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Important Tips to Keep in Mind After a Car Accident

Never leave someone behind when they need help. If you're not sure what to do, call 911 immediately.

Get Yourself and Your Vehicle Out of Danger

If you are not injured, then pull over safely onto the shoulder of the road. If someone else is injured, call 911 immediately. Set out flares or emergency reflectors to warn other drivers to slow down and keep their hazard lights on. If there is any damage to your vehicle, park it on the side of the road until police arrive.

If you're driving, always wear your seatbelt. If you're walking, cross at an intersection instead of jaywalking. And if you're riding a bike, stay alert and watch out for cars. Even if you feel fine, you might still be injured.

Contact the Police

It's important to report an accident, especially if someone gets injured. But there are times when the police won't respond to a minor crash. Some police departments are transitioning to reporting crashes online instead of responding to them at the scene. You should also keep a record of any police officers' names, badge numbers, and contact information. If you're not sure whether the police will respond, ask your insurance company about what to expect.

Collect important information

Use your smartphone to take pictures of documents or write down the information using pen and paper. You'll need to determine if you're dealing with an insured driver, a family member, a friend or acquaintance, or someone else entirely.

Gather all vehicle information, including the year, and make color, license plate numbers, and vehicle identification numbers. Get the insurance policy numbers and the company's phone numbers in case the other party doesn't report the accident. If there are witnesses, ask them questions about what they saw.

Never share any personal information, including your social security number, insurance coverage limits, or other sensitive details about yourself online.

Document the Scene

If you're driving, record everything you see on the road ahead of you. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the other driver's vehicle. If you're not driving, call 911 immediately.

If you were at the scene of an accident, you should note the location of the vehicles, the direction each car was traveling, and any damage to the road surface. You may also need to document the condition of the driver and passengers. If there was a witness, get his contact details.

Sketch a diagram of the crash site. Use the voice memo app on your phone to record what happened. Include information about the time of day, weather conditions, and visibility.

Call a Tow Truck if Needed

If you're lucky enough to have an accident while using your phone, you might not even notice it until after you've already called for help. If you get into an accident, you'll likely need to contact a tow truck service. Some insurance companies would cover the cost of a tow if you were using your phone at the time of the crash. You should also check out your car manufacturer's warranty policy before calling a tow truck service.

Tow trucks aren't always reliable. Always check the company's website before calling them. If you're not sure about the company, ask your friends or family if they've had any experience with them. If you still feel uneasy, call the Better Business Bureau.

Call your insurance company

If you're like me, you've probably experienced a situation where you were driving along when suddenly your car got rear-ended by someone else. You might think about negotiating a cash settlement with the other driver to avoid making an insurance claim. However, not notifying your insurer after a crash can leave the driver at fault for any damage caused by the collision. If you're lucky, your insurance will cover the repair costs. But if you're unlucky, you could end up paying for the damages yourself.

Take the High-Tech Route

Virtual tools like an app or website are becoming increasingly popular for auto insurance claims. These tools help speed up the claim process and reduce paperwork. Some companies also provide free tools to help customers file a claim. You can check your proof of insurance card to see if your insurer offers any virtual tools. If not, you can contact them directly to request a tool.

Some companies offer services like rental cars, hotel rooms, and even medical care when you file a claim. You might also need to call your insurance provider directly after an accident. Keep track of all your accident-related information, including photos, receipts, and any bills related to the incident.

See Your Doctor

If you've ever been in an accident, you know that injuries can occur even when there is no visible damage to your car. Head and neck injuries are often overlooked because they're not immediately obvious. If you notice any signs of injury, like headaches, dizziness, nausea, or blurred vision, see your doctor right away. Some injuries can worsen over time, so try to keep track of them. Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and examine you. He or she may also recommend imaging tests to help determine whether you need surgery.

Be Proactive

If you get into an accident, it's important to stay calm. You will feel better if you prepare ahead of time. Download your insurance company's app, fill out your claims form, designate a spot in your car for everything you'll need during the claim process, and keep track of what you need to remember.

Talk to a Lawyer

Don't sign anything from the other driver's insurance until you've talked to a lawyer. A lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you understand what's going on with your case and give you advice on whether you should talk to the other driver's insurer. If you're injured, you may need medical care. Don't sign anything from the insurance company before you get treatment. Talk to a lawyer first. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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