8 Things you need to know if you’re in a car accident

by Tim O’Hare

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A car accident occurs on Texas roadways approximately every 83 seconds, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. That’s more than 1,040 accidents every day. Last year, at least one person was killed in a car accident in Texas every day; more than 441,000 accidents occurred last year, 3,039 of them were fatal.

Even with preventative measures to reduce the number of fatal car accidents, such as cracking down on drunk driving and distracted driving, the reality is, car accidents do happen. Do you know what to do if you are in a car accident?

8 things to do if you are in a car accident:

  1. Turn your car engine off and turn on hazard lights. Leaving your car running increases the chances of a fire sparking. Hazard lights should be used to warn other drivers.
  2. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Get all passengers out of the vehicle and stand as far off the roadway as possible. Stay calm and avoid arguing with or accusing anyone else who was involved in the accident. It’s also important that you not make any admission of blame in the accident.
  3. Call 9-11. Report any injuries immediately and ask for a law enforcement officer and EMT to come to the scene. When a law enforcement officer arrives, get the officer’s name, badge number, police station address and phone number. Ask how you can get a copy of the accident report and when the report will be filed.
  4. Exchange information. After an accident, exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance companies, policy numbers, driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers with any other drivers involved in the accident. Be sure to note the relationship between the individual driving and the owner of the vehicle if their names don’t match.
  5. Photograph and document the accident. Make note of the year, make, model and color of all cars involved in the collision. Use your camera to document any damage to all vehicles, as well as the position of cars and scene of the accident.
  6. Do not accept offers to settle on the spot. Individuals who are not carrying car insurance or have another reason to avoid legal trouble may attempt to get you to settle by offering cash payment on the scene. Do not accept any settlements on the scene, as you may be liable for the damages to your car later on.
  7. Keep a list of contact numbers in your phone and in your car. Designate an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact in your phone. Enter your emergency contact into your phone book with ICE before his or her name.
  8. Call a personal injury lawyer. If you are injured in a car accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover financial losses due to medical bills and lost wages. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better, so do so after you have received medical attention and law enforcement has been notified of the accident.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your car accident case can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injury or loss before the state’s statute of limitations runs out. In Texas, the statute of limitations in personal injury claims is two years. The clock starts ticking at the time of the car accident (or other incident), and after two years, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit.

Tim O’Hare is a Dallas personal injury attorney who practices with integrity. If you have been injured in a car accident, or suffered injury on someone else’s property, or experienced any other injury through no fault of your own, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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