What to Do If You are Involved in a Car Accident: A Step by Step Guide


According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), over 2 million people sustain injuries in car crashes each year in the United States.  Additionally, over 37,000 people die in crashes each year.  If you sustain injuries in a car accident, there are several steps you should take.

They include:

  • Put the safety of yourself and others first;
  • Contact authorities;
  • Gather information;
  • Contact your insurance company;
  • Document your medical care;
  • Document your property loss; and finally,
  • Contact an attorney experienced in handling car accident cases.

Understanding Texas Law When You are in a Car Accident

The State of Texas has laws governing the rules of the road.  In any car accident, Texas expects drivers stop at the scene (or return to the scene if the vehicle didn’t stop immediately) and exchange information with the other driver (discussed in greater detail below).  In cases where a person suffers injury, obviously, one must determine whether assistance is required.

Put the Safety of Yourself and Others First

After a crash, your safety and the safety of others must be your first concern.  If it is possible, move the car out of the roadway.  Take a moment to determine whether you need medical attention.  If you are okay, check on your passengers and the occupants of the other car.  Take the time to carefully assess the situation.  If someone has back or neck injuries, or obvious broken bones, wait to move them until qualified medical professionals arrive at the scene.  If there is any doubt about whether someone needs medical care, call an ambulance.  You have a legal duty to render aid.  This may include transporting someone to the hospital if you cannot summon an ambulance.

Contact Authorities

Texas law § 550.026 requires reporting accidents involving injury, death, or damage to vehicles to the local police or sheriff.

Gather Information

After a car crash, Texas § 550.023 requires the exchange of certain information.  Talk to the other driver to exchange the following information:

  • The name and address of the driver;
  • The registration number of both vehicles;
  • The name of the insurance company for any person injured, as well as the driver of each car; and
  • Where possible, the drivers should show each other their driver’s license.

In addition to this information which is required by statute, it is a good idea to get the names and contact information for any witnesses to the crash.  Additionally, if you are not injured, or if your injuries do not require immediate medical attention, take the time to document the scene by taking pictures or a short video of the crash and the surrounding areas.  Don’t forget to include any scene relevant information that may have contributed to the crash, such as wet pavement, or tree branches that obscure a stop sign.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once you have addressed your medical needs, and the needs of others involved in the car accident, contact your insurance company.  File whatever claim they require.  Of course, fully cooperate with your insurance company’s requests.

Document Your Medical Care

Start a journal, documenting your medical care.  Include doctor’s visits, pain medication taken, and steps taken to assist in healing.

Document Your Property Loss

Keep track of your property damage, property repair, and property losses.

Contact an Attorney Experienced in Handling Car Accident Cases

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and loss.  Don’t leave recovery to chance.  Contact an attorney with a proven track record handling car accident cases.  The lawyers at David K. Wilson & Associates have the experience necessary to handle your case.  Contact us for a free consultation, at (903) 289-5557.

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