Getting into a car accident is scary, and car accident victims often have many questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions for those involved in a Houston car accident include:
I Have Been Injured In A Car Accident. What Should I Do?
One of the first things that you should do if you are able is contact emergency services to get the medical care you need and to notify the police of the accident. If you are unable yourself to contact them due to your injuries, ask for help from bystanders and witnesses. Tending to your injuries should be your top priority. If you are able, you should get the information of the other driver, such as their name and contact information, their auto insurance information, and the details of their vehicle (license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, color, etc.). Collecting the contact information of any witnesses will also be helpful to you later when you have to make an injury and/or property damage claim.
Is There Anything I Should Do While I Wait For The Police?
Collect whatever evidence you can while you wait for the police to arrive. In theory, the police will conduct an investigation and will produce an accident report, but they might miss certain details about the accident. Most people have a camera-capable cell phone. If you have one, take pictures of everything, including:
- The scene of the accident;
- Weather and lighting conditions at the scene;
- Your vehicle, and the vehicle damage, from all angles;
- The other driver’s vehicle, and vehicle damage, from all angles; and
- Any injuries that you have, etc.
Collect the contact information of all witnesses and the other driver, and write down details about anything that you cannot photograph so that you will be able to remember the accident many months after it occurred. Also obtain copies of any police reports, medical responder reports, or doctor reports as you work through your recovery.
Will The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Contact Me?
It is very likely if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault that the other driver’s auto insurance provider will attempt to contact you in order to gather information about the accident and your claim. The other driver’s insurance company does not have your best interests at heart, and will likely do whatever they can to reduce your settlement amount or deny your claim altogether. If you choose to speak with the other driver’s insurance company without consulting with a car accident attorney, do so with extreme caution and care. Consulting with a car accident attorney, or having a car accident attorney deal with the insurance company on your behalf, might be in your best interests.
What If I Am Partially Responsible for My Accident?
If you are partially responsible for causing the accident, you may still be able to recover for your injuries so long as you were not more than 51 percent responsible for the accident. Texas’ car accident fault laws are based on modified comparative negligence, meaning that injured parties who are partially responsible for causing their accident can sue for recovery, but their recovery will be reduced by their share of the liability, up to 51 percent.
What Can I Recover In Terms Of Damages From My Car Accident?
All car accidents are unique, but as long as you can show liability and damages for your car accident, you will likely be able to seek recovery. A car accident can be quite costly. Recovery after a car accident can include damages such as incurred medical expenses, future medical expenses, damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, recovery for property damage to your vehicle (this is the cost of repairing your vehicle), and possible punitive damages.
The Other Driver Doesn’t Have Auto Insurance. What Do I Do Now?
A number of drivers in Texas operate their vehicles without the proper auto insurance. If you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist, you may be able to seek recovery from your own auto insurance provider if you hold an uninsured motorist policy.
Similarly, sometimes the other driver has insurance, but not enough coverage to pay for all of your damages. When a driver is underinsured, you may be able to max out your recovery from the other driver’s insurance, and then seek to recover the balance from your own insurance provider if you have underinsured motorist coverage. Most insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage as a bundled package of coverage.
Seeking recovery from your own insurance provider can be challenging, and the process for filing an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim is more involved than filing a normal accident claim. You will likely meet with some resistance from your insurance provider as they attempt to reduce the amount of your claim.