What to Do After a Car Accident That is Not Your Fault
If you are currently at the scene of an accident and are unsure what steps to follow, here is what to do.
- Check yourself for injuries, especially in the neck, back, or head. If you feel pain in these areas, do not let anyone move you.
- If your injuries allow it, check others for injuries.
- If there are any injuries, call an ambulance, and ask for the police as well.
- If you are able, collect evidence, i.e, photos, videos, and a voice note statement of what happened.
- Collect witness details.
- At any point, call a personal injury attorney.
For a more in-depth guide, read on.
Car Accidents in the United States
There are an incredibly high number of road users across the United States. Every single day millions of drivers hit the roads and, unfortunately, a small percentage of these will be involved in a car accident. Accidents involving motor vehicles are the most common reason for an individual to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
For those that have been involved in car accidents, it can be a scary time. The crash itself can be terrifying, leaving mental trauma and physical injuries, and often resulting in serious pain and emotional scars that may never heal.
On top of this, you may have to take time off work, which can lead to lost income, and you may have medical bills that are quickly rising. This can leave victims feeling overwhelmed and anxious about their financial security.
Thankfully, if you have been injured in a car accident in Austin, and it was caused by another party and their negligent behavior, you may be entitled to pursue compensation and the recovery of all the damages you have incurred as a result.
For the best chances of achieving this, you should always involve a personal injury attorney at the earliest possible moment. Their job is to help victims like you pursue what is rightfully owed to them.
Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works
Here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we handle car accident cases on a weekly basis. We can help you prove that the at-fault driver was liable for your damages and will negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Car insurance companies are much more likely to respond in a fair and reasonable manner when you have a reputable attorney behind you.
We will investigate on your behalf, calculate your damages, file your paperwork, and ensure you are kept educated and informed throughout.
By doing this, we give victims the opportunity to remove themselves from much of the process, allowing them to focus on their recovery and mental health.
We believe that all victims deserve reliable compensation and the opportunity to pursue a car accident claim if they have been involved in a car accident that was not their fault.
In order to offer this opportunity to all victims, we work on a contingency fee basis, a fee structure that allows us to represent clients with no up-front costs. You do not pay for us to represent you, or if we lose your case. You simply pay a percentage of any settlement we can win, removing the risk from you, the client.
We offer a free consultation and initial case evaluation to all victims, giving them the space to ask questions they need to ask. Our attorneys will look at your case and inform you if it is worth pursuing. If it is, we can begin right away.
Part of our ethos is our belief that reliable representation should be available to all victims, no matter what financial situation they are in. In order to achieve this, we offer a free consultation and case evaluation to all clients. This is no-strings-attached and allows victims to at least receive some free, unbiased legal advice regarding their case.
Check For Injuries
The most important thing to do in the aftermath of the accident is to check yourself for injuries to the neck, head or back. If you feel pain in these areas, you could have a serious injury and you should make sure that you do not move, or let anyone move you until an ambulance can attend the scene.
Call An Ambulance
If there are any injuries whatsoever, you need to make sure an ambulance is called immediately. They are the only ones qualified to deal with any injuries. Even if on the surface, people seem okay, remember adrenaline and shock masks even the most serious injuries.
Do not take a chance; call an ambulance and let them assess the injuries.
Besides the medical treatment they can offer, an emergency accident report filled out by the ambulance team also serves as a way to prove causation, which is an important aspect of your case.
Call The Police
Following any car accident, the police should be informed. As the accident occurred on the roads, they will need to assess the damage and make the road safe for other users. It becomes even more important if you suspect a drunk driver was at fault. The police will administer a BAC test, and this is important evidence. They will also file a police report.
In order to prevent the other driver’s insurance company from reducing their liability and ultimately, their payout, you should try to collect as much evidence as possible. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will have a hard time disputing your claims if you have photos, videos and a statement of what happened that can be corroborated by other witnesses.
Exchange Information and Witness Statements
With an insurance claim, witness statements can prove to be extremely strong pieces of evidence. If you were lucky enough to have eyewitnesses that are cooperative, you should make sure you speak to them as soon as possible. Collect as many of their details as possible and if they are willing, make sure you collect a statement of what happened in their eyes. This is a good way to ensure they remain reliable as when your attorney speaks to them, they can just confirm what they have already said.
Collect their name, email, address, and phone number if they are willing to give you them.
