Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Car accidents are unfortunately very common on Texas roadways. In 2020, the city of Arlington experienced a total of 5,909 car accidents, Dallas experienced 31,976 accidents, and Fort Worth experienced 12,796 accidents. The one thing that remains true with all of these accidents is that they cause a lot of emotional stress for everyone involved.
The moments and days after an accident are vital and many individuals are not sure exactly what to do next when it comes to their accident. Our experienced car accident attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. get asked a lot of questions concerning car accidents and the laws about gaining compensation. We have put together these car accident FAQs to help our clients better understand what happens after a car accident and during a car accident case.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
It is easy to panic after a car accident, especially when you are unsure of what steps to take next. It is extremely important to remain calm; knowing how to respond to the traumatic event you were just in can help you do just that. Here are the steps you need to take after a car accident:
- Move Yourself and Your Car to Safety: Unless your car is not in a position that would result in immediate danger, the first step should be to get you and your vehicle to safety. Make sure to turn on your car’s hazards and set out flares to alert other drivers that there has just been an accident. This will help you preserve the scene which will aid the police in their investigation.
- Check Yourself and Others for Injuries: Make sure you, your passengers, and other parties involved in the accident are not seriously injured. If there is a serious injury, contact emergency personnel immediately. Never attempt to move an injured individual unless they are in immediate danger, such as inside of a burning vehicle.
- Contact the Police: Police officers will be able to create a car accident report based on accounts from you, the other driver(s), and eye witness accounts. These reports are then public record and can be used in a court of law to gain compensation for your injuries.
- Gather Information: Speak with the other drivers to gain the proper information you need to seek compensation. This information should include the following:
- Name of the other driver/drivers involved in the accident
- Phone numbers
- License plate number
- License number
- Make and model of the other car(s) involved
- Eye-witness names
- Eye-witness phone numbers
- Eye-witness addresses
- Take Pictures of the Accident: Make sure you take pictures of the damage to both vehicles, any debris on the road, and the location of the accident.
- Visit a Medical Professional: Even if you feel that you have not sustained a serious injury, it is still highly recommended that you get checked out by a medical professional. Sometimes adrenaline can mask the pain of an injury, causing you to forgo necessary treatment. Medical professionals can also document your injuries that can be used later in court.
- Call a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney: While it may be tempting to contact your insurance company directly after an accident, you should call your trusted car accident attorney first. Car insurance companies do provide some coverage for an accident, but sometimes they can twist your words around and make it seem like you were at partial fault. A car accident attorney can defend your rights and ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve.
- File a Car Accident Report: If you did not file a car accident report with the reporting officer, then you will need to file one with the Texas Department of Transportation.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
There are many factors that can lead to an accident but the most common ones are:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Distracted Driving
- Poor Road Conditions
- Failure to Follow Traffic Laws
- Aggressive Driving
What Happens If My Car Is Totaled?
Generally, the principle that is established by Texas State Law is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company is supposed to put you in the same financial standing as you were before the accident. This should mean that you get the full value of your car based on its appraisal before the accident.
However, this isn’t always enough to replace your car. Some insurance companies offer a sell replacement policy which can help cover the difference between your totaled car and your new one, but you will need to check with your insurance company about whether this is an option for your coverage.
Am I Still Able to File a Personal Injury Claim If I Don’t Have Insurance in Texas?
Yes. The State of Texas does not require one to have car insurance in order to file for a personal injury claim after a car accident. If the other driver is at fault, then their insurance company will be required to pay for the damages for your injuries and expenses. This is because the state of Texas operates under a “fault” system, meaning those who caused the accident are required to pay.
However, driving without car insurance is never a good idea. The other party could push back and claim that you had partial fault in the accident, which could then make you pay out of pocket for their injuries and expenses. Not to mention, having uninsured motorist coverage is extremely important in the case that a motorist’s insurance coverage is not enough to pay for your injuries and expenses. It’s also important to remember that driving without insurance is illegal in the State of Texas, meaning you could wind up with a costly ticket.
What If I Am Partially at Fault?
Even if your actions contributed slightly to the accident, you can still file a claim. However, the other driver has to be primarily at fault. It is also important to note that your damages will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
For example, if you were in an accident with another driver and you were found to be 10% at fault for the accident and the total of your damages was at $100,000, then your claim would be reduced to $90,000 to account for your own actions.
I Was a Passenger in a Car, Can I Still File a Personal Injury Claim?
Yes. Even with simple accidents, if you are injured as a passenger, there are often up to three different kinds of insurance coverages that can apply:
- Liability Policy of the Drivers: You may be able to gain compensation under both liability policies with the driver of the vehicle you were in or the other driver, depending on who was at fault. (In some cases, this may be both drivers.) Each driver’s insurance would pay according to their percentage of fault.
- Your Driver’s Underinsured Motorist Policy: Underinsured motorist insurance policies are for the payment of medical expenses and damages that result from an accident caused by a driver whose insurance policy cannot cover the cost of all the damages. This applies even when you do not own any of the vehicles involved in the accident.
- Personal Insurance Protection: Personal insurance protection is an extension of your insurance and it is used to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. It can also be called “no-fault” coverage because it pays regardless of who is found at fault and regardless of what the other insurance companies have paid.
Let Us Handle Your Case While You Focus On Your Recovery
While car accidents occur every day, you don’t have to face the aftermath of one alone. It is important to know that you can reach out for help after an accident to ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve and are not getting bullied by insurance companies. The Branch & Dhillon, P.C. team can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.