Take the following steps if you’re involved in an accident in Texas –
- Act immediately – Memorize the following steps that you must take. It may be difficult to gather yourself after the shock and injury, but if you can then ensure that your vehicle does not block the traffic. You are prohibited by law from leaving the scene of an accident without confirming injuries and damage. If you can, help anyone who has been injured. Try and get details of the injured parties, and others involved. Take down the name, date of birth, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and address. Do the same for witnesses. Avoid arguments with the other driver. Do not admit that you are at fault. Call the police. Dial 911 for an emergency. Obtain the incident number from the police so that you can get a copy of the report from the Texas Department of Public Safety Records Bureau. Your attorney, if you have one, will get this report for you. Take photos with your mobile phone. Capture images of vehicles involved from different angles, the injuries, and the street or road. Take photos of skid marks or damage to property.
- Document everything – The idea is to capture as much information while it is easily available. With time, memories fade and people become difficult to contact. Damaged vehicles are repaired. Track your recovery through a journal. Maintain a timeline of the healing process – the initial pain, difficulties in performing activities, medications taken, and time taken for the different levels of recovery. Such a journal can be admissible in the courts, if maintained properly.
- Co-operate with the doctor – Get yourself checked and commence treatment as soon as possible after an accident. Stay with the treatment till the doctor wants you to. Any lapse on your part in following the doctor’s orders will give the insurance company and the defendant the opportunity to claim that your injuries were not serious.
- Avoid making any commitments – Do not commit to anything in writing until you’ve given your attorney a chance to study the incident. Insurance adjusters will try hard to convince you to give a statement and will suggest that you sign a release in exchange of immediate settlement. But there is every chance that doing so will only weaken your claim. You also don’t know the extent of your injuries and settling a claim before you’re healed can potentially leave you with a life-long expense. You have a much better chance of getting full and fair compensation if your case is represented by a good personal injury lawyer.
- Hire a lawyer – You need a good lawyer. If you don’t hire one or hire the wrong one, you hurt your chances of gaining fair compensation. For severe injuries and major property damage, you must consider legal representation. Attorneys that handle personal injury cases on a regular basis know and understand the rules and also the significance of quick action. Lawyers with the skill and ability to ensure a trial if all other options fail are your best chance of getting justice.
- Be honest with your lawyer – It’s understood that you must not hide anything from your lawyer. Your lawyer can cooperate and operate on your behalf only if he knows all that there is to know. You are harming your own case if you withhold information from your attorney. In personal injury lawsuits, the other party can legally seek all information about the accident as well as your medical history. If there’s anything that you feel could damage your claim then it is all the more important to share that information with your lawyer. This will help your personal injury attorney to assess the impact of such information and work to mitigate it. Be forthright because it boosts your credibility. If you don’t and a damaging aspect from your past that your lawyer is unaware of comes up then that’s to your detriment.
- Don’t exaggerate – As you may appreciate, honest is easily the best policy when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit. Don’t overstate the extent of your injuries. Don’t understate your involvement in the accident. Be honest when questioned during the trial. Be clear during the deposition. Maintain clarity and consistency during the entire process.