to your emotional anguish, known as pain and suffering. They also include loss of enjoyment; if your injuries have left you with a lower quality of life, then this should be considered in your settlement.

One common way to place a value on non-economic damages is to take the value of your economic damages and apply a multiplier. For example, if you have a broken arm that is preventing you from living your life as you once did, but you are likely to make a full recovery, then your attorney may be able to justify a multiplier of two. However, if your injuries are life-long and are likely to continue to negatively impact how you live your life, then a multiplier as high as five could be justified.

Punitive Damages

While economic and non-economic damages are compensatory damages, which means that they are in place to compensate personal injury victims for their suffering, punitive damages are different. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant or discourage similar behavior in the future.

Punitive damages can only be awarded by a Judge. Most car accident cases never go to court, which means that punitive damages are not available. However, if your case does result in a lawsuit and the defendant acted particularly recklessly or with gross negligence, then they may be awarded to you.

At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, our car accident lawyers are highly skilled litigators, and if your case does go to court, we will be prepared to advocate on your behalf.

Texas Car Accident Checklist FAQs

At Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we work on a contingency fee basis. When you sign up for representation, we will agree upon a percentage that we will take if we succeed at securing compensation in your case. If we do not succeed, we will not take anything. Therefore, you will never be left out of pocket for hiring representation.

Even if you believe the car accident was minor, and there appears to be no injuries and little property damage, you should still move somewhere safe, exchange information with the other drivers, and document the scene, including taking pictures. You should also contact your insurance company. You might not plan on making a claim, but if the other driver tries to, then these steps could help protect you.

If you are in a car accident and they drive away, you should still follow the above steps. You should contact the police, even if the accident was minor. If someone drives away, then it could be a sign that they were driving under the influence or without a license. Reporting it to the police could help prevent them from causing further harm.

Cases involving uninsured motorists are difficult. You will still follow all of the above steps. When you contact your insurance company, it is worth finding out if you have uninsured motorist coverage. Either way, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options; you may have more than one avenue for compensation. For example, perhaps the road was poorly maintained, and you could claim some compensation from the agency responsible.

Even if you think you may be at fault for the accident, the step-by-step process does not change. You should still contact a car accident lawyer who can review the facts of your case. So long as you contributed less than 50%, you may still have a claim for compensation.

If you believe that you might be seriously injured, then you should stay where you are and wait for paramedics to arrive. If you believe that you can move without injuring yourself further, then you should move to somewhere safe, call an ambulance, and wait for paramedics to arrive.

When it comes to car accident claims, numerous factors can affect how long it takes to claim compensation; it could take months or over a year. Including the quality of your representation, at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we will dedicate our time to your case and will fight for quick and fair compensation without ever compromising on your rights. If your case cannot be settled quickly, then we will be prepared to go the distance and will fight tirelessly to secure what you deserve.

The vast majority of car accident claims do not go to court. It is usually not in the best interest of insurance companies to go to court as they cost time and money and can ultimately end up costing them a lot more than if they settle. However, if your case does go to court, our law firm will be prepared to represent you. It is important that you have the support of an attorney who is a skilled litigator, as the threat of a court case can help persuade insurance companies to offer a fair settlement.

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Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works

Our attorneys handle a large number of car accidents each year. We have a vast amount of experience and dedicate ourselves fully to each individual case.

We are passionate about helping personal injury victims claim just and fair compensation that reflects their past and future losses and their emotional suffering.

When you secure representation from us, we will waste no time collecting evidence and ensuring that the settlement you are asking for is difficult to deal with. We will keep you informed and educated at every stage, giving you options and the power to control your case. At the same time, we will take over all of the tricky stuff so you can focus fully on your recovery.

Call Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, today to arrange a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney at 512-520-8100.