Car Accident FAQ

   

Car Accident FAQ

Get Answers From Our Austin Car Accident Lawyers

Getting in a car crash is a potentially traumatizing experience. Even minor accidents can change the agenda for a whole day—severe accidents can change your life forever. In the midst of chaotic events, it is important to know what to do and who to speak to when it comes to auto accidents. Check out our FAQs to receive guidance on the most common questions people ask after a crash. If you need answers, you can always contact our Austin car accident attorneys for a free consultation.

Am I Required to Stop After a Car Accident?

Absolutely. You are required by law to stop at the scene of an accident you are involved in, even if no one was hurt and you are not at fault. Otherwise, you may be charged with hit-and-run. For accidents that involve injuries or extensive property damage, the police will need to be involved, and you will need to stay in order to provide facts and testimony for the police report.

After a Car Crash, Do I Speak to the Police?

Yes, cooperate with the police as they form their report! As with your insurance company, only report the facts. Objective, factual recreation of the events is what the police are looking for. This is not a time to shift blame, assert innocence, or admit fault. Anything that is included in the police report will be instrumental in a future claim, so choose your words honestly, but carefully.

Who Should I Call?

First, call 911. If anyone was hurt or requires emergency help, you’ll want to report injuries (including your own) as soon as possible. If you need, call your emergency contacts such as family members or employers. You will also need to report the accident to your own insurance company. After your medical and personal needs are handled, you’ll want to contact an Austin accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are protected during the subsequent process.

What If I Was at Fault for the Car Accident?

Even if you believe that, you cannot know for sure until all the facts have been gathered. While you may think you caused an accident, there may be factors involved that you are unaware of. In the meantime, it is important that you stick to the facts. Do not report your opinion or interpretation of events to the police—it may be used against you. As much as you might want to, do not apologize to the other driver. Your apology could be used as a legal admittance of guilt.

Remember that Texas is a modified contributory negligence state. That means even if you were partially at fault, you are entitled to compensation as long as you are less than 50% at fault.

Do I Need to Report a Car Accident?

Yes! Shortly after your accident, you will need to report it to your insurance company. Remember to stick to the facts—you only need to report exactly what happened. Reporting your interpretation or admitting wrongdoing (even by mistake) could end in costly consequences. Of course, be honest and cooperative, but tell the objective truth, not your thoughts. Report the events as they happened, no more, no less. In fact, what you report to your insurance company should be similar to what you report to the police.

What Information Should I Ask For?

For the other driver (and any passengers), you should retrieve:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Birth date
  • Phone number
  • License number / expiration date
  • Their insurance company

For their car, make sure you get:

  • Year
  • Make / Model
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

For any witnesses, get as much of the following as you can:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • What they saw happen

If someone refuses to give you their information, take down their license plate and the police will be able to retrieve it themselves.

What Do I Do at the Scene of a Crash?

After any medical needs are taken care of, take as many pictures as possible of your car, the other car(s), the road, any injuries or bruises, and any property damage. Draw a diagram of the accident, including pertinent details about the road. Any details you can recall, record them. If you have a way to take notes, either by hand or on your phone, then record the following information as precisely as possible:

  • Time
  • Date
  • Location
  • Weather conditions
  • Speed of your car
  • Speed of the other car
  • Road conditions / design
  • Visibility

All of this information will be vitally important in subsequent insurance investigations, questioning, and personal injury claims.

Should I Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance?

You are not required to provide any information about yourself to the other driver’s insurance adjuster. In fact, it is vitally important that you speak to an attorney prior to their call. When they learn that you have an attorney, they are required to contact us rather than you. Be civil but firm—you should not speak to them without legal guidance.

Should I Release My Medical Records to the Other Insurance Company?

Absolutely not. Do not speak to them without careful legal guidance from a car accident attorney. If they ask for your medical records, they will initially ask for your complete history. If you sign this over, they may be able to reduce the compensation you would be entitled to by citing irrelevant conditions in your medical history. An Austin car accident attorney would be able to ensure that they only have access to the records pertinent to the crash, protecting your testimony and your claim.

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