Seek Medical Attention
You should always seek some form of medical attention after an accident, even if you did not require any help from the ambulance team. Causation is an important aspect of any personal injury claim, and to prove it; you will need to prove your injuries were inflicted as a direct result of the accident.
By seeking medical attention close to the accident, it is harder to dispute that your injuries did in fact occur due to the accident.
Call Your Own Insurance Company
Some insurance policies require you to inform the insurance company that you were involved in an accident within a certain time frame. You need to remember that your car insurance company may not have your best interests at heart. Do not admit fault or tell them that you feel okay. This applies to the other driver and their insurance company too.
You may need to make use of your insurance coverage, which means you will need to inform your insurance company you were involved in an accident. Make sure you do not admit fault in any way, shape, or form, and keep it vague.
What Different Types of Compensation Are Available to Me Following a Car Accident in Austin?
When a victim has suffered from car accident injuries, there are a number of damages they can incur as a result. Your car accident lawyer will need to calculate what these damages are worth so they can try to negotiate a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company.
Fortunately, if the accident happened because of somebody else’s negligence, you are entitled to recover all damages you have suffered.
To calculate these damages, your attorney will first look at the economical damages you have suffered and then the non-economic damages.
The economic damages you have suffered are the ones that will have or will cost you physical money to handle. Property damage and lost income, as well as medical costs, will have clear figures that you have had to pay to sort. These are the easiest to sum up and are hard to argue, as long as you have kept the invoices, bills, and receipts.
Your non-economic damages are much more difficult to place a value on as they are subjective. Your attorney will need to decide what they believe these damages to be worth in regard to your injuries.
Non-economic damages include things like physical pain and emotional trauma. It also includes things like a loss of enjoyment of life, which can encompass any changes to your way of life.
Here are some of the non-economic and economic damages you should make yourself aware of:
Claiming for Medical Bills
Medical expenses will quickly add up if you have been involved in a serious accident and have serious injuries. Even if you have medical insurance, it may not be enough to cover a long period of expensive treatment after your car crash.
With a skilled Austin, TX car accident lawyer, you may be able to claim back all of your medical expenses. This accounts for your past and future costs. This means that if it is likely you will require long-term treatment, your attorney will claim for what they believe you will need to cover these costs. To work this out, your attorney may need to speak to medical experts.
It is really important that you keep a comprehensive record of all your medical expenses and bills. When it comes to calculating your damages and evidencing your claims, this will help massively.
We also recommend keeping a daily diary of how you are feeling, how much pain you are in, and what treatment you have received.
Claiming for Income Lost Due to the Recovery Process
When a car accident occurs, it is likely that the victims involved will need to take time off work to deal with the emotional trauma and the physical injuries they have received. This may be time for treatment or it may simply be time off work to focus on mental health.
For many, this will result in a loss of income that can be anxiety-evoking, especially with medical bills.
Through your personal injury claim, you will be able to pursue the recovery of all lost income. This includes any income that you may miss out on in the future. If your injuries mean you are going to need further time off work or that you may never work again, your attorney will pursue the recovery of this.
Claiming for Pain and Suffering in Austin
Pain and suffering cover a victim for the emotional trauma, mental stress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life they may have suffered because of the accident.
Loss of enjoyment of life covers you if you can no longer do the things that you used to love doing. If you cannot go fishing, ride a motorbike, or do any other hobby that you used to, you deserve to be compensated for your losses.
Here are some examples of what could classify as pain and suffering:
- Anxiety around cars/roads
- Post-traumatic stress
- Emotional distress
- Sleep issues
Claiming for Property Damage
If you have suffered property damage as a result of the car accident, such as your car being totaled or damaged, you will need to recover the costs to replace that property. This covers you for personal items in the car at the time of the accident too.
Claiming for Losing a Loved One
The most tragic outcome you might suffer as a result of a car accident is the loss of a loved one. When this happens, the family’s loved ones or spouse can raise a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation on behalf of the deceased.
While no financial compensation will ever bring the deceased back, it can provide the family with financial security while they grieve and will also cover the funeral costs.
Car Accident Injury Lawyer FAQs
Do I Have a Valid Claim?
The best way to know if you do in fact have a claim is to contact a personal injury firm immediately. They will evaluate your case and inform you if you may be entitled to compensation. It is unethical for any law firm to say you have a case without asking some vital questions.
