First Steps After A Car Accident
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If you’ve just been involved in a car accident, you are most likely under stress and may even still be in the hospital. The combination of physical pain, emotional duress and concern about your future can leave you confused and feeling depressed. Hospital bills pile up quickly and you may not be able to return to work for weeks or longer.
In spite of all this, there are certain important things you should do as quickly as possible. First, of course, notify the police and you insurance company and let them know exactly what happened. In cases where you believe that the accident was caused by someone’s negligence, then the very next step should be to contact the Austin auto accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group.
Let’s say for instance, you were hit by a driver who was drunk or texting. That is clearly negligence and you might be able to recover every single expense from lost and future wages to hospital bills. Other clear cases of negligence might be a reckless or speeding driver and there are many similar cases just like this.
Never Admit Fault
In any auto accident, it’s never a good idea to admit fault. Even if you think your actions may have been partly responsible, don’t say things like, “I’m so sorry! That was totally my fault.” A subsequent investigation may prove that you weren’t at fault at all, but now the other party’s insurance company has ammunition to use against you in court.
If possible, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the accident. If you have been injured, then ask family or friends to do so. Making some notes about what happened can also help you later when your memory is fading and you can’t quite recall what happened. Accident investigators strive to learn exactly what occurred in your accident, but those involved and the witnesses are often the best sources of information.
As soon as you’re able, get a copy of the police report. This will provide you with a lot of the details and includes the findings and comments of the police officers who were on the scene. Regardless of how your car accident occurred, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident
- Call 911 if there are any injuries. Request that police, ambulance and firefighters be deployed as appropriate.
- Seek immediate medical attention for any serious injuries.
- If there are no apparent injuries, call your local police station and report that there has been an auto accident. Request that a police officer come to the scene, investigate the accident and write an accident report. Take note of the accident report number and where and when you can obtain a copy of the report.
- Cooperate with the police investigation.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, preferably before the cars are moved. Be sure to include photos of the road conditions and damage done to all vehicles involved in the crash. Remember that many cell phones have camera capabilities.
- Write down the contact information for all of the other drivers involved in the accident, as well as for all of the witnesses to the accident, including their names, addresses and telephone numbers.
Accident Checklist Form
- Write down the license plate numbers, driver's license numbers, makes and models of the cars, insurance companies and insurance company policy information. If available, also make note of the insurance company’s phone number.
- Take notes about the accident. Take particular notice of the weather conditions, road conditions, any negligent driving that you noticed prior to the accident, any strange behavior that you noticed after the accident and any statements made by witnesses or others involved in the accident. Make a simple diagram the accident scene so that you don’t forget any of the details.
- Print and keep a copy of the forms on the following page in your car so that you easily keep a record of the accident details.
- Know where your car is being towed if you are unable to drive it after the accident.
- Remove all of your personal belongings from the car before it is towed.
- Seek medical treatment if you have any aches or pains that develop after the accident. Some injuries are not apparent on the day of the accident.
- Contact the Austin car accident law firm of Zinda Law Group right away or email us by filling out the contact form.
What Not to Do If You are in a Car Accident
- Do not apologize for the accident, as this may be viewed as an admission of guilt.
- Do not admit to causing the accident or make any other statement that could later be used to support an argument that you caused the accident.
- Do not leave the accident scene without contact and other pertinent information from the other driver(s).
- Do not leave the accident scene until the police have completed their investigation and given you permission to leave (unless you have serious injuries that require you to go to the emergency room).
- Do not discuss the case with the other driver.
- Do not speak with the insurance company without your attorney present.
- Do not sign anything from an insurance company without prior review by your attorney.
Talk to Zinda Law Group
At Zinda Law Group PLLC we’ve been helping accident victims for years with their legal needs. We have all the resources and expertise to help you get justice in your case. You may be able to recover compensatory damages, which include personal property damages, lost wages, pain & suffering, and future economic losses. In some cases, you can also get punitive damages and these might be awarded whenever an accident is caused by a drunk or distracted driver. These damages are awarded by courts to punish the guilty party and prevent them from future reckless behavior.
The Austin Personal Injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group PLLC have successfully represented many clients over the years in car accident claims. We possess the experience and knowledge to help you get the settlement you deserve. Call today to set up your free appointment and find out about your options and your legal rights.