Imagine that you have just gotten into a car accident. It all happened so quickly. You are flooded with a mixture of emotions: anger, fear, indignation, confusion. Your first reaction is to make sure that you and the other individuals involved in the accident are not injured. Then you think about the property damage to your vehicle or to that of the other driver. One thing is certain: in the aftermath of such an accident, it is often difficult to think clearly. Your mind is overrun by emotion. It is not focused on practical issues, such as gathering the information necessary to strengthen your argument to receive compensation for your injuries and suffering. That said, your actions immediately following your accident significantly impact the outcome of your case and the compensation you will receive.
Under Texas law, you can only recover if the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence. If the other driver was only partly to blame, he or she must be more than 50% responsible for you to receive anything. That means that if you were found to be 35% at fault and the other driver was 65% at fault, you would receive 65% of your claim. On the other hand, if you were deemed more than 50% at fault, you would recover nothing.
The most common causes of car accidents in Houston are distraction, driving while fatigued, reckless driving, “road rage,” poor vehicle maintenance, driving under the influence, defective equipment and car part failure. If you have been a victim in such an accident you need to take the following steps immediately to increase your likelihood of recovery:
- Call the police and get a police report at the scene. If the police issue you a traffic ticket (citation), it is your duty to sign it. This is not an admission of guilt. Remember to get the police officers’ names and identification.
- Get the contact information from the other drivers involved.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene.
- Take pictures and write down key information: take photographs of both the accident scene and any vehicles involved in the accident.
- Seek medical attention: it is vital to see a qualified medical professional for all your bodily injuries immediately following your accident. This will provide Texas insurance companies with necessary documentation of your injuries for an insurance claim.
- Do NOT sign any accident related documents: you should not sign any documents or other papers prior to retaining experienced legal counsel like the Houston car accident attorneys at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC. Such documents may act as a waiver of your rights in the future.
- Do NOT discuss the accident with anyone at the site of the accident or any party with whom you are not intimately familiar: insurance companies or the other driver may seek to get information from you that could adversely affect your claims (just get their contact information).
- Do NOT try to handle things with the insurance companies alone. Remember the insurance companies are not on your side. The primary objective of insurance companies in Texas following a car accident is to deny or minimize your claim.
- Consult the experienced Houston car accident attorneys at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC. Call our local office for a consultation to discuss your rights and the best course of action. We can greatly improve your likelihood of success by properly preserving the evidence and acquiring the requisite witness statements and affidavits.