You should always discuss any offer of settlement with your attorney. Often, the at fault driver’s insurance will offer you a low ball offer immediately after the accident in the hopes you take it, forgoing the chance of further negotiation.
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a judge, meaning the case must have escalated to a lawsuit in court. They are awarded if the judge believes further punishment needs to be meted out for gross negligence or malicious intent.
How Long Do Personal Injury Cases Take to Settle?
The period of time that it will take for your case to settle will depend upon the complexity of the cases and the skill of your attorney. Simple cases may be over in under a year but complex cases could take several.
Will My Case Go To Court?
Neither side will want to proceed to a court battle in the majority of cases as they get very expensive. If a fair and reasonable settlement can be negotiated, there is a good chance your case will avoid the courtroom.
However, in cases where your liability is not 100% clear, or the other party believes they may win the case against you, they may opt to drag it out and fight you in court. This can often occur when the payout looks like it is going to be substantial.
This is the reason why retaining a skilled and experienced attorney is a crucial decision. They should have excellent negotiation skills and strong litigation skills as well. This will ensure they can handle your case in all its forms.
What Should I Say If The Other Party’s Insurance Company Calls Me?
You should always remember that no insurance company wants to pay out. This means neither yours nor the other party’s insurance company is truly on your side. If they contact you, mind what you say and advise them that you wish them to liaise with your attorney going forwards. This helps you to avoid admitting fault or liability.
Car Accident Checklist: What to Do After a Crash?
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.
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:
- Prioritize Your Own Safety – If you have pain in your neck or back, then stay where you are and wait for help to arrive.
- Check For Injuries – If you are able to, then check those around you for injuries, and if anyone needs medical assistance, call 911.
- 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.
- Exchange Information – Exchange vehicle and contact information from any drivers involved in the accident.
- Gather Evidence – Take photos of the accident, any damage, and injuries. If there are witnesses, then take down their contact information.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 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.
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.
After A Car Accident, Should I Talk To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may wonder whether you should talk to the other driver’s insurance company or not. Unfortunately, neither your insurance company nor the other driver’s insurance company are truly on your side. This means that you should always be careful about what you say to either insurance company.
Legally speaking, you are not required to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. Instead, we recommend you obtain legal representation as soon as possible. This way, when they call you, you can tell them you wish for them to liaise with your Austin car accident lawyer instead.
Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works
Here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we handle car accident cases on a regular basis for our clients. Chris Morrow is ‘the attorney that works’, and he has been fighting for injured Texans since 1994. He cares about protecting your best interests while fighting to get you the best outcome possible.
When you have been involved in an accident that happened through no fault of your own, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and concerned. If you have been injured in the accident, you may be entitled to pursue a claim against the other party. This could allow you to recover damages and seek compensation for the pain and suffering you have been through.
It all begins with a free initial consultation and case evaluation, so contact us today at 512-729-1972.
After a Car Accident, Should I Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
In general, it is a bad idea to speak to the insurance company that will represent the other party. This is because there is little to gain for you, but potentially a lot to lose.
Insurance companies are built for profit, and they employ strong and aggressive legal teams that have the sole purpose of reducing liability and payouts. This means that the second the other insurance company hears about the accident, they could employ certain tactics to get you to admit fault for the accident in some form, or at the very least, reduce the liability of their client.
The best way to combat these tactics is to contact a skilled attorney immediately. They will advise you on the best things to do and say, and also what you should avoid doing and saying. By listening to their advice, you can help ensure your case is secure.
Are There Any Situations Where It is a Good Idea To Speak To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
In certain circumstances, the other driver may refuse to speak to their own car insurance company, even though they are clearly at fault for the accident. This means the other driver’s insurance company may be completely unaware of the fact that an accident has occurred.
In this situation, you may need to call their insurance company to inform them that their client was involved in an accident and that you will be looking to pursue your damages. If you have already obtained your own legal representation, your car accident lawyer will do this for you.
When Not to Speak to the Other Drivers’ Insurance Company
There are certain situations where discussing your case in any way, shape, or form with the other party’s insurance company’s representative is a bad idea. If you have severe injuries that have required you to spend time in a hospital receiving treatment and have had to take time off work or school, you should not discuss your case with the opposing insurance company.
You should also avoid discussing your case if more than one person has been injured or there is a clear dispute as to who was at fault for the accident. In these situations, your best option is to seek help from a lawyer who will advise you on your options.
