The moments after an Austin car accident can be confusing, frightening, and overwhelming. It is difficult to remember Texas law about when to report a car accident and how to notify the police. Therefore, the easiest thing to remember is to call 911 after a car accident in Austin, TX.
What Does Texas Law Say About Reporting Traffic Accidents to the Police?
The Texas Transportation Code states that you must report a car accident to local law enforcement if the accident:
- Involves bodily injury or death
- Could likely result in death or injury
- Results in property damage of $1,000 or more
A driver should stop their vehicle as close to the accident scene as possible. Calling 911 is the quickest way to report the accident. The Austin Police Department investigates accidents within the city limits.
You have a legal duty to report a car accident that could result in injuries or $1,000 or more in property damages. However, because you cannot be sure of the extent of your injuries or property damage, it is better to err on the side of caution and call 911 to report the car crash.
The other driver might try to convince you not to report the car accident. For example, the driver might be drunk, or they might not have the required insurance or a valid driver’s license. However, you should still call 911 to report the collision.
Steps To Take After an Austin Car Accident
While waiting for the police to arrive, do not discuss the cause of the accident with the other driver or witnesses. Instead, take photographs and make a video of the accident scene. Write down the contact information for the witnesses.
Remain calm and avoid making any statements that could be construed as admitting fault, including apologizing or saying you are sorry. Cooperate with the police officers by answering their questions honestly. However, do not embellish and stick to the facts.
If you do not go to the hospital by ambulance, seek medical treatment for your injuries immediately. Prompt medical care is essential for proving the car accident caused your injuries. Delays in medical treatment give the insurance company a reason to deny your claim or dispute your damages.
What Damages Can You Receive if You Are Injured in a Car Accident in Austin?
Texas tort laws hold people financially responsible for damages they cause because of negligence, intentional acts, or other wrongdoing. Therefore, if the other driver caused the car accident, you should be able to pursue compensation for damages. The damages include your monetary or economic damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Lost wages, benefits, future earning potential, and other loss of income
- Assistance with personal care and household chores
- In-home and long-term nursing care
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain
- Impairments and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
You must have evidence and documentation proving your damages. An Austin personal injury lawyer helps you document damages to accurately assess the amount you receive for a personal injury settlement. An attorney also assists in responding to allegations by the insurance company of contributory fault and failure to mitigate damages that could reduce the amount you receive for a car accident claim.
Who Pays My Damages for a Car Accident Claim?
The person who caused your accident is personally liable for your damages. You can file a personal injury lawsuit seeking a judgment against the person for the amount of your damages.
However, most car accident cases settle through negotiations with the person’s insurance provider. Texas drivers must have a minimum of $30,000 in liability insurance for bodily damage caused by a car crash ($60,000 per accident). If the insurance company accepts liability for damages, it pays your claim.
Unfortunately, $30,000 does not cover the damages caused by catastrophic injuries. While you could file a lawsuit and seek a judgment, you might not receive any money even after you win the lawsuit.
Instead, your lawyer might file an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company. An underinsured motorist claim pays you the difference between the value of your damages and the amount you received from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The amount you can receive is based on your insurance policy and the policy limits.
There could be other sources of income for a car accident case. Seeking legal advice is the best way to learn about the various options available for receiving money for car accident injuries.