What to do When You Get Into an Accident in Houston
Car Accident Checklist
Houston car accident Attorney Steve Lee has protected the rights of injury victims for thirty five years. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash in the Houston area, contact Steve Lee for a free legal consultation today.
Most people probably aren’t thinking straight in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. They are usually shocked, maybe a little angry if the accident wasn’t their fault, and probably more than a little scared. And this is only if they aren’t hurt.
But gathering your wits and taking action after an accident can be the difference between receiving fair compensation for your damages and getting far less than you should.
If you are physically capable of taking action, then there are steps that you can take that will help you avoid being taken advantage of by the insurance companies that are involved.
Call 911: Report the accident immediately, even if there is no obvious medical trauma. The reason for this is that the police will interview witnesses and do a basic investigation, which should include an accident reconstruction. They will also get insurance information from the other drivers.
Record the Scene as Best as You Can: Get the names, or, failing that, license plate numbers of witnesses. Most cell phones have cameras built in. Use yours to record the scene of the accident.
Don’t Just Assume that You are “Fine”: Wait for the paramedics to examine you at the scene. Nothing could be more problematic in dealing with an insurance company than driving home and waking up the next day in pain.
Go to the Nearest Doctor or Medical Center Immediately: Again, delaying medical treatment is absolutely the worst thing that you can do. This gives the insurance company the chance to say that you suffered the “real injury” in the period of time that it took you to get to the hospital, or that you made a minor injury from the accident worse by not taking care of it. They can argue that because of this, they don’t have to pay for it.
Don’t Exaggerate or Minimize Your Injuries: Don’t try to be tough and say it was nothing if it isn’t. Don’t try to make mountains out of molehills if it doesn’t seem so bad. Both of these actions can hurt you in court. Be nothing but honest.
Call Your Insurance Company: Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, you should tell your insurance company about the accident. Provide them with any information that you have, from the name of the other driver to the names of the witnesses to the names of the police officers that processed the accident.
Don’t Sign Anything: If the accident was clearly the other driver’s fault, there is a good chance the insurance company will send some representatives around with a cash offer and some forms to sign. Don’t sign it. The amount that they are offering you is not only worth less than what you should be getting, but the forms that they want you to sign will absolve them from any future liability. So if your medical condition suddenly gets worse, it officially isn’t their problem anymore if you have signed those documents.
Lay Low Until You Have Consulted an Attorney: Don’t return insurance company phone calls. Don’t sign forms. Don’t meet. Don’t accept offers to take you out to lunch. Drop off the face of the earth until you have had an attorney take a good look at the situation.
Follow Up With a Doctor: Find a doctor who has experience in accident injuries. Go over your treatment and any symptoms you might have, and again, be honest. Don’t exaggerate or minimize.
Take Some Time to Find the Best Lawyer: Your cousin who is a tax attorney won’t do the job. Find an injury attorney with a proven track record.
Refer any Insurance Company Calls to Your Lawyer: There is no excuse for you ever talking to an insurance company without your legal counsel present.
Keep Track of Everything: Doctor’s appointments, e-mails, phone calls, notes about your medical condition and progress since the accident. All of this information can be used to prove your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the Houston area, contact Attorney Steve Lee for a free consultation today.