Your personal injury lawyer should carry out all communication with the other driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company on your behalf.
You May Need to Speak With Your Own Insurance Company
Many car insurance policies in the state of Texas require customers to report accidents within a certain time frame, often 24 hours. This means that you will need to inform them that an accident has occurred and that you have been injured. However, keep in mind that although they are your insurance company, they are not truly on your side either.
We recommend discussing your case with an attorney before speaking to the insurance company. This way, they can advise you on what to say and you can tell your insurance company that you have obtained legal representation and that they should liaise with your attorney from now on.
Advice for Talking With the Other Driver’s Car Insurance Firm
As the other driver’s insurance company will look to reduce their payout, they may call you attempting to find evidence proving you were at fault or that your injuries and damages are minor. For this reason, you should never tell an insurance company representative that you feel fine, are sorry for the accident, or that your vehicle is fine.
You should also avoid speculation. This means that you should only tell them what you know to be certain. If you are unsure, you should say so.
Finally, you should never let the other party’s insurance company record a statement over the phone or in writing. This is because what you say will be locked in evidence and could be examined and used against you. If you accidentally say something to devalue your claim and they have a recording of it, your case could be in jeopardy.
What Should You Say to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
There are certain things you may need to ask or say to the other driver’s insurance company. However, it is always best to do this through your car accident attorney who has experience speaking with insurance companies.
We recommend you ask for the name of the insurance company representative immediately and note the name and title, so you have a record of it later on. Remember, you are not obligated to speak to them, so if you feel uncomfortable talking to them, you can tell them they should carry on the discussion with your attorney.
You can tell them your name, phone number, and address if necessary, but tell them that going forward, you do not want them to contact you directly.
What Is a Claims Adjuster?
You may hear the term “claims adjuster” used by your attorney or online. A claims adjuster or insurance company adjuster is a person who investigates accident cases to calculate how bad the accident was, and how much the insurance company’s liability is likely to equate to.
They may speak to witnesses from the scene, look into medical records and CCTV footage, and obtain the accident reports if the emergency services have attended the scene. Their sole job is to reduce the insurance company’s liability, and this means that they will usually try to get in touch with victims to pursue a recorded statement.
Why You Should Never Let a Car Insurance Company Record You
If you talk to the other driver’s insurance adjuster, they may come across as friendly and informal. This may be a tactic to lower your guard before they ask you if you mind them recording you. They may say it could speed up the process, but this is not their intention.
A recorded statement can be extremely damaging to your case and anything that they record you saying could be used against you.
If you give a statement, the insurance adjuster may compare it to emergency service reports like the police or ambulance report. They will do this to find inconsistencies in your story. When asked the same questions repeatedly over several months, your story may have slight inconsistencies, as most people will tell the story slightly differently when remembering what happened.
Once you have agreed to be recorded, it is common for an insurance adjuster’s personality to change instantly. They may become much more aggressive and may ask questions that are designed to trip you up. They may attempt to infuriate you to the point where you answer in frustration.
Avoid Talking About Your Injuries
One important thing that your attorney will tell you is that you must be careful when it comes to discussing your injuries. You should always wait until the full scope of your injuries has become known to discuss your injuries with any claims adjusters. Even then, discussions about your injuries are best done through a personal injury lawyer.
Never Agree to a Settlement Over the Phone
One of the most common insurance company tactics used to reduce payouts is to quickly calculate what your damages may be worth, then offer you a settlement offer that is much lower.
This settlement offer may seem attractive to you right now, but it is likely much lower than what you deserve. Once you have accepted it, you will forgo the right to pursue further compensation. If you have underestimated your injuries, you may not have enough for the treatment you are going to need in the long term.
The other driver’s car insurance company may place pressure on you to accept their settlement, but you should tell them you need to discuss it with your attorney.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You
Hiring a personal injury lawyer to deal with your insurance claim is always the smartest decision. When you are dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, you may be dealing with injuries, stress related to time off work, and growing medical bills.
Your attorney can help to investigate what happened, and this can prove invaluable in assigning liability. They may bring in expert witnesses to provide testimony and may uncover important evidence like CCTV footage that backs your claims. They will also know how to get police reports and ambulance team reports.
They may also be responsible for calculating your damages, which will make up the compensation you are seeking. This is one of the most important tasks they will carry out on your behalf. Calculating your economic damages, which are the tangible costs you have incurred, and your non-economic damages, like your pain and suffering, is important if you are seeking a settlement that is fair and reasonable.
Your attorney will liaise with other parties on your behalf, removing you from the stressful conversations and taking the weight off of your shoulders. They will also file the relevant paperwork correctly and on time. Giving you this time back should make your recovery easier.
Finally, when fighting a fault-based car accident case, you will likely be up against an entire insurance company and its team of highly trained, aggressive loss adjusters. Their sole job is to reduce the payout of the insurance company and they spend every day fighting claims like yours.
Without legal training, they could take advantage of you and reduce your claim. By hiring an attorney with a strong reputation, you ensure that you are treated fairly and that you level the playing field.
Texas Car Accident FAQs
Unfortunately, no accident claim is ever a sure win and you should avoid hiring any attorney that promises you they will win your case. We may advise you on the strength of your case, but we will never promise you victory.
The time that your case will take to settle will depend upon the complexity of the case and whether your attorney can secure a settlement from the other party. If your case is complex or requires you to go to trial, your case could drag on for a long time. However, there is no average time frame for car accident cases.
Factors that increase the complexity of a case include the number of parties involved, the degrees of liability, the quality of your representation, and the other parties’ insurance company. A case involving the wrongful death of a victim will also take a lot longer.
There are no laws that state you must use a medical provider that has been recommended to you by the insurance company. You have every right to choose the provider you want.
There is no law in Texas that states you have to use the insurance company’s chosen repair shop, either. Sometimes an insurance company may try to bully you into doing so to reduce their costs, but you should refuse and notify your attorney.
There are no laws or rules that state you cannot pursue your case by yourself, but it is usually not a smart idea. This is because you are going to be fighting a legal battle against trained attorneys with no legal training yourself. In such a vulnerable position, you may be taken advantage of.
Most personal injury lawyers, us included, offer a free initial case evaluation. This means it costs nothing to ask us for our opinion on the merits of your case and we will offer some free legal advice with no strings attached. We recommend you at least listen to what we have to say before making a decision.
Who Should I Contact After a Car Accident
After a car accident, you should contact the emergency services, an attorney, and your insurance company. You may also want to contact a loved one so that they can support you.
Perhaps your most important phone call is the one you make to a law firm. Many personal injury law firms offer free consultations and so you should seek clarity about your next steps.
At Chris Morrow, PLLC, our goal is for car accident victims to be fully compensated for their expenses, both past and future, as well as their emotional pain and suffering. Our founding attorney, Chris Morrow, has been helping people like you secure the compensation they deserve since 1994. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we take a predetermined percentage of your settlement if we win. If your claim is not successful, we will not be paid anything.
Call the Emergency Services
After an accident, you should first check yourself for injuries, if you believe you may be seriously hurt, then you should remain where you are until paramedics arrive. If you are able to check everyone else involved in the crash. If anyone requires immediate medical care, then call for an ambulance as quickly as possible.
Your own safety and then the safety of those around you is the most important thing after a crash. If the injuries are not severe, you can move yourself and others out of the way of any potential danger, such as oncoming traffic.
However, you should photograph the scene first if it is safe to do so. Even if you need to move your vehicle, you should not move far from the scene and should remain there until the police tell you that you can leave.
If the accident has caused injury, serious property damage, or a hazardous situation for other road users, then you must call the police to the scene. The police will mitigate any danger, including ensuring that other drivers are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They will also file a police report which will be important evidence for your claim.
If a police officer is not called to the scene, then you should still file an accident report with your local police department as soon as you can.
If you are not treated by paramedics and taken to the hospital from the scene of the accident, then you should get examined by a medical professional as quickly as possible. Not only will this prevent you from worsening your injuries, but it is also essential to your claim. You will not be able to make a personal injury claim without a medical report, and the sooner, the better, as it will be easier to establish that your injuries were a direct result of the accident.
Call a Loved One
After a car accident, you may want to contact a loved one for support. If they are close by then, they may be able to help you gather evidence from the scene and will drive you to the hospital if necessary.
However, you should refrain from going into detail about how the accident occurred at this early stage. You may not have all the information yet and should speak to an attorney first.
Contact Your Own Insurance Company
After a car accident, you are required to inform your insurance company; if you don’t do this in a timely manner, then it could affect your ability to file a claim. However, it is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are driven by profit, and if you give them any ammunition, such as admitting fault in any way or downplaying your injuries, then they may use this to lower the value of your car insurance claim.
Once you have secured legal representation, they will take over all negotiations with insurance companies, so you will not need to deal with them. They will have large legal teams who may work with your attorney to negotiate a fair settlement. However, if you are not ready to sign up for representation before you contact your insurance company, then you may need to contact them. If you do, you should not allow them to record you, and you should provide your insurance agent with the following details (and nothing more):
- Where and when the accident occurred.
- The other driver’s name, contact information, insurance company, and license plate registration.
- The responding police officers’ information.
If the insurance company asks you for more details, simply tell them that your attorney will be in touch.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Perhaps the most important call you will make will be to an attorney. They will take over the entire legal process, so you can focus on your recovery.
Choosing a law firm to call can feel like an overwhelming task. You should seek a free consultation so that you can find out about a potential attorney and determine whether they are a good fit for your case. It is important that you like your potential attorney, you may need to discuss sensitive issues with them, and you should feel confident that they have your best interests at heart.
Some questions you could ask a potential attorney to determine whether they are the right fit for your case include the following:
How much of your time is dedicated to car accident victims in Texas?
Many large law firms cover several states or practice more than one area of law, such as personal injury, criminal defense, and estate planning. When a law firm has a narrow focus, such as personal injury law in Texas, it means that all of its experience, resources, and experiences are relevant to your case.
Personal injury law varies between states, and it is good to have an attorney who has in-depth knowledge. At Chris Morrow, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal injury victims in Texas. We help car accident victims on a daily basis and have connections with experts who can aid your case. We have probably worked with the insurance companies and the court overseeing your case before which means that we can tailor our approach.
How soon can I expect a response if I have questions?
Although good attorneys may have full caseloads, they should still be prompt to answer your questions. At Chris Morrow, PLLC, we take a highly personalized approach. We will keep you engaged throughout your case and will always be prompt to answer your questions.
Can I see recommendations from your previous clients?
Good attorneys should have plenty of positive client reviews that they can show you. However, it is also a good idea to seek out independent reviews, such as those found on AVVO. AVVO review attorneys based on client recommendations, previous victories, awards, and length of practice. Chris Morrow has a rating of 9.0/10 and the highest possible client review score of 5*.
What level of experience do you have helping car accident victims in Texas?
The more experience your attorney has the more resources and knowledge they will have that can benefit your case. Chris Morrow has been representing car accident victims in Texas since 1994.
Do you have trial experience?
The majority of car accident claims are settled without the need for a trial, which is time-consuming and expensive. However, it is important that you have an attorney who is an experienced litigator, as this will ensure that they can support you regardless of what course your case takes. The threat of trial can also be a determining factor in whether insurance companies are willing to offer a fair settlement, and they often know which attorneys will take them to trial and which will not.
Chris Morrow has a reputation for being a strong litigator. Our law firm will fight a quick settlement where possible while always being prepared to go to trial if necessary to secure a just outcome.
What will legal representation cost me?
It is important that you know exactly where you stand before you hire a lawyer. At Cjhrios Morrow, PLLC, we work on a no-win no-fee basis. We will agree on a percentage with you that we will take if your claim is successful. If your claim does not succeed, we will not receive anything. We promise no upfront costs or hidden fees.
Who Should I Contact After a Car Accident? FAQ
What information do I need from the other driver(s)?
If your injuries allow, then you should ask all other drivers involved in the incident for information. You should ask for their name, contact information, insurance provider’s name and policy number, driver’s license details, and license plate. If a driver doesn’t own their vehicle, you should also ask for the owner’s information.
What evidence can I gather at the accident scene?
If your injuries allow, then you should try and gather some evidence from the scene. Photos are often the most valuable evidence, and you should try and capture the scene as a whole, all vehicles involved from all angles, any property damage, your injuries, and anything else of relevance, such as skid marks, road conditions, and hazards.
You should also ask for the witness’s name and contact information, as your attorney may contact them at a later date.
What should I say to the other driver’s insurance company if they call me?
You are not required to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. If you have representation and an insurance company contacts you, you should not speak to them at all. Simply tell them that your attorney will be in touch and give them your attorney’s contact information.
Although you have a right to pursue compensation on your own, it is not recommended. For one, it can be an incredibly stressful process if you do not have the knowledge and experience necessary, and you should be focusing on your recovery. It is also worth knowing that most personal injury victims who have representation receive a higher settlement even after their legal fees are taken, thanks to the help they receive.
Can I claim if I am partially to blame for the accident?
Yes. Texas operates under modified comparative fault, which means that if you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you could still make a claim. It is important to speak to an attorney even if you believe you could be at fault. They will review your case to see if you could have a claim. If you are assigned a percentage of fault, then your settlement will be reduced to reflect this. Your attorney will ensure that you are not assigned fault unfairly and that the facts of the case are established.
How long will it take to receive compensation after a car accident?
Every case is unique; some are over in a matter of months, while others take over a year. When you seek a free consultation, an experienced attorney will be able to assess how long your case could take based on your specific circumstances.
What Can I Do to Preserve Evidence After an Automobile Accident?
After a car accident, your first priority should always be your safety. If you have been seriously injured, then you should remain where you are and wait for help to arrive. Only if you feel able to do so should you take steps to preserve evidence.
If you are able to, then the evidence you can protect could be massively beneficial to your car accident case. You should document the scene by taking photos of the vehicles involved and anything else of relevance, such as street signs, your physical injuries, skid marks, or potential CCTV cameras.
You should also ask for contact information from the responding officer and any potential witnesses. After you have left the scene, you can continue to preserve evidence by documenting your medical treatment and how the accident has affected your life.
In this article, we will go into more detail about how to preserve car accident evidence that could benefit your car accident claim. However, the best thing you can do to preserve your right to compensation is to speak to an experienced attorney.
At Chris Morrow, PPLC, we are committed to car accident victims in Texas. With a long list of successful cases to draw upon and an unparalleled approach to the attorney-client relationship, we will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve. We offer free consultation and work on a no-win no-fee basis, so you have nothing to lose by seeking legal representation.
What do I do at The Scene of an Accident?
Before you start taking steps to preserve evidence, there are a few key things you need to do to prioritize everyone’s safety.
- Check for Injuries – The first step after a car accident is to check in with yourself for injuries. If you feel intense neck or back pain, you should remain where you are and wait for paramedics to arrive. If your injuries allow, you should check on others for injuries, starting with those in your car and then in the other vehicles involved in the crash.
- Call 911 – If anyone is injured, there is substantial property damage, or you have concerns about the other driver, then you should call 911 straight away. As well as paramedics, police will need to attend the scene so that they can file a report and mitigate any remaining danger.
- Move to Safety – If your injuries are not too severe, then you should move out of the way of any potential danger, such as oncoming traffic. However, you should remain at the scene of the accident until law enforcement has told you that you can leave.
What Can I Do to Preserve Evidence After an Automobile Accident?
From the scene of the accident to the investigation of your case and negotiations, you can take steps to preserve evidence and strengthen your claim. When you have the help of an experienced attorney, they will take over the entire legal process. However, if you can provide them with some information and evidence from your case, then it could help you to achieve a fair settlement.
If your injuries are severe, you should skip steps one to four. Instead, you should remain where you are and wait for the paramedics to arrive.
Step One – Document The Car Accident Scene
You should take photos and videos of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved. Some key things you may want to take photos or videos of include:
- A full picture of the scene with the vehicle’s positions.
- Your vehicle from all angles, pay particular attention to any dents, broken parts, and any minor details such as scratches.
- Any other vehicles involved in the crash from all angles.
- The other vehicles’ license tags.
- Photos from the scene such as skid marks, hazards, objects on the road, and any other damaged property, such as a wall.
- Any potential CCTV cameras.
Photographs from the scene are a great source of physical evidence. Try to take clear photos from different angles. Do this as soon as possible, before cars have moved out of the way if possible. However, never put yourself at risk of potential danger such as oncoming traffic.
It could also be helpful if you have timestamps on images, which you may be able to put on through the settings on your phone. However, don’t worry if you are not sure how to do this, and photos from start phones contain metadata that can be accessed if necessary.
Step Two – Driver Information
Ask all other drivers involved in the crash for their contact information. If possible, you should ask for the following:
- Full names.
- Contact information.
- Vehicle information, including registration plate, make, and model.
- Insurance information.
Step Three – Witness Information
If other drivers or pedestrians witnessed the accident, then you should try and collect their names and contact information. Your attorney may contact them to get a clearer image of what happened, and their statement could be used as evidence.
A witness may have seen the crash from a distance, which could have given them a different perspective on what occurred.
Step Four – Police Information
If you were in an accident that involved injuries or serious property damage, then police legally need to be called to the scene. The responding officers will also take steps to mitigate any remaining danger, such as arranging to divert traffic or clear debris from the road.
The police will file a police report, which is an important piece of evidence for your claim. You should ask for the responding officer’s name and badge number, as this will make it easier to track down the report later on
Step Five – Seek Medical Attention
After a car accident, you should seek medical attention even if your injuries seem minor. Adrenaline could be masking a serious injury, so it is important to make sure that you are safe. Your medical records will also be integral to your claim; without them, you may not be able to claim any damages.
The sooner you seek medical attention the better as it will be much easier for your attorney to establish that your injuries were caused by the crash.
Step Six – Keep Track Of Damages
Preserving evidence doesn’t end when you leave the accident scene. In order to have the best chance of securing a settlement that reflects all of your damages, you should continue to keep a record of them. Some of the ways you can do this include the following:
- Continue to take photos of your injuries and how they are healing.
- Keep a record of all expenses relating to your injuries, including medical bills, prescription costs, and transport to and from appointments. Where possible, keep invoices and receipts.
- Keep a record of all other expenses related to the accident, including lost income and property damage.
- Keep a record of how your injuries are affecting your life, including how much pain you are in, and whether they are preventing you from living your life as you did before. Your attorney will use this as evidence of your pain and suffering damages which should compensate you for your mental suffering and loss of enjoyment in life.
How Do Car Accident Lawyers Preserve Evidence?
Your attorney will use the evidence you collect to start building your case. They will also use additional methods to strengthen your claim, such as:
If the other driver was behaving erratically or displayed strange behaviors, then the police officer may have carried out an alcohol or drug test. Your attorney can find out the outcome of these tests.
A local attorney will have strong connections with experts that may be able to provide evidence to support your case. For example, an accident reconstruction specialist may be able to provide evidence for how the car crash occurred. Or if your injuries are ongoing, your case may require a medical expert to establish your future medical costs.
There may have been footage of the scene from traffic cameras, dash cams, CCTV, or home cameras. Where available, these are great pieces of evidence and your attorney will be able to view the videos frame by frame to determine how the accident occurred and whether the other driver broke the rules of the road.
Your attorney can request the driving records of the other party. If they have a record of dangerous driving behaviors, then it could help evidence your claims, especially if you have a clean driving record.
Cell Phone Usage
If the other party was using their phone when the accident occurred, then your attorney may be able to request their cell phone usage data from their phone company. If they were texting or on the phone, then they would have been guilty of distracted driving.
Car Accident FAQs
It is difficult to say how long your case will take, as each claim is unique. When you contact Chris Morrow, PLLC, for a free consultation, we will give you an idea of how long your claim may take based on its complexity. Some cases can be over in a few months if liability is clear and your injuries are minor, while others could take over a year.
If you believe that your actions may have continued to the accident, but the other driver was the main cause of the crash then you may still be able to claim compensation. Texas operates under a modified comparative fault doctrine which means that so long as you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still make a claim.
However, if you are deemed to be partially at fault, your settlement will be reduced to reflect this. For example, if you’re awarded $300,000, but you are found to be 10% at fault for the accident, then your settlement will be reduced by 10% and will become $270,000.
The other party’s insurance company may try to unfairly assign fault to you in order to reduce their liability. Your attorney will prevent this from happening and will fight for maximum compensation.
You do have the right to make a claim without an attorney. However, without an understanding of the laws surrounding your case and the claims process, it may be incredibly stressful. In addition, those who do not have representation often end up with less compensation even after their legal fees are considered, thanks to the skills, experience, and resources an attorney offers.
At Chris Morrow, PLLC, you start with a free consultation. If we believe you have a valid claim, we will offer our services on a contingency fee basis. That means that we only get paid if you succeed in securing compensation as a predetermined percentage of your settlement. If your claim is unsuccessful, we will not receive anything.
Chris Morrow PLLC – The Attorney That Works!
Our managing attorney, Chris Morrow, has been helping car accident victims in Texas since 1994. We are proud to offer experienced representation to personal injury victims, utilizing a wealth of resources and a long list of successful cases to draw upon.
We will keep you informed about the progress of your case and will be prompt to answer your questions when you have them. Call us for a free consultation and find out more about how we can help.